Joint-leaders Slinfold took maximum points for the third consecutive week as Imran Shah put in another ‘match-winning’ performance against Stirlands.
The bowler grabbed another six wickets as the away side completed a 112-run success to keep pace with Goring at the top of Division 4.
The home side put their visitors in and Slinfold set about making 228-7 in 45 overs, before bowling out Stirlands for 116.
Stand-in Slinfold skipper Steve Haines said: “All six bowlers were excellent, and really suffocated the Stirlands innings with tight lines and lengths.
“The star man once again was Imran Shah who picked up another six wickets in a match-winning performance. His variations are proving to be a real handful for opposition batsmen and he is a great guy to have in the team.
“This was a complete performance in all aspects of our game and we are delighted to maintain our winning start to the season.”
Slinfold were inserted after losing the toss and were restricted to less than four runs an over after 10 overs. But Stirlands were unable to capitalise on pressure-induced chances, eventually dropping five catches that would ultimately prove decisive as Jonathan Hughes (30) and Cameron Scott (48) pushed up the score.
Wickets began to fall at regular intervals, despite the big hitting efforts of Akeem Jordan (40) and late runs from Nabeel Nilamdeen (27*) and Steven Haines (19), as the visitors closed in on maximum batting points.
Jordan (3-8 from his nine overs) then ripped through the Stirlands top order; firstly cleaning up Leo Wilkinson-Beal, with a fast inswinging yorker, then had the benefit of the umpire’s decision to remove Torquil Deacon the very next ball.
A rebuilding task was required, as William Gubbins (27) and Ian Gooding (20) looked to punish any wayward deliveries, unfortunately this was proving to be harder than expected and the required run rate slowly increased as Slinfold tightened their grip on the game, whilst taking regular wickets as Shah finished with a fantastic 6-23.
Haines added: “After being asked to bat on a damp wicket and outfield, Jon Hughes and Cameron Scott knuckled down for a second-wicket partnership of 97. We were particularly pleased for Cameron who batted superbly and fell just short of a well deserved 50 on his return to the club.
“After setting a solid platform, the middle and lower order were then able to go on the attack and set Stirlands a big target of 229 in difficult batting conditions. After perhaps being too aggressive in our first two matches it was pleasing to bat the full allocation of overs and credit to Jon and Cam for laying down a solid foundation.
“With sun and wind tempering the pitch throughout the day we certainly had the worst of the conditions and knew a good performance in the field would be required to defend our total.
“Akeem Jordan bowled a lively opening spell and snaffled the key wicket of Torquil Deacon for a golden duck. Stirlands then batted patiently to reach 54-2 but were soon 55-5 after the introduction of Imran Shah who tore out the middle order.”
Slinfold hosts Horsham 2nd on Saturday.