East Preston clinch promotion despite crushing Eastergate defeat

East Preston were celebrating promotion on Saturday despite being beaten at Eastergate. Picture by Stephen Goodger
East Preston were celebrating promotion on Saturday despite being beaten at Eastergate. Picture by Stephen Goodger

East Preston Cricket Club had plenty of reason to celebrate on Saturday - despite suffering a ten-wicket Sussex League Division 5 West thumping at already-relegated Eastergate.

EP were missing a whole host of first team regulars and only able to field ten players as they were all out for 61 in 22 overs after deciding to bat first.

Eastergate knocked the runs off without losing a wicket - but both teams were celebrating at the end.

News filtered through that third-placed West Wittering had been beaten at Wisborough Green - meaning leaders East Preston cannot finish outside of the top-two.

Skipper Gary Weedon, who missed the game, is now focused on securing a second successive league crown.

Nearest challengers Chippingdale kept the pressure on - also clinching promotion - with a win at Horsham Trinity to leave East Preston ten points clear at the top with two games to go.

Captain Weedon is hopeful East Preston can put a first defeat of the season behind them and go on to win the title.

He said: “It’s not the way we wanted to gain promotion but we are delighted none the less. We have played some excellent cricket and have fully deserved to be where we are.

“We are looking to win the league and will do everything we can in the next two games.”

Ryan De Gruchy (ten) was the only East Preston batter to reach double figures as they were blown away, bundled out for 61 off 22 overs.

EP had no answer to the impressive Jack Saunders (4-15) and Nick Smith (4-10) and were facing defeat.

Openers Aaron Bateman (38*) and Curtis Drake (18 not out) took basement boys Eastergate to a crushing ten-wicket win.

Promoted East Preston will now look to get their title bid back on track when they host rivals Arundel on Saturday.

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