Bexhill beaten as runs flow at The Polegrove

Sam Roberts batting for Bexhill against Cuckfield. Picture by Simon Newstead

Sam Roberts batting for Bexhill against Cuckfield. Picture by Simon Newstead

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Bexhill Cricket Club’s first team was beaten in a tremendous Sussex Premier League third versus second encounter on Saturday.

Bexhill went down by seven wickets at home to Cuckfield on what was very much a day for the batsmen as 527 runs were scored at a sunny Polegrove.

Bexhill batsman Malcolm Johnson pushes one into the off-side on his way to a half-century. Picture by Simon Newstead

Bexhill batsman Malcolm Johnson pushes one into the off-side on his way to a half-century. Picture by Simon Newstead

“We were probably a little bit short,” said Bexhill captain Johnathan Haffenden. “Maybe 20, 30 more runs and (there would’ve been) a bit more pressure on them. But you’ve got to hold your hands up to them for chasing down a big score.”

After winning the toss and batting on a belter of a wicket, Bexhill amassed 263-6 from their 58 overs with six of the top seven scoring more than 25.

Bexhill made a steady start before Sam Roberts departed for 26 with the score 51. The Johnson brothers, Shawn and Malcolm, put on 78 for the second wicket until the former fell for 50.

Malcolm Johnson was third man out with the score 164, run out for 62 off 93 balls with 10 fours. Although Callum Guest made 33, a bit of momentum was lost before a sixth wicket stand of 71 between Haffenden (34 not out in 22 balls) and Tom Powell (41 in 41 balls) took Bexhill past the 250 mark.

“Batting-wise we were good,” continued Haffenden. “Shawn batted well, TP (Powell) batted well and I wasn’t too disappointed with getting 260-odd.”

Although no longer boosted by the presence of Big Bash League star Jordan Silk, Cuckfield got off to a good, steady start in reply, which set the foundations for their win.

Chris Mole and Dominic Sear put on 154 for the first wicket before Josh Beeslee finally made the breakthrough by dismissing Sear for 61 off 108 balls.

The run rate was still in Bexhill’s favour before Cuckfield produced a batting blitz, which the in-form Beeslee took the brunt of, the ball going to all parts.

Guest dismissed Thomas Weston (44 off 37 balls) with the score 217 and Bradley Gayler (28 off 10 balls) 34 runs later, but Mole steered Cuckfield home with five balls to spare, finishing 113 not out off 151 balls.

Cuckfield’s successful chase showed how important a solid start is, not only wearing the bowlers out, but putting the opposition on the back foot.

Bexhill could perhaps have scored a few more runs and created a bit more pressure in the field, but the best team on the day probably won in the end.

“It was probably our worst fielding performance of the season, which didn’t help the cause,” added Haffenden.

“We dropped Mole on 20-odd and the other opener about the same. We could’ve run the other lad out as well and they went on to punish us. If you’re creating seven chances and don’t take one, you probably don’t deserve anything out of the game.

“It’s happened a few times this year where we’ve had to create 20 chances to take 10. It was a glorious wicket to bat on and we said at the start of the day we don’t want to be wasting any chances, and we did. We’ve only got ourselves to blame for the loss; it was a tough one to be fair.”

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