CHICHESTER Priory Park took a big step towards promotion after completing a remarkable win over local rivals Pagham.
Both sides have been in good form this term, sitting near the top of Sussex Division Three.
But in a day where the ball held sway over the bat, Chi made the most of the conditions at Priory Park to complete a 52-run win over their visitors.
The victory means Priory leapfrog Pagham into the promotion places and sets up the second half of the season perfectly.
It did look as though it would be an unhappy homecoming for Chi, who were playing their first match at the park since relocating to Goodwood.
After being put in to bat, Matthew Geffen’s side struggled as Pagham’s bowlers took a series of early wickets.
After being reduced to 42 for 5, Matthew Bennison (50) steadied the ship scoring a half century.
With Mike Smith (32) providing a much-needed cameo, Chi limped to 146 all out, with Joe De La Fuente (3 for 19) and Peter Cotterill (3 for 61) the pick of Pagham’s bowlers.
But, led by skipper Geffen (5 for 28) and overseas star Abhishek Patel (3 for 10), Chi came out of the blocks fast, reducing the visitors to 34 for 5.
Ryan Barratt (31) offered some resistance for Pagham but when he was dismissed, caught and bowled by Jay Hartard, the writing was on the wall – with the Nyetimber Lane side only reaching 94 all out.
Next up for Chi is a trip to league leaders Crawley Super Eagles tomorrow, who suffered a shock defeat on the road to Haywards Heath last time out.
Pagham meanwhile will welcome Roffey Seconds to Nyetimber Lane looking to get their season back on track.
It was a better weekend for Pagham Seconds, who comfortably defeated Billingshurst Seconds by seven wickets in division five west.
David Leader took 6 for 59 before Justin Scott (66*) and Danny Berkley (44) guided them home to victory.
Tomorrow Pagham seconds will travel to Broadwater (12.30pm) before making the trip up to Three Bridges on Sunday (1pm) in the next round of the Gray-Nicolls T20 Cup.
In the same division, tomorrow Middleton Seconds host Worthing Seconds while Priory Park Seconds host Goring Seconds. Both matches start at 12.30pm.