Captain Collins lays down promotion challenge to Steyning

Steyning celebrate a wicket against Pagham. Picture by Kate Shemilt
Steyning celebrate a wicket against Pagham. Picture by Kate Shemilt

Oliver Collins has challenged Steyning to maintain their blistering start to the Sussex League Division 3 West campaign and achieve promotion.

The skipper believes his team have proved they’re a match for anyone in the division in their opening four matches.

But Collins is aware the league leaders must continue to perform at a consistent level if they are to reach the second tier.

Steyning maintained their 100 per cent start in Division 3 West with a six-wicket win at second-placed Pagham.

That took them 16 points clear at the summit after four rounds of fixtures.

But Collins is remaining cautious following their remarkable start to the campaign.

He said: “Saturday showed how strong we really are as team in terms of the belief we have.

“Going into the game we knew we were weaker than we have been for other games, missing key players.

“But I felt we really showed character to dig in and the desire to win at a tricky place to visit in Pagham, with a few youngsters who never buckled under pressure.

“The ruthless edge we have this year and determination to succeed is an area I am very pleased with and proud of the lads for.

“But it’s only a start and this has to continue on for the rest of the season for us to have a successful year.

“We all want to get promoted but we know there’s a long way to go and we need to be consistently at these levels to reach our goal as a collective.

“But if we do, we’ve proven we’re good enough to be a match for anyone in this league.”

After being stuck in the field, it looked as though Steyning would be chasing a sizeable total.

Opener Jack Stannard, who top scored with 80, and number three Nick Smith (72) provided a platform for Pagham. But after Smith fell, Pagham slipped from 130-2 to 143-5.

Steyning put the squeeze on the hosts brilliantly, with Isaac Tidley leading the way taking 2-42.

However, Stannard remained and was the sixth wicket to fall.

And late innings runs from Justin Scott (32 not out) and Richard Bird (16*) took Pagham to 240-6 off 45
overs.

Steyning slumped to 88-3 as their chase got off to a shaky start.

But captain Collins (96) played a crucial part in seeing his team to victory.

The skipper shared a 128-run fourth-wicket stand with Gary Hunt to get them back on track.

Hunt (67 not out) took his team over the line after Collins had fallen four short of his century.

Dave Kennett (seven*) was the other unbeaten batsman as Steyning reached 243-4 to claim a six-wicket victory with seven balls to spare.

The leaders welcome bottom side Stirlands on Saturday.

Steyning were forced to cancel their Sunday T20 Cup clash at home against Lingfield.

Depleted for the league match a day previous, they were unable to field a team for the fixture.

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