LITTLEHAMPTON Cricket Club secured their survival in the Sussex League on Saturday but local rivals Arundel will drop down into the West Sussex Invitation League, after they suffered an agonising one-wicket defeat at Billingshurst.
If Arundel had won at Billingshurst in Division 3 West, they would have sent Slinfold down instead, as Littlehampton picked up the 11 points they needed to stay up in their defeat at Henfield on a nervy final day of the season.
Littlehampton won the toss and batted at Henfield and looked in a strong position at 184-5 but crashed to 198 all out and gained just eight batting points.
Michael Askew continued his excellent form with 55 and he put on 61 for the opening wicket with his brother, James, who hit 32.
Amit Midha added 26 and Sajid Khan 24 but the late collapse left Littlehampton needing to take six wickets to ensure their survival.
Ryan Budd got the early wicket of Scott Pedersen but Henfield then put on 68 for the second wicket, before Amjad Mohsin picked up three wickets to leave the home side 114-4.
Opening batsmen Craig Scott and Will Culver put on 49 before Culver fell to Midha and James Askew picked up the sixth wicket, of Scott, caught behind by Michael Askew after a top edge to cue relief for Littlehampton, with Henfield needing just 11 to win.
Littlehampton skipper Dan Rive said: “It was a bit of a nervy day as we shot ourselves in the foot by only scoring 198.
“When we went out to field, we knew Slinfold had been bowled out for 137, so they would have needed to take eight points to have a chance of finishing above us.
“It was just a sense of utter relief when we took the sixth Henfield wicket on Saturday.
“At the start of the season, I said I’d be happy if we finished second from bottom and one point off the bottom and we’ve finished eighth.
“Findon finished eighth last season and look what they did this year.
“We’ve had a lot of youngsters come through this year and it bodes well for the future.
“I feel sorry for Arundel as last year no team could come up from the West Sussex Invitation League and, Henfield stayed up, so Arundel have been unlucky this year that a team can come up.”
Arundel knew they needed to win at Billingshurst to have any chance of survival and posted a competitive 248-8 from 51 overs.
Rohan Ardley struck 64 off 72 balls, with eight fours, and Mark Barry, with 47, and Keelan Shoulders, with a 38-ball 44, added quick runs.
After Billingshurst fell to 44-2, a third-wicket stand of 108 between Scott Stratton (75) and Toby Loxley (55) put them in control.
But both batsmen fell in quick succession and two more quick wickets left the home side 165-6.
Ashley Jefferies and Andrew Wellfare put on 43 for the seventh wicket before Jefferies and Andy Barr quickly departed to leave them 211-8.
Charlie Sainsbury was out for a quickfire 24 with nine needed to win and Wellfare and Ben Williams took Billingshurst to victory and relegated Arundel.
Left-arm spinner Neil Chitty grabbed 5-63 for Arundel and Shoulders picked up 3-52.
Arundel finished the season with 229 points, 12 fewer than second-from-bottom Slinfold. Arundel lost to Slinfold by five wickets early in the season but the other game between the two was abandoned without a ball being bowled.