Sarisbury frustrated as promotion hopes wane
Matt Journeaux believes Sarisbury Athletic have blown their chances of promotion after enduring a seven-wicket home defeat at the hands of Liphook & Ripsley.
The Allotment Road side still have a chance – along with three other teams – of taking the Southern League division one title but it is no longer in their own hands.
They visit fellow promotion-chasers Bournemouth in their final game.
But even a big victory with leave Journeaux’s side relying on results elsewhere going their way.
The Sarisbury skipper said: ‘We were pretty poor on Saturday.
‘At the moment it is advantage Hook & Newnham at the top but it makes for a very interesting final day.
‘It is very frustrating to get so close and probably miss out.
‘The league has been tight all season and it is a testimony that four teams can still win it.
‘Picking up just two points against Liphook has made it very difficult for us.
‘Even just another two points would have made a difference.’
In hindsight, Journeaux regretted his decision to bat first.
The ball swung well for the skilful Liphook seamers Chaz Janczur (three for 27), George Neave (two for 28), Suman Ganguly (two for 32) and teen left-armer Jack Campbell (one for 26).
The bowlers were also helped by a pitch which produced variable – and sometimes alarming – bounce.
If batting was not difficult enough, off-spinner Alan Crawford then bowled 8.1 overs and took one for 12.
Sarisbury were back in the pavilion all out for 136 in 36 overs with Journeaux top scoring (41 not out).
‘We probably had the worst of the conditions but at the same time we didn’t apply ourselves well,’ he said.
‘While the wicket was doing a bit we never really had enough runs.
‘We were never at the races. And it was the worst possible time to have an off-day.
‘The writing was on the wall once we slumped to 70 for six.
‘It put a lot of pressure on the lower order and no-one was able to stick around.
‘A combination of a few unlucky dismissals, run outs and poor shots did for us.
‘When they batted they showed us what we should have done.’
The Sarisbury attack was less than impressive as a second-wicket stand of 80 hammered home Liphook’s advantage.
Ganguly hit 41 but it was an outstanding undefeated 77 from opener Rob Nicklin that steered the visitors home.
‘All we can do now is go to Bournemouth and pull out all the stops to win,’ added Journeaux.
‘We will be up against it but must give it our best shot and see if that ends up good enough.
‘Whatever happens it will still be a successful season for us.’