Top-two finish in Portslade’s sights

Alex Smith
Alex Smith

PORTSLADE Cricket Club vice-captain Alex Smith feels his side can aim for a top-two finish after ending Steyning’s unbeaten start to the season on Saturday.

Portslade climbed a place to second with a five-wicket win over runaway leaders Steyning, who had won eight of their nine Sussex League Division 4 games heading into the match.

Steyning were all out for 156, before Portslade chased the target down with more than six overs to spare.

The victory was Portslade’s fifth from six games and Smith said: “It was an excellent result on Saturday and we we very proud of ourselves after the game as we did really well against an excellent Steyning side.

“They hadn’t dropped a point, apart from their abandoned match, so we were pleased to take all 30 points.

“With that result, we should probably be safe from relegation now as we’ll expect to win some more games before the end of the season.

“We’ve put ourselves into a position where we can crack on and could aim for the top two.”

Smith does not expect Steyning, who are 56 points clear, to slip up and just 34 points separate the following five sides – Portslade, Henfield, Wisborough Green, Rye and Slinfold – with all of them eyeing the second promotion spot.

Smith said: “I can’t see Steyning being caught. They’re a strong side and I can’t see many other teams beating them.

“If we can win games against the teams around us, then we will be up there, though.”

Owain Jones (41) and Hywel Jones (13) got Steyning off to a steady start on Saturday, with a 55-run opening stand but wickets then fell at regular intervals.

Smith and Paul Glover picked up three wickets each, before Glover (67) and Ian Morley (24) put on 99 for Portslade’s opening wicket in their successful run chase.

Smith said: “They got off to a bit of a flyer, so we were over-the-moon to bowl them out for 156.

“Ian has come into the team and done really well and it was a good knock by Paul as well.”