There was frustration all-around as both Steyning and Slinfold missed out on the final promotion place into Division 3 on the final day of the season.
David Kennett’s side beat Slinfold convincingly in the Division 4 derby to leapfrog them in the table, but second-placed Stirlands gained 14 points in their defeat to Goring which was enough to see them promoted.
It was all to play for on the final day with both Slinfold and Steyning looking to overturn Stirlands’ lead in the table for the final promotion place.
Steyning chased down 139 to beat Slinfold after Isaac Tidley (4-25) and Andy Isaacs (3-33) helped skittle Slinfold out for 138 inside 31.4 overs.
Jonathan Hughes (22), Mushal Murad (40) and Dan Graycon (15*) topscored for Slinfold.
Steyning were at 60-4 in their reply at tea, but an unbeaten 46 from Ollie Collins and 29 not out from Gary Hunt saw them to victory.
But it was all in vain as promotion eluded Steyning –and the skipper announced after the game he was stepping down as captain after five years at helm.
Kennett said: “We are very frustrated to miss out on promotion by two points after a very convincing win.
“To sum up the season I would say we have been very unlucky – the weather has cost us promotion. We had a game called off against Mayfield when everyone else played and then a rained-off game against them at home, but that’s how it goes with the English summer and sometimes you don’t get the rub of the green.
“We were always outsiders to go up on Saturday but all we could do is win the game and we did that in style.
“Four weeks ago I said to my team if we win four out of the last four and don’t go up we are very unlucky and that’s what happened.
“That was my last game as captain of Steyning first team after five years. I feel it’s time to step aside and let someone else have a turn and bring some fresh ideas in.
“I’m very proud of my team we had a couple of youngsters that really stepped up this season.
“Chris Barnett has been excellent with the ball in the second half of season and at only 16 has cemented his place in the side and Ollie Collins has been very consistent with the bat, finishing top run-scorer in Division 4.”
Slinfold cricket manager Ben Overton said despite Saturday’s overall disappointment, they could be pleased with their efforts after last year’s promotion.
He said: “We had such a brilliant start to the season and then had a tricky phase when we lost games and lost games to the weather.
“We had won previous games going into Saturday and we were confident going into it although possibly a bit under strength.
“To go from 70-2 to 90-5 and 138 all out was disappointing. Mushal Murad held the innings together with 40 and Dan Graycon batted well at the end, it was not the easiest of wickets and they bowled well.
“But we still felt with the ball we could win the game. The wicket was not brilliant and the ball was keeping low. There were five or six lbws given in our innings, so the umpires were giving decisions. We felt with a good start you never know.
“We had 15 overs before tea and had them reeling at 60-4, but Ollie Collins and Gary Hunt knuckled down and took the tension out of the game.
“All credit to Steyning, they batted really well and must have been very disappointed events at Stirlands conspired against them.
“It has been a really positive season and while back-to-back promotions are really good, sometimes they bring their own problems. Going forwards we regroup and investing in the team for next year.”
Both teams could still be promoted with a likely east and west split in Division 3 and 4 next season with the restructure.