CRICKET: Ifield beat Billingshurst to become champions after Smith’s 80

Cricket Sussex League, Division 2: Ifield v Billingshurst (bowling). Dan Smith (batting). SR1720126. Pic Steve Robards SUS-170828-113551001
Cricket Sussex League, Division 2: Ifield v Billingshurst (bowling). Dan Smith (batting). SR1720126. Pic Steve Robards SUS-170828-113551001

Ifield went into the game assured of promotion to the Premier League and just needing four points to guarantee the division title and they came away with 30 after beating Billingshurst by 42 runs.

The visitors won the toss and knowing Ifield liked to chase, asked them to bat first on a good-looking wicket.

The home side got off to a flyer with Nathan Amin in particular finding runs easy to come by and 38 was on the board in quick time before Paul Clifford was bowled by Alex Lowther for 12.

Then with the score on 50, Amin was deceived by a slower ball from Andy Barr and departed for 33.

Dan Smith and Mike Norris put on an excellent 99 runs for the third wicket during which the crucial title- winning fourth bonus point was earnt.

Norris was trapped LBW by Ben Williams for 40 but Ifield now had a strong base and with Dan Smith going past yet another 50 and contributions down the order from Sam Dorrington, Dan Groves and Robbie Ballarino.

Ifield were able to go on and post 245 for 9 off their 45 overs with Smith out in the closing overs for 80.

Skipper Jack Groves praised: “We have a good set of lads, many of whom have played together for a number of years and most of the season we’ve been able to keep a consistent team which has definitely helped.

“We’ve got a really good committee who are very supportive both on and off the field and the lads really appreciate this.”

Billingshurst lost the early wicket of Scott Stratton when he was bowled by Jigar Parekh for nine but Tom Haynes and Mike Burroughs took the score to 70 in good time before Clifford struck with two wickets and the visitors were 73 for 3.

Mahad Ahmed picked up a quick fire double with the score on 131 as first Ed Verrall was caught in the deep for 18 and then crucially next ball Dan Smith took a great grab to get rid of Haynes for an excellent 83.

Ahmed picked up his third wicket with the score on 141 and then Dan Groves pitched in with his own three wickets.

The end came when Ballarino had Lowther caught with the total on 203 and Ifield were victors by 42 runs to spark yet more champagne celebrations.

Ifield’s good weekend continued when they beat Guernsey Sarnians on Sunday by an emphatic nine wickets having bowled them out for just 85.

With just one league game remaining away to relegated Portslade.

Ifield are now a massive 87 points clear at the top of the table.