Defeat confirms Bexhill relegation

Jake Lewis scored 45 with the bat and took a wicket with the ball for Bexhill against Horsham. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder
Jake Lewis scored 45 with the bat and took a wicket with the ball for Bexhill against Horsham. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Bexhill Cricket Club’s relegation from the Sussex Premier League was confirmed following an away defeat yesterday (Saturday).

Johnathan Haffenden’s side did at least put up a pretty decent fight and matched their highest total with the bat all season in a 77-run loss against third-placed Horsham.

Horsham posted a formidable total of 288-6 from their 50 overs after winning the toss and choosing to bat.

More than half of the runs were scored by opener Tom Clark, who carried his bat for a magnificent 147 not out from 139 balls with 22 fours and a six.

Clark dominated an opening stand of 62 with Ryan Maskell, who was caught by Max Finzel off Nick Peters (10-0-48-1) for 14. Benji Hammond (8-2-35-1) then claimed the scalp of home captain Michael Thornely for six to make it 80-2.

Clark and young Sussex second team player Nick Oxley added 72 for the third wicket until Oxley was stumped by Malcolm Johnson off Josh Beeslee (10-0-49-2) for 47 from 50 deliveries.

That was the first of three wickets Bexhill picked up for 21 runs. Beeslee also claimed the second of them, trapping Chris Stearn leg before for four, and Haffenden (7-0-47-1) got the other, having Tom Johnson caught by Finzel for 17 off 14 balls.

From 183-5, a sixth wicket partnership of 95 between Clark and Mika Ekstrom ensured Bexhill would be facing a very large run chase. Ekstrom fell shortly before the end, caught by Tim Hambridge off Jake Lewis (6-1-40-1) for 43 off just 33 balls.

Having bowled just three wides in the entire Horsham innings, Bexhill made a good start to their reply with two of the top five scoring 45 each and another two making 34 apiece.

After Hambridge was caught off Ekstrom (7-0-33-2) for 18 with the score 24, Shawn Johnson and Lewis forged a second wicket stand of 60, which ended when the former was leg before to Michael Munday (7-0-24-1) for 34 off 43 balls.

Lewis was then involved in another substantial partnership for the third wicket, putting on 55 with Max Finzel. Lewis was eventually stumped off John Aston (8-0-38-5) for 45 off 64 balls.

Finzel also made 45, in his case from 54 deliveries, until being fourth man out with the score 160, caught off the bowling of Oxley (8-0-37-1).

Bexhill’s innings fell away somewhat after that, with nobody outside the top five reaching double figures, although they did make it past 200 for the fourth time this summer.

Aston bagged the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth wickets before Ekstrom took the ninth - and in effect the final wicket as Joseph Sarro was absent - by having Malcolm Johnson caught for 34 off 37 deliveries.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played 16 matches): 1 East Grinstead 394pts, 2 Roffey 359, 3 Horsham 322, 4 Cuckfield 315, 5 Preston Nomads 257, 6 HASTINGS PRIORY 256, 7 Middleton 247, 8 Brighton & Hove 220, 9 Ansty 146, 10 BEXHILL 134.