WORTHING Cricket Club strengthened their position at the top of Sussex League Division 2 on Saturday with a four-wicket win at home to struggling Ifield.
Both of Worthing’s nearest challengers, second-placed Glynde and third-placed Haywards Heath, failed to win so Worthing’s maximum 30 points has taken them 80 points clear of Glynde and 84 ahead of Heath.
Both of them have their game in hand this Saturday when Worthing have their free week.
Worthing won the toss on Saturday and put Ifield into bat on a wicket which played well, although was quite slow.
Andy Lutwyche and Luke Vinter prised out Ifield’s openers early on and Ifield then lost wickets regularly, with the 27-run ninth-wicket stand between Graeme Dean and Russell Jacob their largest partnership as they were all out for 142.
Lutwyche picked up five more wickets to move on to 34 for the season, with 5-57 off 14 overs, and Vinter grabbed 4-43 from 17 overs. He now has 26 wickets this season and off-spinner Benn Challen took the other wicket to fall and now has 31 wickets this year.
One of Ifield’s two league wins came at home to Worthing earlier in the season when Worthing were all out for 113, chasing 147 to win.
Worthing captain Michael Gould (16) and Dominic Clapp (34) got their side off to a strong start with a 55-run opening stand but both then fell without adding to the score.
Benn Challen and Darryl Rebbetts put on 33 for the third wicket but Challen, Andy Reid and Ben Chambers all fell in quick succession to leave Worthing 95-5 and Ifield were hunting the league double over the leaders.
Bradley James became Dean’s third victim to make the score 113-6 but Rebbetts, with 41 not out, and John Kaye, with an unbeaten 17, saw Worthing home with 16 overs to spare.
Ifield left-arm spinner Russell Jacob took 2-58 from 21 overs and is the division’s leading wicket-taker with 36.
Lutwyche said: “We bowled very well again, kept it tight and just bowled in the right areas.
“We were going well at 55-0 before we had a mini collapse but Darryl batted ever so well, as did John Kaye, who came in at No 8.
“That just shows the strength of our side and, when we have our strongest team out, we’ll be a match for anyone, even in the Premier Division.
“We’ve just got to keep winning now. Normally, 10 wins gets you up and we have nine already but the bottom three are quite far adrift this year, so we might need to get two more wins to make sure we’re safe as Haywards Heath and Glynde also still have to play each other.”