Bexhill Cricket Club coach Hamish Russell praised a ‘hugely improved performance’ in its opening league game of the season.
The Polegrove-based outfit was beaten by 71 runs away to Mayfield in Sussex Cricket League Division Two on Saturday having lost at home to the same opponents in a Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup tie the previous weekend.
Russell said: “I was quite pleased with it. It was a hugely improved performance. I thought the attitude was better, people were really engaged with the game.”
After Bexhill won the toss and chose to field at a ground which was very soft all over, Mayfield totalled 227-9 from their 45 overs.
Ex-Hastings Priory player Jason Finch top-scored with 66 from 71 balls at the top of the order and helped Mayfield reach 132-1 at one stage before Bexhill did well to peg them back to 149-5.
Number seven William Sheffield made 35 from 37 deliveries with some good clean hitting as Mayfield got away from Bexhill at the back end of the innings.
Nick Peters was Bexhill’s most successful bowler with 3-26 from nine overs, Neil Blatchly picked up 2-21 off five, and there was a wicket each for Johnathan Haffenden and Matt Peters.
“We bowled too many extras (47 including 42 wides) and a lot of those came early on,” continued Russell. “We didn’t bowl well enough with the new ball, but as a rule I thought we bowled and fielded very, very well.
“Nick Peters, in his first game back from Australia, bowled with fantastic control and could’ve had four or five.”
Bexhill had to rejig their batting order and were down to 10 men because James Walker had been taken to hospital by ambulance after being struck near the ankle by a powerful shot from Finch while fielding.
The top order was blown away by Sheffield (7-0-25-5) and Matt Cooke (6-1-18-2) - a new ball pairing which Russell described as good as any Bexhill will encounter in the division. Bexhill slumped to 19-4 and 42-7 with none of the top six batsmen reaching double figures.
But they at least restored some pride thanks to a valiant eighth wicket partnership of 97 between Cameron Burgon (40) and Matt Peters, who hit an unbeaten 52 on his league debut for Bexhill.
“Cam made things look ridiculously easy,” added Russell. “He had more time than anybody else and more style. Matt played really, really well. He’s got three or four shots that work for him and a really good gameplan.
“If we had a couple more 30-run partnerships it would’ve been close because we were up with the run rate. We just didn’t have the wickets in hand.”
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