THE great escape is still possible for Hailsham Cricket Club.
After failing to win any of their first 15 matches, Hailsham have suddenly won their last two games to rekindle their East Sussex Cricket League Division Two survival hopes.
Hailsham go into the final weekend of the campaign still bottom of the table and 23 points behind a Robertsbridge side that occupies the last safe spot of third-bottom.
Rahul Chauhan and Ciaran Treloar were the heroes as Hailsham triumphed by 47 runs away to Chiddingly on Saturday. Chauhan scored 122 with the bat and Treloar took seven wickets with the ball.
Although Hailsham lost the toss and were given first knock, they got off to a terrific start through Dean Noakes (43) and Chauhan. Number three Aaron Norwood continued the momentum after the fall of Noakes with 41 off 52 balls.
Will Slemmings was 13 not out at the end alongside Chauhan, whose runs came off just 97 deliveries, as Hailsham declared on 240-2 after only 41 overs.
Hailsham captain Treloar then dismissed all of the top six Chiddingly batsmen en route to figures of 7-57 from 16.1 overs.
Fellow opening bowler Trevor Scott took the other two wickets as second-bottom Chiddingly were all out for 193 in 43.1 overs. Perry Holland (2), Bok Rahman, Scott and Noakes held catches.
Only three Chiddingly batsmen - opener Ed Monnington (54), and middle order duo Nick Moulds (57) and Marcus Waters (36) - scored more than 10 and the final four lasted a mere 26 balls between them. Hailsham will conclude their league programme at home to sixth-placed Fletching on Saturday.
The seconds of Hailsham are just two points outside the promotion places in East Sussex Division Six after Jinson Francis produced a virtuoso performance in the 144-run success at home to Chiddingly seconds.
Having lost the toss and been asked to bat, Hailsham totalled 201-9 declared thanks to a fine 83 from Francis which contained seven fours and five sixes.
Adrian Farley (17), Alan Pope (17), Lee Wigglesworth (15), Shibin Abraham (15), Tom Walder (12 not out) and Vince Rose (10 not out) also reached double figures.
Hailsham proceeded to skittle their opponents for 57 in less than 25 hours with Francis claiming 5-27 off 11 overs, Walder 3-13 from 11 and Yogesh Glupan 1-0 from seven balls. Jason Head took four catches.
10 points required
The thirds of Hailsham need 10 points from their final Division 12 fixture to make sure of the third promotion place after receiving a walkover against their Wadhurst counterparts.
Hailsham fourths lost by five wickets at home to second-placed Rye fourths in Division 13. Opener Michael O’Callaghan (21) was the only batsman to reach double figures as Hailsham were shot out for 60, although Ryan Meechan took three wickets and Martyn Cleveland two with the ball.