Crowhurst Park’s cricketers are safe from relegation despite suffering a heavy nine-wicket defeat at home to St James’s Montefiore on Saturday.
Park are guaranteed a third successive season in Sussex Cricket League Division Two because Goring-By-Sea and Chichester Priory Park have already been doomed to the drop with a week to spare.
The dire weather throughout last week, plus a heavy downpour on Saturday morning, nearly put the match in jeopardy, but some sterling work from the groundsmen meant it went ahead.
A wet, slow wicket was never going to be easy to bat first on. Having lost the toss and been given first knock, Park’s batting never got going and for the fourth week running, they failed to secure any batting points.
Bradley Payne (11) and Dale Payne (18) put on 27 for the first wicket, but it was tough going and three wickets then fell for 21 runs to leave Park 48-3.
Paul Brookes, who dug in for 18 off 50 balls, and Kellen Powell (17) added 30 for the fourth wicket only for both men to fall with the score 78.
Another wicket fell three runs later to leave Park 81-6, but while Clive Tong (28) and Colin Ayres were putting on 31 for the seventh wicket, it at least looked as though Park would get into the batting points.
They then lost four wickets without a single run being added, however, to be all out for 112 in 47 overs and leave the bowlers an almost impossible task to turn the match around.
A sharp caught and bowled chance in the first over of the St James’s reply may have given Park the impetus to go on, but when two more catches were shelled in the first 10 overs, it was clear it wasn’t going to be Park’s day in their final home match of the season.
St James’s opener Aadam Din’s aggressive unbeaten 80 off just 46 balls was the huge difference. Brookes picked up the only wicket to fall with St James’s reaching their target in just 20 overs.
Despite a disappointing August, Park have secured their Division Two status with a young side of players who are clearly finding their feet in the first XI.
Reaching the last 16 of the Davidstow Village Cup was an exceptional achievement and with one game to go before the end of a long season, the club can be rightly proud of what has been achieved by a side in transition.
That final match of the summer is away to Lindfield this coming Saturday.