Crowhurst Park suffered an agonising one-run defeat away to second-placed Goring-by-Sea on Saturday.
A crazy 10 minutes led to Park losing their last six wickets for just nine runs and losing a Sussex Cricket League Division Two match they were in complete control of.
Park dismissed their opponents for 141 after winning the toss and electing to field. Only a brilliant 93 from Ellis Woolley prevented Goring from embarrassment with none of their other 10 batsmen scoring more than 11.
Paul Brookes - the division’s leading wicket-taker - made it 29 league victims for the season at an outstanding average of 8.72 by taking 6-54 from 24 overs, Richard Coleman chipped in with 3-27, and Ed Smissen eventually had Woolley caught and bowled.
Although Park lost an early wicket in reply, they appeared well on course for another notable victory as five of the top six got to double figures. Bradley Payne and Clive Tong led the way with 32 apiece, and Dale Payne was just behind with 31.
But when the excellent fifth wicket partnership of 58 between Bradley Payne and Tong was ended, the innings went into a rapid decline and Goring stole an improbable win courtesy of a Matt Keen hat-trick as Park were all out for 140. See Friday’s Hastings and Rye/Battle Observers for a full report.
Standings (all played eight matches): 1 Eastbourne 200pts, 2 Goring-by-Sea 193, 3 BEXHILL 169, 4 Findon 166, 5 St James’s Montefiore 147, 6 CROWHURST PARK 144, 7 Ifield 126, 8 Middleton 113, 9 Glynde & Beddingham 69, 10 Pulborough 68.