Must win clash in Bexhill survival bid

Byron Smith bowling for Bexhill in their last home, against Billingshurst, a fortnight ago. Picture by Simon Newstead
Byron Smith bowling for Bexhill in their last home, against Billingshurst, a fortnight ago. Picture by Simon Newstead

Bexhill Cricket Club is gearing up for a must win match in its quest to avoid back-to-back relegations.

Nothing less than a win will really do for second-bottom Bexhill when they host rock-bottom Lindfield in Sussex Cricket League Division Two tomorrow (Saturday).

Bexhill coach Hamish Russell said: “We’ve got to win it, there’s no doubt about it. If we win and get 30 points, and Ansty lose, we’re out of the bottom two and then it’s in our hands.

“It’s critical that we play well at home and we get a few people at the club getting behind us because that does make a difference.”

See also: * Sarro stars in Bexhill defeat
* Bexhill pipped by Billingshurst in tight tussle

Bexhill are 12 points behind Ansty - who occupy the final safe spot of third-bottom - with three matches remaining. Lindfield are 43 adrift of Bexhill and seemingly destined for the drop.

Bexhill’s run-in does at least look more favourable than Ansty’s. After facing Lindfield tomorrow, Bexhill will host fifth-placed Haywards Heath next weekend and travel to seventh-placed Bognor Regis on September 1.

Ansty are away to Haywards Heath tomorrow and leaders Three Bridges next weekend before entertaining third-placed Billingshurst on the final day.

“I suppose we’ve got a slightly easier run-in than them,” continued Russell. “Everyone’s pretty quiet at the moment. Nobody’s resigned to going down or losing games, but there’s a determination to do well.”

Bexhill have lost their last three matches, all of which have been against top four opposition, but they chased down a target of 250 to win June’s reverse fixture against Lindfield.

“I’m confident of doing it, but I’m not over-confident because we’ve been hit and miss at times,” added Russell.

“If we can get a couple of early wickets, you don’t know how things are going to go. I think they’ve still got a bit of fight in them. It’s certainly not a foregone conclusion; their season is on the line as much as ours.

“We’ve really got to have some belief and get off to a good start. We’ve got to get that confidence flowing through the team early.

“We did that at Lindfield. We’ve got good players in there; we just need everybody to step up and put the confidence through the rest of the team.”

Bexhill will be without their two leading wicket-takers for a game which will get underway from 12.30pm at The Polegrove. Neil Blatchly has a family commitment and Nick Peters probably won’t play again this season due to his back problem.

Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (all played 15 matches): 1 Three Bridges 351pts, 2 Mayfield 346, 3 Billingshurst 302, 4 St James’s Montefiore 300, 5 Haywards Heath 280, 6 Chichester Priory Park 234, 7 Bognor Regis 224, 8 Ansty 201, 9 BEXHILL 189, 10 Lindfield 146.

Remaining fixtures - Bexhill: August 18 Lindfield (h), August 25 Haywards Heath (h), September 1 Bognor Regis (a).

Ansty: August 18 Haywards Heath (a), August 25 Three Bridges (a), September 1 Billingshurst (h).

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