Billingshurst skipper delighted with table-topping form

JPCT 080613 S13240203x CRICKET:  Billingshurst v Steyning. Tim Weston batting for Steyning -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 080613 S13240203x CRICKET: Billingshurst v Steyning. Tim Weston batting for Steyning -photo by Steve Cobb
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Ben Williams was delighted with the way his Billingshurst side came through a real test against Steyning to stay top of the Division Three (West) table.

In the tightest of games at the Woodworm on Saturday, Hurst’s bowlers clawed themselves back into a match they looked destined to lose by snatching the final three Steyning wickets in the last seven balls to claim victory by just three runs.

JPCT 080613 S13240209x CRICKET:  Billingshurst v Steyning. D Subasinghe bowling for Bills -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 080613 S13240209x CRICKET: Billingshurst v Steyning. D Subasinghe bowling for Bills -photo by Steve Cobb

The home spinners again did the damage, Williams taking 3-69 and Dhanushka Mitipolaarachchi 3-45, including a double-wicket maiden final over and the tenth wicket with the very last ball of the game.

It made it four straight wins for Billingshurst and Williams said: “I was thrilled with my team’s effort to come out on top in a game so close. When the pressure was on, we really showed what we’re about.

“That’s the third week in a row we’ve been inserted at the toss, but it doesn’t seem to matter at the moment because our batters are firing and our bowlers are so reliable.

“We’ve got into a rhythm of scoring 200-plus and we’ve bowled every team out so far this season as we’ve got so much variety in that department, we’re like a casserole.

“Steyning were unlucky, with seven balls left (needing only four runs), we were looking just to draw the game let alone win it.”

Last year’s skipper Mike Burroughs has returned to the club after a brief spell at Horsham and Williams added: “It’s great to have Mike back also, he’s a great guy to have around and a solid player.”

Batting first Billingshurst made 202-9 declared with star batsman Mitipolaarachchi making 73 from 78 balls and opener Scott Stratton adding 32.

Ed Lamb was the pick of the visitor’s bowlers with 5-75 while Andy Isaacs took 3-49.

In reply Gary Hunt was the mainstay of the Steyning innings with an unbeaten 63. It was Hunt who hauled the visitors into a winning position with some big late hitting, but he could do nothing as batsmen fell around him, and crucially he was denied any of the strike from the final six balls with Steyning themselves falling just four short of victory.

Skipper Dave Kennett - who scored a breezy 37 including two sixes - admitted the defeat still “hurt” several days later and said Hunt didn’t deserve to be on the losing side after a heroic display.

Billingshurst have now won five of their first six league games and lead second-placed Stirlands by 19 points, while Steyning are fourth.