East Preston Cricket Club survived a scare to extend their perfect West Sussex Invitation League Division 2 start to four matches on Saturday.
Gary Weedon’s side were stuck into bat and bowled out for just 130 in 40.2 overs.
Massive totals and decent batting had been the tale of EP’s season prior to this win over Balcombe.
This time around, they had their bowlers to thank. Glenn Whitaker’s five-wicket haul and four from Jack Sunderland helped East Preston seal a 21-run win as Balcombe were bundled out for 109 in reply.
EP skipper Weedon was pleased with another win but admitted his side had their work cut out.
He said: “It was another excellent result and I’m really pleased we’ve continued our perfect start to the season.
“We were certainly made to work hard for this victory, though.
“Two days of heavy rain going into the game would make the toss crucial and unfortunately it was one I lost.
“The wicket was very tricky and from ball one dirt was being thrown up.
“After losing three early wickets and some valuable batters, both Glenn (Whitaker) and Louis (Storey) dug-in and put up an invaluable partnership.
“We always knew we had the bowling attack to cause them some problems, so it was important to get a score we could defend.
“Our aim was to get 140/150 but we fell just short in trying to reach that target.
“We fielded excellently. Although we took some early wickets, they managed to consolidate and build a partnership.
“The crucial moment proved to be bringing both Glenn and Jack (Sunderland) back on. They both bowled excellently and we held our catches.
“It was a real team effort, working hard to stop every run and working together to build pressure.”
East Preston’s top-order was decimated early on with Weedon (seven), Paul McCafferty (nought) and Sunderland (nought) going in quick succession to leave EP 17-3.
Sunderland’s dismissal brought Whitaker to the crease and he and opener Louis Storey shared a critical 55-run fourth-wicket stand.
Whitaker (32) was East Preston’s top-scorer, while Storey made 29 but they could only make 130 before losing their final wicket after 40.2 overs.
Whitaker and Sunderland got rid of Balcombe openers Andrew Stillwell (17) and John Manning (two) to leave them struggling on 22-2.
Charlie Dowdall batted well for his 39 but that was never going to be enough for Balcombe.
Along with Dowdall and Stillwell, Sam Blackburn (16) was the only other batsman to reach double figures as Balcombe were bowled out for 109 in reply.
Whitaker and Sunderland caused Balcombe’s batters a great deal of problems – taking nine wickets between them.
It was Whitaker who led the way with five wickets, while Sunderland weighed in with four.
East Preston host Brighton & Hove’s 3rd XI on Saturday.
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