James Askew saluted his Littlehampton squad as they made sure of their Sussex League Division 3 West status with a game to spare on Saturday.
Littlehampton ensured their safety with a 61-run win at Worthing, ending their title ambitions in the process as well.
Askew heaped praise on his team and hailed the ‘brilliant’ achievement of avoiding the drop in their first season back in the third tier of the Sussex League. He dedicated the feat to the whole of his squad and revealed they have put in extra work in recent weeks to ensure they beat relegation.
Littlehampton stayed in sixth place despite the victory but have a 30-point cushion over second from bottom Steyning with a game to play.
Although they could still move level on points with Askew’s men, a better head-to-head record this season against them means safety has been secured.
Askew said: “Our aim was to survive our first year and its brilliant we have done that with a game to spare.
“The attitude of the lads these last few weeks has been excellent and I can’t praise them enough.
“They knew we were in a relegation battle and they have worked extra hard to improve results, which we have achieved.
“Our better head-to-head record against Steyning means we will stay up.”
Littlehampton struggled after Askew won the toss and decided to bat first.
Giorgio Rigali led the way with figures of 3-17 from 5.4 overs for the hosts.
But he also received great support from Robson Piper, captain Martyn Swift and Shane Felton, who all took two wickets.
Louis Paul made a crucial score of 44 but Littlehampton were all out for 158 in 34.4 overs.
But an equally impressive bowling display from the visitors saw them blow Worthing - and their title dreams - away for less than 100.
Jordan Farrell collected figures of 4-28 off his seven overs.
Ryan Budd got in on the act, taking three wickets while Macleod Cox weighed in with two as Worthing were skittled out for just 97 in 23.3 overs.
Askew added: “We made hard work of it on Saturday.
“Louis (Paul) and Jack (Turner) , towards the end, batted well to get us to 158.
“At halfway we thought we were 50 runs short and only had four points, so we knew we had to give it everything.
“However, the bowling and fielding was excellent again.
“Ryan (Budd) and Jordan (Farrell) were superb to lead us to victory.”
Littlehampton host champions Roffey 2nd XI in their final game of the season on Saturday.
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