Sam Roberts took six wickets as Bexhill Cricket Club celebrated its fourth consecutive league victory over Hastings Priory.
Just one place and four points separated the clubs in the Sussex Premier League table at the start of Saturday’s game, but Bexhill ran out convincing winners by seven wickets.
Hastings won the toss and elected to bat on a breezy afternoon at The Polegrove and initially made steady progress against the accurate Bexhill seamers.
But the introduction of Bexhill coach Roberts, with his left arm spin, altered the game. The Australian returned his best bowling figures for Bexhill with 6-32 in 15 overs (he’s now taken 14-56 in 29.3 overs this season) as Priory subsided from 36-0 and 78-2 to 108 all out.
With off-spinner Josh Beeslee picking up 4-22, all 10 of the Hastings wickets had fallen to spin. Some fine Bexhill catching and wicketkeeping kept the pressure on Hastings.
The Hastings batsmen did not apply themselves and adapt to the game situation, with some very rash shots contributing to their downfall. Five batsmen made it to double figures, but Josh Hahnel (22) was the only man to reach 20.
Bexhill got off to a poor start in reply. Adam Barton bowled with real pace and bounce, and dismissed both Bexhill openers to leave the hosts 16-2.
John Morgan removed Liam Bryant for 16 and at 33-3 it looked to be one of those low scoring games, but an unbroken 76-run partnership between Shawn Johnson (45 not out) and 16-year-old Ethan Guest (28 not out) saw Bexhill home to quell a few jitters in the ranks.
It was the first league meeting between the two clubs for 22 months and the game was played in a tremendous spirit.
Sussex Premier League standings (played-points): 1 Horsham 10-209, 2 Cuckfield 10-192, 3 Roffey 9-183, 4 East Grinstead 10-170, 5 BEXHILL 9-157, 6 Preston Nomads 10-156, 7 HASTINGS PRIORY 9-124, 8 Brighton & Hove 9-98, 9 Worthing 10-86, 10 Billingshurst 10-82.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!