WORTHING Cricket Club won at last season’s Sussex League champions Preston Nomads on the final ball in a nail-biting finish on Saturday.
Worthing appeared to be cruising to victory when they needed 15 to win with three overs to go and nine wickets in hand. However, panic then set in and they lost six more wickets, before Ian Gooding found a gap between mid-on and deep mid-wicket to smash a four off the last ball – with four needed to win and Nomads fielders all back on the boundary.
Worthing captain Darryl Rebbetts said: “It’s a really good start for us and I couldn’t have asked for any more.
“We made it a bit difficult for ourselves at the end but Ian nailed the winning runs off the last ball when they had everyone back on the boundary.
“The win puts a statement out to the rest of the league that we’re looking to push up the table this year.”
Worthing won the toss and put Nomads into bat and the hosts scored 238-9 off 53 overs, as rain reduced the match by fours overs a side.
Sussex batsman Joe Gatting top-scored with 74 as he struck eight fours from 105 balls, while Patrick Spencer added 48 not out and Robert Wakeford scored 45 before he was run-out by Sussex’s Matt Machan, who was making his Worthing league debut after joining from Hastings.
Machan was also in fine form with the ball as he took 3-48 off 10 overs, while John Glover took 2-45 and there was a wicket each for Malcolm Lake, Luke Vinter and Benn Challen.
Worthing made an excellent start to their innings as Michael Gould and Matthew Green, making his league debut after joining from Eastbourne, put on 97 for the first wicket, before Gould fell for 67. He hit 11 fours and one six in his 74-ball innings.
That brought Machan to the crease and he set about on the victory target at a rapid pace. He smashed 84 from only 62 balls, which included eight fours and one six, before he was second man out with the score on 224 after a 127-run stand with Green.
Malcolm Lake fell two runs later and Green was out for 66, compiled from 133 balls with nine fours, without any addition to the score and Benn Challen also fell with the score on 226.
Captain Darryl Rebbetts was out for a duck two runs later and Stuart Carter fell for eight with four runs needed to win, before Gooding struck a four off his first ball to give Worthing a dramatic victory.
Worthing entertain Brighton & Hove on Saturday.