Crowhurst Park Cricket Club’s first team suffered an agonising last over defeat away to Glynde & Beddingham on Saturday.
Park stumbled from 163-2 and 190-3 to 222 all out, losing the 1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Four East match by four runs with three balls to spare.
Park travelled to the picturesque Glynde ground hoping to gain revenge for their National Village Cup defeat to the same opponents earlier in the season.
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After skipper Nick Taylor lost the toss, Park were, without hesitation, asked to field. Park’s bowling display got off to a strong start as Ben Naylor dismissed the dangerous Archie Howard for 12.
Glynde’s second wicket pair grafted hard to see off the new ball, with Brad Payne unlucky to get no reward for bowling an heroic spell of nine overs for just 15 runs.
The partnership continued to grow, with Charlie Hobden in particular taking the attack to the visitors until falling for 72 to a solid catch from Ed Smissen on the long-off boundary following the introduction of Tim Hambridge.
With Glynde nicely placed at 142-2 off 30, another useful partnership brewed for the home side as they edged towards 200. Thankfully for Park, Hambridge then removed Alex Thornhill for a patient 63.
The reintroduction of Naylor also worked wonders as he claimed three quickfire wickets in a quality spell of death bowling, including the dangerous Robert Mouland for 36, to finish with impressive figures of 3-27 off nine.
Glynde finished on 226-6 - a score that Park would’ve taken given Glynde’s potential to have pushed for a total in excess of 240.
Park’s reply got off to a strong start, with the dangerous duo of Craig Eaves and Will Burton-Durham being prevented from doing any early damage by Hambridge and Taylor until, following the introduction of spin, the former hit a low full toss down mid-on’s throat for 19.
Smissen and Taylor looking to be putting together a useful second wicket partnership, but yet another change of bowling did the trick for Glynde as Louis Barron cleaned up Smissen for nine with a corking yorker.
Park were nicely placed at 70-2, but knew a partnership was key. Taylor and Lovell duly obliged, taking the score up to 163-2 until the re-introduction of Hodben saw the back of Taylor for 82.
Lovell and Payne looked to bring Park home, and at 190-3, it looked like they might just do it. What followed, however, was a collapse on a momentous scale.
After scoring his maiden first XI fifty, Lovell was back in the hutch with that man Hobden getting the breakthrough again and he went on to finish with figures of 5-35.
Matty Constable and Ivan Flanagan edged the visitors closer, but Park needed nine off the last over with two wickets remaining.
Constable hit the first ball of the over ferociously through cover for four only to be removed next ball by a corker of a delivery from Burton-Durham.
Last man Josh Jones looked for a quick single off the next ball only to be run out by a phenomenal diving stop and direct hit from Matthew Blunt.
Park can take heart from a performance that was much-improved on the previous weekend’s disappointment, but will still be hurting having thrown the game away from a position where they should’ve won.
Nevertheless, in comparison to last year’s fixtures, where Glynde dominated, Park appear to be closing the gap between themselves and the more quality sides in the division.
The Claremont School man of the match was awarded to Naylor for his bowling display.
Park will welcome Bexhill seconds to the Walcott Ground this coming Saturday, hoping to end a run of two straight defeats.