Slinfold captain Guy Thorne conceded his side had scored another ‘own goal’ as they missed a further opportunity in their promotion push.
They suffered a 86-run derby defeat at home to Southwater to further deny their chances of sealing second place despite Crawley’s defeat to Rye.
Southwater themselves have crept up to fourth and stand an outside chance of sneaking into the top two – although skipper Nick Baker does not believe his side deserve to.
Thorne admitted they were architects of their own downfall with a sloppy fielding display that let their visitors post 255 after they opted to bat.
He said:“It was a game of own goals is how I’d sum up the performance on Saturday. I was really looking forward to a good local derby against a good Southwater side, but unfortunately we never showed up, and the loss was all our own un-doing.
“Not taking anything away from Southwater, but we dropped four catches, and took a wicket off a no-ball. Three of those five mistakes cost us 100 runs, simple as that.
“It was another opportunity missed with Crawley losing against Rye. Mathematically there is still a promotion chance, but we need to vastly improve if we are to get 60 out of 60 in the last two games.”
Baker said: “It was a really good win and another dominant win for us as well. We were at 157 which I was not sure was going to be good enough, but with the last wickets we took it up to 255 and it was really good to watch.
“ I think our final two games are easier than Slinfold’s as they have Crawley and Mayfield, so hopefully we can pip them to third.
“We did talk about promotion briefly on Saturday, but I think it is a step too far. From the start we had to the season, we do not really deserve to go up. Third would be absolutely amazing. We don’t have an overseas, so if we get one next year I think we can push for the title.”
Johann Brouwer top-scored for the away side with 52, supported by 23 from opener Alex Harding, 22 from Greg Young, 34 from Baker and Mark Barnard’s 35. Thorne also showed a sporting gesture in the opposition’s innings telling the umpire to reverse a Ben Watkins lbw as he hit the ball.
With the ball, Akeem Jordan had taken 5-60 and Thorne 3-68, before their side got off to a good start with the bat.Dan Draycon hit 59 - his first half century for the first XI, as he and Nabeel Nilamdeen (39) put on 63 for the second wicket.
After that however, only Jonathan Hughes (ten) and Steve Haines (26) made double figures as six ducks saw them crash to 169 all out.
Thorne added: “We dropped Nick (Baker) first ball, who went on to score 34 very quickly, we caught Barnard off a no-ball after he’d made about four or five and he went on to get 35.
“Our application was missing again and six ducks in the innings tell a story. On the batting front though I do need to give Southwater credit, their bowlers hit some good lines.”