CRICKET: Clifford takes six wickets as Ifield return to the top

Ifield celebrate Paul Clifford taking a wicket.'Picture by Jon Rigby
Ifield celebrate Paul Clifford taking a wicket.'Picture by Jon Rigby

Ifield returned to the top of the table with a comfortable seven-wicket win over Portslade.

Skipper Jack Groves won the toss and opted to bowl first but Portslade got off to a flyer after a rather wayward opening spell from Matt Graves.

Ifield's Paul Clifford in action.'Picture by Jon Rigby

Ifield's Paul Clifford in action.'Picture by Jon Rigby

Despite Jigar Parekh picking up a wicket with his very first delivery, the visitors soon had 50 on the board with Paul Glover getting the bulk of them.

Paul Clifford replaced Graves and gradually he and Parekh brought some control back to the run-rate.

Glover’s quick but effective innings ended when he was bowled by Clifford for 49 and Portslade were 54 for 2.

Robbie Ballarino replaced Parekh at the clubhouse end and he and Clifford accounted for the visitors’ middle order and although a couple of the lower order got into double figures, no-one could do any real damage.

Clifford was able to clean-up the tail and in so doing pick up excellent figures of 6 for 47 off 19 overs as the Portslade innings finished on 140 all out after 43 overs.

Ifield’s run-chase started in the worst possible way as Clifford’s fortunes abruptly went into reverse as he was bowled first ball by Alex Smith.

Then Tom Wragg was LBW for just four and Ifield were in a spot of bother at 8 for 2 but Ifield’s batting has generally shown great resilience this season and Dan Smith and Mike Norris set about rebuilding the innings.

Gradually the sting was taken out of the Portslade attack and the scoreboard started ticking over regularly and they were able to take the score fairly comfortably to 79 before Norris rather surprisingly hit a gentle delivery hard to mid-on and Holgate took a very good catch and Norris was gone for 38.

Jack Groves joined Smith and any hopes Portslade had of making further in-roads simply didn’t materialise as both batsmen opened up and runs started coming freely.

Dan Smith reached another half century and finished 66 not out and Groves 26 not out as their 62 run partnership saw Ifield home with seven wickets and 24 overs in hand.

Ifield travel to St James this Saturday hoping to cement their place at the top of the table.