BROADWATER Cricket Club missed out on what could have been a crucial victory on Saturday at East Preston when their hosts won by one wicket.
Batting first, Broadwater posted 173, a total which looked like it may be enough to take victory as a fine bowling spell from Paul O’Sullivan, with a five-wicket haul, contributed to a middle-order collapse from EP, but the home side held on to creep over the line.
The result leaves Broadwater in the West Sussex Invitation League Division 1 relegation zone, 14 points adrift of third-from-bottom Southwater and captain Graham Waller has admitted it will be tough for them to beat the drop.
He said: “Looking, realistically, although I am not going to say we aren’t going to be able to stay up, it’s going to be hard to catch Southwater and Southwick.
“It’s a big, big game for us at the weekend against Serendib, who are struggling like us and, hopefully, we can come away with 30 points.”
Having lost the toss and been put into bat, Broadwater made a good start with Graham Waller (29) and Bob Reynolds (23) putting on 50 for the first wicket.
Dan Williams, who claimed 5-18 in his 15 overs, and Richard Laker (2-58) then dismissed the next six Broadwater batsmen for 69 runs, of which O’Sullivan made 25.
Broadwater recovered from 119-7 to 173 all out as Steve Murphy struck 24 not out and they were also aided by 33 extras.
In reply, EP’s Colin Smith (27) and Jack Sunderland (54) put on a third-wicket stand of 60 to help them up to 87-3, but with Smith gone, Sunderland continued and helped them up to 122-4 before he was bowled by Bob Reynolds, who finished with 3-59.
Having claimed the first two wickets, O’Sullivan (5-64) returned and caused more damage with the ball as he sent three more back to the pavilion.
But with only one more wicket needed, Tom Chamberlain (seven not out) and Mark Coskin (six not out) guided their side home in 45.4 overs.
Waller added: “We did really well to get them where we did, but 173 at EP just isn’t enough and the middle order failed. Myself and a few others got in but no one could push on for that 60 or 70 that we needed.
“To finish one wicket short is disappointing, but after what has gone on recently, it was a really good-spirited and competitive game, which restored our spirit a bit.”