Brookes the hero in thrilling win

Paul Brookes returned superb bowling figures of 7-25 off 22 overs to earn Crowhurst Park a dramatic victory over Goring-By-Sea on Saturday
Paul Brookes returned superb bowling figures of 7-25 off 22 overs to earn Crowhurst Park a dramatic victory over Goring-By-Sea on Saturday

A magnificent seven-wicket haul from Paul Brookes inspired Crowhurst Park’s cricketers to an exciting victory on Saturday.

Park skipper Brookes led from the front by claiming 7-25 from 22 overs as Park pulled off their first Sussex Cricket League Division Two win of the season by 19 runs at home to Goring-By-Sea.

After losing the toss and being asked to bat first on a slow and damp wicket, Park got off to a steady start before Brookes was trapped LBW by Ellis Woolley with the score 26.

Kellen Powell arrived at the crease and buoyed by his team-mates from Northern Suburbs Queensland in the crowd, he played some glorious back foot shots during an excellent 50-run partnership with Dale Payne.

An unfortunate run out changed the course of the innings, however, when Powell (30) was short of his crease attempting a quick single. Payne (31) was bowled by Olly Scarfield the very next ball and Park were now 76-3.

The in-form Clive Tong looked in good touch for a quickfire 13 until being caught behind square off Scarfield. Ed Smissen, batting down the order, also looked good and was unlucky to be out to an excellent catch in the deep by Shane de Beer.

Park were now in trouble at 125-5 and the introduction of spinner Aaron Wyatt caused even more problems, especially when Bradley Payne was out for a useful 32. The hosts’ final five wickets fell for just 13 runs to leave Park 138 all out, Wyatt finishing with 4-11 off six overs.

Defending a low score meant tight bowling and early wickets would be crucial for Park, and this was exactly what happened. With no runs scored in the first five overs, the pressure took its toll as Bradley Payne grabbed the first wicket by tempting Sam Thorns to drive to mid-off.

He followed this up in his next over as Barnaby Lyons edged behind, leaving Goring 7-2 off eight overs. Brookes was causing similar problems at the other end and when he bowled de Beer, Park’s tails were up.

Brookes continued to turn the screw and an excellent catch at deep mid-on from Nick Peters turned the momentum in Park’s favour with Goring in deep trouble at 24-4. The excitement continued when Brookes struck with the very next delivery and his hat-trick ball missed by a whisker.

Goring tried to rebuild and a 21-run partnership took the score to 45 before Brookes struck again. Cameron Flanagan got in on the act by claiming Goring’s seventh wicket and Park were on fire with the visitors 54-7.

A stubborn 45-run partnership threatened to swing the game back in Goring’s favour until Brookes struck again in his 18th over, trapping the determined Ian Timms LBW for four.

Goring were still perhaps marginally favourites and Park’s chances looked to be slipping away after a dropped catch with score on 116, but Nick Peters held on to a fine catch in the deep to remove the dangerous Woolley (56) in Brookes’s next over.

Claremont School man of the match Brookes finished the innings off in the same over by claiming his seventh wicket to give Park a superb victory. It was a great fightback from Park, who showed excellent team spirit to turn the game around and the new-look team is beginning to find its feet.

Standings (all played four matches): 1 Middleton 118pts, 2 Worthing 84, 3 St James’s Montefiore 81, 4 Billingshurst 61, 5 CROWHURST PARK 57, 6 Ifield 56, 7 Chichester Priory Park 55, 8 Findon 53, 9 Lindfield 48, 10 Goring-By-Sea 25.