Late burst gives Crowhurst Park fourth win in a row

Sam Hobbs played a key role in Crowhurst Park's victory away to East Grinstead seconds
Sam Hobbs played a key role in Crowhurst Park's victory away to East Grinstead seconds

Crowhurst Park Cricket Club’s first team chalked up its fourth consecutive victory on Saturday.

Park won by 29 runs away to East Grinstead seconds in 1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Four East.

They remain in fourth place, but are now just three points outside the two promotion spots with a third of the season completed.

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Park skipper Nick Taylor lost the toss for the fifth time in a row and Park were asked to take first knock, which they would have chosen to do in any case.

Ben Davies (3-22) claimed the big wickets of Tim Hambridge and the in-form Ed Smissen in the second over, leaving Park in a precarious position at 2-2.

Taylor and Brad Payne managed to rebuild until Payne’s counter-attacking innings of 20 came to an end, leaving Park 43-3.

Young Archie Fairfax-Ross appeared unfazed by the pressure and forged a useful stand of 45 with Taylor. As the momentum finally started to swing in Park’s favour, Taylor was dismissed for 44 off the bowling of Kurt Richardson (3-45).

Clive Tong (20) and Fairfax-Ross (18) built the innings nicely, taking Park to 122-4 before a rain break intervened. An early tea was taken in order to save time in the game.

When Park went back out, a mammoth collapse of 27-5, meant they slipped to 144-9, with Nick Trotter (3-44) doing the main part of the damage. However, a crucial partnership between Kiwi Ben Naylor (33 not out) and Josh Jones (9) propelled Park up to a defendable 184.

Grinstead’s chase almost didn’t get underway as rain looked to intervene again, yet the quality of the facilities and drainage meant hardly any time was lost.

Park knew a big bowling display was needed, and Naylor and Payne delivered, between them removing the openers by the third over.

Davies made a swashbuckling half-century in very quick time until a remarkable diving grab by Naylor, off Hambridge, dismissed the danger man.

Park felt back in the game, but Grinstead skipper Matt Heppell and Joe De Souza ticked the score along to 133-3.

Park’s skipper turned to the reliable Matt Constable and Sam Hobbs, returning from university, and this double change did the damage. Hobbs dismissed Heppell for 20, thanks to another well-taken catch from Naylor.

Park had a sniff, but the game was still the home side’s to lose. Constable claimed his first wicket before a run out in the next over from Hambridge reduced Grinstead to 139-6.

When Hobbs claimed his second wicket, and Constable his second and third in quick succession, including the key wicket of De Souza for a patient 44, Grinstead had fallen to 151-9.

A mix up between batsmen 10 and 11 allowed Taylor to retrieve the ball and feed it to Payne, who finished the game with a narrow run out.

The Claremont School man of the match could have gone to a number of the bowlers, but Constable edged it for finishing with amazing figures of 4.1-1-9-3.

Park will host Keymer & Hassocks this coming Saturday.

1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Four East standings (played 6 matches unless stated): 1 Buxted Park 163pts, 2 St Peters 141, 3 Glynde & Beddingham (7) 139, 4 CROWHURST PARK 138, 5 East Grinstead II 115, 6 Mayfield II 114, 7 Keymer & Hassocks 113, 8 Hailsham 101, 9 LITTLE COMMON RAMBLERS 87, 10 BEXHILL II (7) 72.