West Chiltington & Thakeham toast most successful season ever

West Chiltington & Thakeham CC had their most successful ever season this year with three teams achieving promotion.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 3:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 3:40 pm
West Chiltington & Thakeham CC’s first, second and third XIs celebrate their successes at The Recreation Ground

Their first and third XIs won Division 3 West and Division 10 West respectively, whilst the second XI won promotion out of Division 6 West and the fourth XI fell just 12 points short of making it four promotions out of four.

In Division 3 West, the first XI, under the guidance of skipper James Howgate and coach Matt Machan, won 12 of their first 15 games with the other three games abandoned for rain.

It was only in game-week 16 that they lost their first game to eventual third-placed Ansty CC and the nerves set in as they went on to lose to Goring-by-Sea CC the following week.

It all set-up final day drama at Littlehampton CC where nothing but a win would do as Findon CC, themselves on a fantastic run of nine successive wins, sat just eight points behind in second place having been 39 points adrift two weeks prior.

It was all on the line with only the division winners achieving automatic promotion. Littlehampton started strongly with 133-1 on the board early but Chilt bowled well to restrict them to just 204-7 after 45 overs and squeezed over the line eight wickets down to secure 26 points and the Division 3 West title.

For the first time in their history, West Chiltington & Thakeham will be playing in Division 2 of the Sussex County League next season. Just six years ago they were still in the West Sussex Invitation League.

Martyn Swift ended the season on 37 wickets, the second most in the division and 19-year-old Hugo Gillespie scored 606 runs to also finish second in the batting standings.

Reuben Taylor scored 520 runs and took 23 wickets, and they are just three of many players who contributed over the course of the season.

For wicketkeeper batsman Charlie Tear it was an extra special summer to remember as he was rewarded with a call-up to Sussex CCC 2nd XI and selection in the Scotland U19 squad at just 17-years of age.

The club’s second XI achieved promotion out of Division 6 West, finishing with 13 wins and just three defeats.

Two of those losses coming in the first six games of the season forcing them to play catch-up all season.

A superb run in the final 12 games however was enough for them to leapfrog Arundel CC and Pagham CC 2nd XI to take the second promotion spot, 24 points behind Rustington CC. Ed White scoring 647 runs in the process.

The third XI won Division 10 West when they found themselves 61 points clear of Tilgate CC with two games to play.

Also winning 13 games, at times they were dominant with the ball, bowling sides out for scores of sub-40 runs four times.

James Chaloner topped the wicket standings in the division and Harry Bennett and Will Farnes finished first and second respectively in the batting standings.

It was unfortunate for the fourth XI, who missed out on promotion by 12 points finishing fourth in Division 12 West (North).

Only the three first XIs in the division finished above them, and had they won either of the two games they tied during the season they’d have taken the second promotion spot.

For the young Chilt side comprised mostly of 13-15 year-olds however, it’s the experience gained that is most important.

Finally, in the junior section front, the West Chiltington & Thakeham under-16 team achieved the ‘treble’ winning their area league, the Sussex Champions League and the Sussex Junior Cricket Festival Bowl, the first time a junior Chilt team has achieved this feat in the SJCF.

The under-12s also enjoyed success, winning the SJCF Shield.