Bexhill beaten by leaders despite flying start

Bexhill wicketkeeper Malcolm Johnson leads the celebrations after the fall of an early Cuckfield wicket. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder
Bexhill wicketkeeper Malcolm Johnson leads the celebrations after the fall of an early Cuckfield wicket. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder
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After some more encouraging recent results and performances, Bexhill Cricket Club’s first team was well beaten by the new Sussex Premier League leaders.

Johnathan Haffenden’s side went down by 169 runs away to Cuckfield on Saturday after being bowled out for 101 in reply to the opposition’s 270-7.

Shawn Johnson charges in for Bexhill against Cuckfield. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Shawn Johnson charges in for Bexhill against Cuckfield. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Cuckfield chose to bat after winning the toss, but Bexhill got off to a dream start as Stuart Collier, making his first league appearance of the season, reduced them to 3-2.

Collier (4-1-15-2) had New Zealand Test batsman Jeet Raval caught behind by Malcolm Johnson for a fourth ball duck and then dismissed the other opener, Joe Ludlow, in identical fashion for two.

Cuckfield hit back superbly thereafter, though, starting with a third wicket stand of 82 between Thomas Weston and Dominic Sear, who was ultimately caught behind off Shawn Johnson (12-3-42-3) for a patient 28 off 70 balls.

Weston continued the recovery in tandem with Bradley Gayler. The two men added 127 for the fourth wicket and Weston brought up his maiden Cuckfield century until falling to Malcolm Johnson’s fourth catch of the innings, off the bowling of Shawn Johnson, for 115 from 125 balls.

Bexhill opening batsman Malcolm Johnson goes on the attack. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Bexhill opening batsman Malcolm Johnson goes on the attack. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Gayler continued on to make 78 from 71 deliveries until being bowled by Shawn Johnson to leave Cuckfield 249-5. Tim Hambridge (4-0-37-2) - the seventh bowler used by Bexhill - picked up two wickets with the score 256, giving the visitors six bowling points.

Bexhill were unable to add to their points tally with the bat, though, as they were bowled out in 34.3 overs with Billy Meboroh-Collinson taking 5-31, including four LBWs.

The visitors lost both openers with the score 18, firstly Jake Lewis to Weston (8-2-22-1) for two and then the in-form Malcolm Johnson to James Thorpe (10-3-18-2) for 13.

Bexhill suffered a further setback 12 runs later when Shawn Johnson, like his brother, was caught behind by Gayler off Thorpe, in his case for four.

Bexhill's overseas player Jake Lewis slides to gather the ball. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Bexhill's overseas player Jake Lewis slides to gather the ball. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Haffenden made a brisk 20 off 22 balls, but after he was caught by Raval off Nick Patterson (7-3-15-2), Bexhill subsided from 53-3 to 58-7 as Meboroh-Collinson picked up his first two wickets before Patterson had number three Tim Hambridge caught behind for 11.

Josh Beeslee hung around until being caught by Raval off Meboroh-Collinson for one off 21 balls, while Nick Peters made 20 - the joint highest score of the innings with Haffenden - before succumbing to the same bowler to leave Bexhill 86-9.

Last pair Guest (6 not out) and Collier at least took Bexhill into three figures before Meboroh-Collinson wrapped things up by trapping Collier leg before for 10 off eight balls having struck the only six of the innings.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played 8 matches): 1 Cuckfield 198pts, 2 Roffey 195, 3 East Grinstead 194, 4 Horsham 187, 5 Preston Nomads 169, 6 Middleton 147, 7 Brighton & Hove 120, 8 HASTINGS PRIORY 117, 9 BEXHILL 76, 10 Ansty 54.