Crowhurst Park's cricketers pulled off a vital victory in their battle against relegation on Saturday.
Six wickets for Paul Brookes and 75 runs from Joel Bruun were the highlights of a strong team performance as Park won by four wickets away to Findon in Sussex Cricket League Division Three.
The result keeps Park in the final safe spot of third-bottom, although second-bottom Goring By Sea are only nine points behind them after a surprise victory over leaders Burgess Hill.
After Park won the toss and elected to field, an early chance was put down off the bowling of Clive Tong (11-1-55-2) and the Findon batsmen took advantage with a half-century opening stand.
Tong picked up the wickets of Bradley Bridson (30) and Mark Solway (0) in consecutive balls, however, and Park continued to put pressure on the Findon batting line-up.
Brookes (23.3-5-68-6) now picked away at the Findon batsmen, dismissing several batsmen for low scores in the middle overs to leave Findon 96-6.
Joe Lovell (4-0-11-0), Dale Payne (7-2-15-1) and Matt Peters (1-0-7-0) bowled tightly and piled more pressure onto the Findon batsmen, and the only real fightback came from Glenn Bridson (67 not out).
Park did well to starve Bridson of the strike and Brookes picked up more wickets as he finished with yet more excellent bowling figures, joining Matt Geffen at the top of the division’s leading wicket-takers with 45 victims at 15.58.
The last wicket came from a brilliant piece of fielding as Matt Peters ran out Ross Ball with a throw which would have made team-mate Ben Phillimore proud. Findon were all out for 168.
The new opening partnership of Payne and Bruun got Park off to a positive start in reply, making their way to 58 until Payne fell for 26.
Bruun and Fox Parker pushed Park on to 107 with Bruun playing a fantastic innings full of elegant and powerful shots before succumbing to Mark Solway (15-2-54-4).
Tong quickly made 11 until chipping one up for a comfortable catch and Parker fell a few balls later in almost identical fashion, looking to clear the leg-side boundary, to leave Park 121-4.
Partnerships between Phillimore (16) and Ed Smissen (15), and Phillimore and Lovell (7 not out) pushed Park on to 159-6 before Lovell and Brookes (4 not out) finished things off.
Park will target more of the same when they host seventh-placed Steyning this coming Saturday, although they’ll have to do it without key man Brookes, who is away. Goring, incidentally, are at home to second-placed Portslade.
Park’s two games after tomorrow are away to fourth-placed Mayfield next weekend and at home to fifth-placed Haywards Heath on September 3.
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