A record season!
Updated: Mar 7
West Chiltington & Thakeham Cricket Club enjoyed another record-breaking season despite narrowly missing out on promotion to the Sussex Premier League. After winning Division 3 West last season, the young First XI with an average age of just over 21, almost upset the odds this year by achieving promotion into the top tier of Sussex’s cricket pyramid. Going into the final game of the season, Chilt were in second place needing a maximum of 27 points against Burgess Hill to go up, or any result that was no less than four points fewer than third placed Mayfield achieved in their game against Cuckfield. As the day turned out, Chilt only managed 166 all out in the first innings, just six bonus points and thus only a maximum 26 point win was achievable, whilst news filtered over from East Sussex that Mayfield had scored 295 in their first innings and with a full 30 point win more than likely, the hopes of promotion for Chilt were hanging by a thread. Chilt now needed Cuckfield to win. As it turned out Chilt were unable to defend 166 losing by six wickets and Mayfield unsurprisingly defended 295. Nonetheless, a third-place finish in Division 2 is comfortably the best finish to a season by any West Chiltington or West Chiltington & Thakeham CC team and something worth celebrating for the West Sussex club. Chairman Stephen Hodgson said ‘It really is a remarkable achievement and no less than this young team deserve. The results throughout the club, not just in the First XI are phenomenal and everyone at the club is immensely proud but the hard work doesn’t stop and we will continue to put in place the conditions, facilities – the foundations – for players across all five senior teams and numerous junior teams to enjoy their cricket and succeed.’
As Hodgson alluded to, the positive results were not just limited to the First XI. The Second XI won 10 straight games in the second half of the season, only to finish an agonising nine points adrift of promotion from Division 5 West in third – ultimately a cancelled game early in the season when pitch preparation was not possible at Worthing potentially cost them the points required to go up - the only cancelled or abandoned game in the division. There was also great success in the lower reaches of the league for the Third and Fourth XIs – the Third XI winning Division 9 West by just three points ahead of neighbours Storrington, that’s back-to-back division titles for the Third XI, and the Fourth XI won Division 12 West (N) with a mixture of senior and junior players, all of which points to a bright future for the club.