Bexhill celebrate first away win

Shawn Johnson continued his fine form with an unbeaten 74 in Bexhill's seven-wicket win away to Brighton & Hove
Shawn Johnson continued his fine form with an unbeaten 74 in Bexhill's seven-wicket win away to Brighton & Hove

Bexhill’s cricketers moved within sight of safety courtesy of their first away win of the season.

A seven-wicket victory away to Brighton & Hove yesterday (Saturday) has lifted Bexhill up to sixth in the Sussex Premier League and given them a 48-point cushion above the two relegation places with four games to go.

Brighton totalled 176-9 after winning the toss and choosing to bat. The openers got within a single of a 50 partnership when Ashar Zaidi had Lucas Barker caught by Cameron Burgon for a patient 15 off 52 balls.

Callum Guest picked up the big wicket of Sussex batsman Luke Wells, caught and bowled for 46 with the score 77, and then bowled number four Philip Salt for a golden duck.

Lachlan Sperling and Alasdair Wilson put on 47 for the fourth wicket until Zaidi had the latter stumped by Jack Richardson for 17 off 51 balls, and Brighton struggled to build partnerships thereafter in the face of some good Bexhill bowling.

Jordan Rollings was bowled by Zaidi for a duck two runs later to leave Brighton 126-5. Sperling’s good innings of 51 off 80 balls was ended when he was caught by Malcolm Johnson off Guest with the score 144 and Sam Grant fell for 13 before another run had been added, again caught by Johnson, this time off Zaidi.

Brighton were 159-8 after Jack Chopping was caught by Shawn Johnson off Guest and Zaidi claimed his fifth wicket by trapping Waheed Safi LBW six runs later. Zaidi finished with 5-56 off 23 overs - making it 11 wickets in two games - and Guest claimed 4-62 off 19.

Although Bexhill lost Burgon for two with the score 16 in reply, the in-form Johnson brothers forged another substantial partnership to put them over halfway to their victory target.

Having put on 147 together in the previous weekend’s victory over Eastbourne, this time they shared an important second wicket stand of 76 until Malcolm Johnson - continuing his good form since relinquishing the captaincy - was run out by Salt for 46.

Shawn Johnson and Zaidi maintained the momentum with a third wicket partnership of 81 which took Bexhill within a boundary of victory by the time Zaidi was bowled by Sperling for 46 off 41 balls with five fours and two sixes. That was the first time Sussex all-rounder Zaidi’s been dismissed in three Bexhill appearances (scoring 163 runs in the process).

Shawn Johnson completed the formalities by finishing on 74 not out with eight fours and three sixes. It was his third half-century in the last four league games, during which time he’s scored 253 runs.

Standings (played 15 matches unless stated): 1 Preston Nomads 311pts, 2 Roffey (14) 291, 3 East Grinstead 281, 4 Horsham 246, 5 Eastbourne (14) 239, 6 BEXHILL 214, 7 Brighton & Hove 212, 8 Cuckfield 212, 9 Three Bridges 166, 10 HASTINGS PRIORY 126.