Slinfold seal promotion but Thorne has title in his sights

Slinfold celebrate promotion to Division 3 of the Sussex League on Saturday
Slinfold celebrate promotion to Division 3 of the Sussex League on Saturday

Promotion is in the bag, but Slinfold captain Guy Thorne wants his side to make it a truly memorable season by lifting their first title for 36 years.

Their step up to Division 3 was confirmed on Saturday despite suffering a 30-run defeat away to Stirlands – and they are now just five points from lifting the Division 4 title.

They need to clinch those in their final game of the season at home to West Chiltington & Thakeham this weekend.

No matter what happens it has been a fine campaign for the promotion outsiders, who have won ten of their 17 matches.

Title rivals Stirlands are 26 points behind in second with a final-day game at basement boys Southwater.

Thorne says he is already proud of his team, but admits title success would be the icing on the cake.

He said: “It’s fantastic to have promotion in the bag, and perhaps not the way we would have wanted to get it, in defeat, but none the less, it is something we have worked an entire season for, and we are absolutely ecstatic with our achievement.

“We are not quite done yet though, as we still need five more points to be sure of the title, which is really important to the club.

“It would be our first league title for 36 years, so that is the final target of what would be a very pleasing season all round.

“I’m proud of this team and the various different contributions we’ve had throughout the core squad of 13-14 players this year. It’s been a big change from previous seasons and the continuity from week to week definitely helps build team spirit and a togetherness and that has really showed.

“Hopefully we can get the five points we need next week and make it a season to remember.” The promotion party didn’t quite go plan on Saturday after they bowled out Stirlands for just 141.

Captain George Coles led the way with the bat scoring 57, while only Will Gubbins (ten) and George Briance (17) made double figures.

Akeem Jordan (3-42), Tom Filby (2-26) and Thorne 
(4-33) did the damage with the ball.

In reply, Slinfold crashed to 50-6 with Jordan (38) the only top-order contributor as Ajinkya Deshpande (6-45) worked his magic.

Jonathan Hughes (29*) and Richard Harris (11) in the tail failed to claw a victory as they were all out for 111.

Thorne added: “The first half pretty much went to plan, bowling Stirlands out for 140. It was a solid bowling and fielding performance.

“We knew it would be a tough opening with Stirlands overseas leading the wicket taking in our division this year, and he once again bowled exceptionally well.

“We tried to be patient and get through his opening spell, but he hit some good areas and got some good rewards, and Stirlands’ catching was excellent in the slips.”

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