Bexhill lose out in see-saw contest

Danul Dassanayake batting for Bexhill against Mayfield. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Danul Dassanayake batting for Bexhill against Mayfield. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Bexhill Cricket Club’s first team lost at home to second-placed opposition in a see-saw contest on Saturday.

The Polegrove-based outfit raced to 95-1 batting first against Sussex Cricket League Division Two promotion hopefuls Mayfield before subsiding to 143 all out.

Former Hastings Priory captain Jason Finch bowling for Mayfield.

Former Hastings Priory captain Jason Finch bowling for Mayfield.

And another strong Bexhill showing with the ball - they took six wickets for 38 runs at one stage - wasn’t quite enough as Mayfield reached their target with three wickets in tact.

After losing the toss and being asked to bat in a match where the start time was brought forward two hours to 10.30am to allow the players an extended break to watch the England football team’s World Cup quarter-final, Bexhill made a flying start.

The openers put on 51 for the first wicket in rapid time before Neil Blatchly was bowled by Matt Cooke for 30 off just 18 balls with seven fours.

Danul Dassanayake continued the momentum alongside Shawn Johnson as the second wicket pair kept the scoreboard rattling along with some crisply-struck boundaries and sharp running between the wickets.

Bexhill batsman Shawn Johnson finds the leg-side boundary.

Bexhill batsman Shawn Johnson finds the leg-side boundary.

But Mayfield’s decision to take the pace off the ball reaped rich dividends as left-arm spinner James Allen bagged 6-34 from 13.4 overs at the sea end and captain Jason Finch took 3-31 from 13 overs at the opposite end.

Former Hastings Priory ace Finch was first to strike, having Dassanayake caught by Harry Lloyd for 45 off only 37 deliveries with seven fours, and 12 runs later Allen opened his account by having Johnson caught by Finch for 27 off 30 balls.

The innings rather fell away thereafter. Johnathan Haffenden (11) and Will Smith (10) were the only two of the final eight batsmen to reach double figures as Allen and Finch between them snapped up the last nine wickets.

With the pitch offering turn, Bexhill opted to open the bowling with spinner Nick Peters. They initially leaked a few runs from the other end, though, as Mayfield got off to a strong start in reply, bringing the number of runs required down into two digits without losing a wicket.

But after Blatchly dismissed Rob Raymond caught and bowled for 35 off 38 balls, the game changed. Mayfield swiftly tumbled from 49-0 to 87-6 as Peters (18-2-68-4) and fellow slow bowler Blatchly (14.3-2-40-3) gave Bexhill real hope of what had seemed an improbable victory.

A crucial seventh wicket partnership of 45, however, between the experienced James Chaplin and Finch’s son Edward Finch swung the pendulum back in Mayfield’s favour.

Although Edward Finch was leg before to Blatchly for a patient 15 from 43 balls with 12 runs still needed, Chaplin (35 not out) and Jason Finch (3 not out) guided Mayfield past the winning post as they beat Bexhill for the third time this season.

Mayfield reached their target, incidentally, in one ball less than they took to bowl Bexhill out - 35.3 overs compared to 35.4.

Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (all played 10 matches): 1 Three Bridges 239pts, 2 Mayfield 225, 3 Haywards Heath 218, 4 Billingshurst 178, 5 St James’s Montefiore 168, 6 Chichester Priory Park 158, 7 Ansty 144, 8 Bognor Regis 131, 9 BEXHILL 130, 10 Lindfield 122.

See also: Resurgent Bexhill right back in touch
Bexhill triumph in tight tussle
Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Observer by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed, we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Observer, simply click here (www.localsubsplus.co.uk)