Bexhill hit rock bottom after losing basement battle

Josh Beeslee bowling for Bexhill against Ansty. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Josh Beeslee bowling for Bexhill against Ansty. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Bexhill Cricket Club’s first team fell to the foot of the Sussex Premier League table after losing to the previous basement dwellers.

Johnathan Haffenden’s side lost by 17 runs at home to previously winless Ansty yesterday (Saturday) as the search for a first home league victory of the summer continues.

Bexhill celebrate after claiming the wicket of Jethro Menzies.

Bexhill celebrate after claiming the wicket of Jethro Menzies.

Ansty posted 201-8 from their 50 overs (the playing format having reverted to limited overs for the final four games) after winning the toss and choosing to bat at The Polegrove.

Bexhill took wickets at steady intervals and didn’t allow any sizeable partnerships to develop, but Ansty avoided wickets in clusters and fashioned a competitive total as a result.

Leo Anderson was the star of the visitors’ innings with a crucial 60 at number five. Arriving at the fall of the third wicket immediately before drinks, Anderson looked to be positive from the outset and struck six fours and a six in his 65-ball knock.

Harry Towler (28) and the left-handed Jethro Menzies (27) were the only other Ansty batsmen to score more than 20, and in fact, extras was the next highest scorer 32, 20 of which were wides.

Bexhill overseas player Jake Lewis bowls to Ansty's top-scorer Leo Anderson.

Bexhill overseas player Jake Lewis bowls to Ansty's top-scorer Leo Anderson.

Bexhill shared the wickets around. Jake Lewis was the most successful bowler with 3-39 from 10 overs - his second three-wicket haul in the last three games - and there were two wickets each for Benji Hammond and Josh Beeslee, who conceded just 30 runs from his 10.

Shawn Johnson was the other wicket-taker with 1-37, while fellow new ball bowler Bradley Payne, although wicketless, went for just 22 runs from his 20 overs on his first appearance for six weeks.

Tim Hambridge and Malcolm Johnson were the undoubted stars of Bexhill’s run chase, and while the two of them were at the crease together, they looked on course for victory.

From 70-3, the two left-handers put on 68 for the fourth wicket - comfortably the highest partnership of the match - until Hambridge, promoted to open the batting, was caught for a very good season’s best 63 off 110 balls with seven fours.

Bexhill then lost their fifth and sixth wickets with the score 155 before Malcolm Johnson, batting down the order at number five, was run out for a splendid 54 off 57 balls (with three fours and three sixes) to leave them 160-7.

That subsequently became 174-9 and Bexhill’s defeat was confirmed 10 runs later when Payne was bowled for seven, leaving Nick Peters 14 not out.

Ansty also shared their wickets. Jake Wilson took 3-31, Menzies and Charlie Rutter two apiece, and Jack Palser and Anderson one each.

The result leaves Bexhill 87 points adrift of Brighton & Hove, who occupy the final safe spot of third-from-bottom, with 90 available from the remaining three fixtures.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played 15 matches): 1 East Grinstead 364pts, 2 Roffey 345, 3 Horsham 292, 4 Cuckfield 285, 5 Middleton 241, 6 HASTINGS PRIORY 228, 7 Preston Nomads 227, 8 Brighton & Hove 211, 9 Ansty 134, 10 BEXHILL 124.