We still need three more wins, says Bexhill coach

Shawn Johnson batting for Bexhill against Mayfield earlier this month. Picture by Simon Newstead
Shawn Johnson batting for Bexhill against Mayfield earlier this month. Picture by Simon Newstead

Bexhill Cricket Club coach Hamish Russell believes the first team still needs three more wins in its battle against the drop.

Bexhill enter the last third of the season occupying the second and final Sussex Cricket League Division Two relegation place, but are only four points behind fourth-bottom Ansty.

Russell said: “I think we need another three wins, particularly as the last four games are win/lose (draws will be possible in the next two matches before the format reverts to limited overs).”

Bexhill’s next two fixtures are against top four opposition, starting with a tough-looking trip to second-placed Three Bridges tomorrow (Saturday).

“We’ve got two really important games coming up now,” continued Russell. “We don’t have to win on Saturday, but we do have to take points and put the other teams under pressure. We’ve got to put points on the board.”

Influential spin bowler Nick Peters is likely to be out for around a month having pulled a muscle in his back. What’s more, his brother Matt is unavailable for tomorrow’s game.

Of Nick’s injury, Russell added: “It’s annoying. He made a really good contribution with the bat (during last weekend’s win at home to Ansty) and he’s bowled well.”

Russell was ‘delighted’ to pick up 30 ‘much-needed’ points last weekend. Bexhill triumphed by 42 runs at home to Ansty to make it four wins from their last seven matches.

Russell said: “I’m delighted. We still haven’t joined up all the dots yet in the way of performance and mindset, but it’s a win and a much-needed 30 points. The 30 points was vital.”

Bexhill recovered from 78-5 to post 180-9 batting first and then bowled the opposition out for 138.

“I think it was a good performance on the whole because we won the game,” Russell continued. “We bowled and fielded exceptionally well, but we had to dig ourselves out of a hole at 70-5.

“The wicket was tricky to bat on, as we expected (following Friday’s rain), and it was a big toss to lose, but our shot selection, and some of our execution and mindset is still wrong. That doesn’t take away from the effort.

“Bar a couple of people, everybody got themselves out. Three were caught playing pull shots. I was very disappointed in the manner of dismissals.

“180 was a good score on that wicket and more than I thought we were going to get at one point, but that’s well batted to Cam (Burgon) and Nick (Peters), and Blatch (Neil Blatchly) at the beginning as well.”

Bexhill reduced Ansty to 36-5 in reply, and although a sixth wicket stand of 68 brought the visitors back into it, Bexhill’s spinners finished things off.

“I thought we had to get off to a good start (with the ball),” continued Russell. “Byron (Smith) and Shawn (Johnson) bowled exceptionally well, and we got a few early wickets.

“They did have a big partnership and their guy (Sam Palser) hit the ball nicely. We missed a chance to get him when he was on about 35, but you always felt with a bit of clever captaincy - and Haff (Johnathan Haffenden) did that - we could get him. The spinners bowled really well.”

See also: * Bexhill pull off important win in battle against the drop
* Bexhill forced to play home games elsewhere

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