Bexhill off the bottom after splendid victory

Danul Dassanayake's 91 helped guide Bexhill to victory at Lindfield yesterday. Picture by Steve Robards
Danul Dassanayake's 91 helped guide Bexhill to victory at Lindfield yesterday. Picture by Steve Robards

Bexhill Cricket Club’s first team produced a tremendous run chase to pull off a second successive victory.

Bexhill chased down a stiff target of 250 to win a battle of Sussex Cricket League Division Two’s bottom two away to Lindfield by three wickets yesterday (Saturday).

It was all the more impressive given that Bexhill had been bowled out for 108 and 75 in their previous two games, and hadn’t previously reached 200 this season.

But a reshuffled top order came up with the goods on this occasion. Although Bexhill lost Shawn Johnson for seven with the score 23, three successive 50-plus partnerships, all of them involving Danul Dassanyake, put Bexhill on course.

Johnathan Haffenden - promoted to open - and Dassanyake put on 59 for the second wicket until Haffenden fell for 48 for the second time in four matches.

Dassanyake then shared a third wicket stand of 68 with Cameron Burgon, who marked his return to the first team with 31, and a fourth wicket partnership of 51 with Matt Peters which took Bexhill past the 200 mark.

Then came a wobble as 201-3 became 208-6, the victims including Peters for 19 and Dassanayake for a splendid 91 featuring eight fours and two sixes. It was a spectacular upturn in form for Bexhill’s overseas player, whose top score in six previous league innings was 16.

Although the game situation had now become more tricky for Bexhill, Liam Bryant refused to panic and got things back on track in a small partnership of 24 with Rob Yardy which weathered the proverbial storm.

After Yardy was bowled for six to leave Bexhill 232-7, Bryant (24 not out) and Nick Peters (12 not out) did the rest to take the visitors over the winning line with seven balls to spare, despite Harry Chaudhary taking 4-48 from 11.5 overs.

Lindfield had earlier posted 249-5 declared in 49.4 overs after winning the toss and choosing to bat, thanks largely to half-centuries from all of their top three.

Nathan Pugh (50) and Simon Shivnarain (60) put on 119 for the first wicket until the latter was bowled by that man Dassanayake (11-3-33-1).

Bryant (8-1-33-1) had Pugh caught behind by Burgon with the score 146 and Matt Peters (6-0-33-1) had Tom Hinley caught by Dassanayake for 14 to leave Lindfield 173-3.

Number three Declan Martel then forged a fourth wicket partnership of 50 with Geoffrey Lawrence (23 not out) until being bowled by Johnson (10.4-1-57-1) for 60.

Steve Phillimore, back in the first team after several seasons slightly lower down the club, ran out Callum Parker for 16 off the fourth ball of the final over and Lindfield immediately declared.

In a bizarre quirk of the scorecard, Nick Peters, Dassanayake, Bryant and Matt Peters all conceded 33 runs.

Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (all played six matches): 1 Haywards Heath 150pts, 2 Three Bridges 149, 3 Billingshurst 148, 4 Mayfield 135, 5 Ansty 106, 6 Bognor Regis 106, 7 Chichester Priory Park 104, 8 St James’s Montefiore 101, 9 BEXHILL 83, 10 Lindfield 79.

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