Wisborough Green inflicted a first defeat of the season on old foes Slinfold on Saturday to the delight of their captain James Self.
Hosts Slinfold made the better start having been put into bat on a damp track and were well placed on 111-2. But from there they collapsed to 151 all out and in reply a number of good contributions saw Green home to a five-wicket victory.
Self said: “We knew it was going to be tough, they were second in the league and hadn’t lost a game. And they definitely had the better of it early doors, we didn’t quite bowl the right areas but credit to our boys, they stuck at it. That’s been pleasing so far this year, we’ve had to be patient at times but when the opportunities have arrived we’ve taken them like we did on Saturday.”
Self again praised key seam bowler Ben Thatcher, who followed up last weekend’s eight wicket haul with another four this Saturday.
Guy Thorne (28) and Steve Haines had made an opening stand of 51 and overseas all-rounder Akeem Jordan then came in to help push the score over 100. But when Jordan was caught by Jonny Farmer off the bowling of Self (3-26) it triggered the collapse as Slinfold’s final eight wickets toppled for just 40 runs. Jonny Farmer also chipped in with figures of 2-48.
In reply James Newman top scored with 37 and contributions also came from Ben Tracy (27) and Gregg Marshall (23 not out), though according to Self the key knock came from a team-mate likely to have played his last game of the season.
“Self said: “For me Byron Napper’s 34 not out was the innings of the day. It was a brilliant knock, he had to take a few knocks, especially from their pacy overseas bowler (Jordan), but he saw that off and got us home. It was a vital innings, on another day it was worth 70 not out, and it was nice of him to do it on his last game before he joins up with Lewes FC for the football pre-season.”
Slinfold captain Guy Thorne said: “It was a great game of tough cricket against Wisborough Green, and full credit needs to go to them for the way they ground out their victory – they deserved it.
“I’m not normally one to make excuses but we definitely had the worst of the conditions. We got off to a flier at 50-1 from 11 overs, and moved along nicely to 110-2 from 23 overs. A big downpour juiced up the wicket and made it interesting for a while, and a combination of some good accurate bowling from Wisborough and some poor decision making with the bat saw us all out for 151.” Thorne felt he was given out LBW wrongly having hit the ball and Matt Shuttlewood was also incorrectly given out caught when both were well placed. “Two big decisions didn’t go our way and it changed the outcome of the match,” he said. “If Shutts or I had gone on to get 50 plus I honestly think we’d have won the game.”
Thorne praised Akeem Jordan for a “great opening spell” as well as Napper for “showing the patience we have been missing in our batting this year” - but conceded that 151 was never going to be enough.
Still Slinfold stay second in the league behind leaders Steyning, with Henfield third and Wisborough Green fourth as the Horsham District sides continue to dominate the division.