There was a sense of deja vu as Crowhurst Park’s cricketers were comfortably beaten at Ifield on Saturday.
The 81-run defeat in Sussex Cricket League Division Two had strong similarities to Park’s reverse at home to promotion-seeking Billingshurst the previous weekend.
Park lost the toss and were asked to bowl against Ifield in a match where the winners were guaranteed Division Two cricket next season.
Away captain Paul Brookes picked up the early wicket of Clayton Calstounis with the score on 11, but Raza Ali and Aamer Riaz put on 79 for the second wicket before Ed Smissen bowled Riaz for a useful 29.
Ali fell in Smissen’s next over for an aggressive 59 and with Clive Tong taking a good catch off his own bowling, Ifield were now 114-4.
An injury to Richard Coleman during his spell reduced Park’s bowling options, but Dale Payne and Tong picked up five wickets between them to restrict Ifield to 157-7 before a cameo innings from Ghulam Abbas (29 off 12 balls) accelerated Ifield to 199-8 off their allotted 53 overs.
A rejigged Park batting line-up once more failed to fire with Park soon in trouble at 4-2, although there was no hint of the carnage soon to arrive as Caltsounis picked up a hat-trick of LBWs in the sixth over to leave Park 9-5 with all of the dismissed batsmen failing to score.
A mini partnership between Payne and Smissen calmed things down slightly before Payne fell for a useful 28. Smissen and Matt Peters tried to restore some pride and almost took Park in sight of 100 before Smissen was well caught at slip by Caltsounis for an excellent 37.
Peters was unbeaten at the end for a very handy 38, but Park weren’t able to secure any batting points for the third match running and were all out for 118.
Park’s eight bowling points, however, were enough to increase their advantage over third-bottom Findon to 13 points. But with Goring-By-Sea winning the bottom two clash against Chichester Priory Park, neither Park nor Findon are quite safe yet.
Park, however, are 43 points ahead of Goring - who occupy the second and final relegation place - with 60 available from the final two games of the summer and Goring have both of the top two still to play. Park are at home to St James’s Montefiore this coming Saturday, 12noon start.