The league table doesn’t make good reading, but Bexhill Cricket Club captain Johnathan Haffenden remains in positive mood at the midway point of the season.
Last weekend’s Sussex Premier League derby defeat at home to Hastings Priory has left second-bottom Bexhill 59 points adrift of Hastings, who occupy the final safe spot of third-bottom.
Haffenden said: “Things aren’t going our way, but everyone’s positive about what we’re going to do. We’re still only 60 points off mid-table which can swing. Two wins and the league’s completely different.
“We’ve got the players. It’s pretty much the side that’s got us to where we’ve been the last few years (Bexhill finished third last season and fourth in 2015). We’ve got it in us, especially in the bowling side, and we’ve got the grit and determination.”
Haffenden says his players need to seize their opportunity at key moments in matches during the second half of the campaign.
“I think at key moments in games, if you take opportunities, that’s when you start realising you’re going to win a game instead of missing an opportunity and thinking ‘we’re done’,” he continued. “You just need a little swing and the momentum can change.”
Although Bexhill’s wait for a first home league win of the summer continued with a 48-run loss against Hastings, Haffenden felt his players acquitted themselves well.
“Saturday was a good performance,” he said. “We can still improve, like we all know we can, but we gave it a very good go and we lost in the right way. There’s a good team spirit and we fought for each other.
“Hastings were better than us on the day. They took their catches and they bowled well. They’re a good side and they’ve got a lot of experience; it’s not like we’ve been beaten by a poor team.
“But I thought we were unlucky. There were a lot of chances early doors and it could’ve been a different story.
“Probably what cost us in the end was three dropped catches. If we had taken them, we would’ve been chasing 160, 170 maybe and we’re on the front foot going into our batting.”
Next up for Bexhill is a tough trip to a Roffey side which is a point clear at the top of the table having won seven of its eight completed league matches so far this term.
“It’s never easy going to a side that’s won the league three years on the bounce,” said Haffenden. “But we can’t worry about other teams.
“They’ve got good players, but 10 balls bowls them out. I know that sounds simple, but we’ve got it in us to bowl them out and it’s a nice place to bat so anything can happen there.
“We don’t have anything to lose; the pressure’s on them just as much as us. Even if we can’t win a game, we can make sure we pick up 10, 12, 14 points and if we do that, we’ll be close to winning or drawing.
“I’m confident we can beat most sides, but we’ve got to play good cricket and we’ve got to outplay them in each discipline.”
Sussex Premier League standings (all played 9 matches): 1 Roffey 225pts, 2 East Grinstead 224, 3 Horsham 217, 4 Cuckfield 200, 5 Preston Nomads 172, 6 Brighton & Hove 150, 7 Middleton 148, 8 HASTINGS PRIORY 147, 9 BEXHILL 88, 10 Ansty 61.