Sarisbury survival bid goes down the drain

Basil Akram is dismissed as Sarisbury's top-flight stay comes to an end. Picture Ian Hargreaves (151408-6)
Basil Akram is dismissed as Sarisbury's top-flight stay comes to an end. Picture Ian Hargreaves (151408-6)
Suzie Bates

Vipers lose as rain puts dampener on home clash

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Matt Journeaux wants to lead Sarisbury Athletic’s promotion bid next season after the weather washed out their survival hopes in their relegation decider.

Knowing his side needed to win at Burridge on the final day of the season to avoid the drop from Southern Electric Premier League premier division – the rain arrived across the region and sent Sarisbury down the drain with it.

But the stand-in skipper, who took over from David Banks midway through the campaign, is now determined to lead a revamped side back to the top flight next season.

Journeaux said: ‘I would like to take on the captaincy again, so hopefully I will get selected and that will go through in the next couple of months.

‘It was a bit unexpected when it was thrown at me but now it looks like it might end up being for a bit longer.

‘Now we have to get a settled side and win division one again.

‘We’re obviously disappointed to be relegated after one season at this level.

‘Hindsight is a wonderful thing but if we knew then what we know now, we could have stayed up quite easily.

‘In timed cricket, we struggled. But there were games where we went for wins chasing big targets and ended up losing.

‘A couple of draws would have given us those vital extra few points.

‘It’s probably a bit naive on my part but we will learn from it and aim to bounce back next season.’

Knowing the weather was against them, Sarisbury’s slim hopes suffered another dent when Burridge skipper, Rick Ankers, won the toss and put the visitors in.

Sarisbury tried to adopt an aggressive game plan to shorten the game and give themselves a chance as Ryan Burl (31) and Ricky Rawlins (27) added 64 runs for the first wicket.

But Nick McMurray (two for 28) and Dan Hewitt (two for 29) picked up wickets as the Sarisbury batsman began to chance their arm.

After reaching 129 for five in 29 overs, the rain arrived and eventually saw play abandoned.

And that meant Burridge survived in the top flight by the skin of their teeth.

Journeaux said: ‘There was a bit of a feeling of waiting for the rain to happen. So we tried to force it.

‘We got put into bat and the only real way we would have had a chance was to put them in and then bowl them out cheaply. So we were struggling but we tried to risk it to score runs quicker, even if it meant we were bowled out.

‘But the pitch was difficult, so it was hard to score runs and when we did try to force things, we lost a few wickets.’

He added: ‘Six years ago, we were playing in Hampshire League division one.

‘Sometimes you have to take a step back to go forward.

‘Maybe it’s not a bad thing but, obviously, we would have prefered to stay up.’