Worthing stay in the hunt for promotion

Benn Challen hit 55 then (pictured) took four wickets in Worthing's win at St James's
Benn Challen hit 55 then (pictured) took four wickets in Worthing's win at St James's

WORTHING Cricket Club made it six league wins on the bounce on Saturday but remained 28 points behind second-placed Billingshurst, who won at Findon.

With two games to go, Worthing will be targeting two victories and hope that Billingshurst slip up to make an immediate return to the Sussex Premier League.

After losing the toss at fourth-placed St James’s, Worthing were put into bat.

Bradley James was the first to fall as he was one of Mali Richards’ seven wickets, for eight, with the score on 30.

Matthew Green (13) and Andy Reid (five) then followed as Worthing were reduced to 48-3.

Captain Benn Challen and Nick Ballamy steadied things with a 74-run fourth-wicket partnership. However, once Ballamy was out for 30, from 59 balls, Worthing lost wickets regularly.

Challen was seventh man out, with the score on 154, after hitting four fours and three sixes from 97 balls. Worthing added just five more runs as they were all out for 159 in 47.2 overs.

Richards finished with 7-59 from 19 overs and Sam Rattle claimed 3-26 from 12.2 overs.

Aadam Din smashed 16 from just 11 balls at the beginning of St James’s reply, before he was bowled by Ballamy with the score on 18.

Michael Murray and Sam Cooper then put on 62 for the second wicket to put the hosts in a strong position. Cooper’s dismissal for 25 was the first of three wickets to fall for just seven runs as St James’s were reduced to 87-4.

Murray was seventh man out for 44, with the score on 108 and, despite a 22-run stand for the eighth wicket between Kiran Rajkumar (16) and Tim Hutchinson (ten), St James’s were all out for 144.

Challen picked up 4-17 from 7.1 overs and Corey Altis took 4-25 from 13 overs.

Challen was pleased with his side’s performance and said: “It was a really good win for us and makes it six in a row.

“We would have liked to have got around 20 or 30 more with the bat but we knew what we had to defend.

“St James’s started really well with the bat and were 80-1 at one point and we were beginning to think the game could be over pretty quickly.

“But our bowling has been excellent over the past few weeks and we managed to pick up another win after we skittled them out.”

Worthing captain Luke Vinter will be back this weekend but Challen has enjoyed his brief time in charge of the side and said: “It’s been fairly easy taking over as the side are playing so well.”

Worthing entertain fifth-placed Lindfield on Saturday, while Billingshurst host second-from-bottom Goring.