Home win proves elusive for Bexhill
Bexhill Cricket Club's first team will end the season without a Sussex Premier League home victory following a 64-run defeat to Cuckfield on Saturday.
Another below strength Bexhill side was left to rue dropping New Zealand Test opener Jeet Raval three times as he went on to score a century.
In glorious sunshine at The Polegrove, third-placed Cuckfield amassed 265-5 from their 50 overs after Bexhill won the toss and chose to field.
Despite beginning the match with 10 men, Bexhill got off to a flying start. Shawn Johnson, who returned superb figures of 10-2-23-2, pinned Joe Ludlow and Bradley Gayler leg before to leave Cuckfield 7-2.
Raval gradually started to look dangerous, though, and forged a third wicket partnership of 146 with Dominic Sear to put the visitors firmly on course for a big total. Sear batted patiently for 34 off 84 balls until being caught by Benji Hammond off Nick Peters (9-0-54-1).
The in-form Raval went on to make his third league century of the season until being caught by Tim Hambridge off Josh Beeslee for 102 off 112 balls with 13 fours and two sixes. The left-hander has now scored 774 league runs this summer.
Beeslee struck again 12 runs later, having Chris Mole caught by Peters for 18 to make the score 194-5. That proved to be Bexhill’s final success with the ball as Thomas Weston (49 not out off 46 balls) and Harry Clark (28 not out off 22 balls) forged an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 71.
In reply, Bexhill went past 200 with the bat for the second successive game before being bowled out for 201 in 45.1 overs. Malcolm Johnson was the star of the innings with his third league half-century of the season and second in the last three matches.
Tim Hambridge struck two boundaries in first three balls before being caught by Raval off Weston (5-1-24-2). Fellow opener Shawn Johnson was bowled by Weston for 13 to leave Bexhill 33-2.
There followed a very good third wicket partnership of 71 between Malcolm Johnson and Jake Lewis, who was eventually caught by Raval off Ludlow (10-0-38-3) for 34.
Johnson went past 50 before skipper Johnathan Haffenden was bowled by Ludlow for 13 to make the score 145-4. Johnson’s terrific innings finally came to an end when he too was bowled by Ludlow, for 71 off 107 balls with eight fours, at 178-5.
Peters made a swift 25 from 27 deliveries, but none of the final five batsmen scored more than six as Bexhill slid from 189-5 to 201 all out.
Ben Candfield took the sixth, seventh and 10th wickets to finish with 3-38, opening bowler Nick Patterson returned to claim the ninth, and Ian Ellis was run out on his first Bexhill appearance of the season.
Sussex Premier League standings (all played 17 matches): 1 East Grinstead 422pts, 2 Roffey 389, 3 Cuckfield 345, 4 Horsham 332, 5 HASTINGS PRIORY 286, 6 Preston Nomads 269, 7 Middleton 260, 8 Brighton & Hove 220, 9 Ansty 176, 10 BEXHILL 142.