Ifield secured their first ever promotion to the Premier League with a hard-fought 15-run win away to Lindfield thanks to some gritty batting from Jack Groves and Mahad Ahmed and great perseverance in the field.
Lindfield won the toss and asked Ifield to bat first on a pitch that was to prove difficult to score on throughout the game and Lindfield tore through the Ifield top order in quick time and the visitors’ innings was in tatters at 55 for 5.
Skipper Jack Groves steadied the innings and along with Graeme Dean put on 31 for the sixth wicket before Dean was LBW for 14 and then another partnership was formed with Mahad Ahmed and the score moved to 116 before Groves was bowled by Harry Chaudhary for a really important 32.
Ahmed played confidently and finished on an impressive and crucial 35 not out in a final total of 161 for 9 after 45 overs.
Ifield knew that early inroads into the Lindfield top order were important and Jigar Parekh and Pratik Patel obliged when both openers were dismissed with just 13 on the board.
Crucially, overseas player Tem Hodson was dropped in the deep early in his innings and for much of the afternoon this looked like it would be an extremely costly mistake.
Hodson and Tom Hinley took the score to 79 before Hinley when on 28 was forced to leave the pitch with what looked like a hamstring problem and this proved to be key as few of the following batsman were able stay with Hodson.
A well-judged catch by Mike Norris to dismiss Weir was followed by the crucial wicket of Hodson who was run-out by a fine throw from Dan Smith for 49 and then the very next ball Dominic Morgan was bowled by Robbie Ballarino and Lindfield were 120 for 7.
The Ifield spinners now had a stranglehold on the game and the Lindfield tail were simply not able to get them away and Ifield finally had control of the game.
There was late drama when in the penultimate over Ifield’s Tom Wragg took a bad fall in the outfield and the game was delayed for 20 minutes as he was attended to and then taken to The Princes Royal Hospital with what turned out to be a fractured collar bone.
Play resumed and the Lindfield innings finally finished on 146 for 8 sparking big celebrations from the Ifield players and their large travelling support.
With promotion now in the bag, just four points are now needed from the final three games to secure the title and Ifield will look to pick those up next week at home to Billingshurst.