Bexhill crush local rivals Hastings

Shawn Johnson (centre) raises his bat to acknowledge his hundred for Bexhill against Hastings Priory. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-140709-112013002)
Shawn Johnson (centre) raises his bat to acknowledge his hundred for Bexhill against Hastings Priory. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-140709-112013002)

Bexhill’s cricketers hammered local rivals Hastings Priory on the final day of the season yesterday (Saturday).

Shawn Johnson scored a century with the bat and Josh Beeslee took five wickets with the ball as Bexhill triumphed by 184 runs in a one-sided Sussex Premier League derby at Horntye Park.

Although Hastings were already relegated and Bexhill were safe from the drop, there was still plenty of local pride at stake with Bexhill seeking to complete the double over their neighbours and Hastings eager to avenge a heavy defeat in the reverse fixture.

Bexhill chose to bat on winning the toss and proceeded to pile on the runs. Although Tim Hambridge was caught behind by Leo Cammish off Finn Hulbert for six, the Johnson brothers continued their fine form with another big partnership.

Malcolm Johnson compiled his fourth half-century of the season with 63 off 71 balls (including 10 fours and a six) and took his run tally for the summer to 474 before being stumped by Cammish off Dan Doram.

Sussex professional Ashar Zaidi hit a breezy 22 off just 14 balls until being trapped LBW by Jed O’Brien, who then had number five Cameron Burgon caught by Joe Lamb for 14.

Opening batsman Shawn Johnson was still going strong, though, and Max Finzel - back from Cornwall - provided good support as Bexhill reached the 200 mark in just the 39th over.

Shawn Johnson went on to complete his first league hundred of the season - in addition to three league fifties and two half-centuries in the cups - before slicing O’Brien to Hulbert at point for a brilliant 116 off 133 balls with 17 fours. It was his highest Bexhill first XI score in the Sussex League and took him past 500 runs for the season with 531.

Finzel (50 not out off 53 balls with five fours and two sixes) and Callum Guest (21 not out) continued to pile on the agony for Priory, and Bexhill declared on a massive 305-5 after 55 overs once Finzel had brought up his fifty. O’Brien bowled well to take 3-78 off 16.

To make matters worse for Priory, Sussex star Harry Finch was struck in the face by a ball thrown in from beyond the boundary while fielding and a subsequent trip to hospital meant he was unable to bat.

Cammish stepped up to open the batting and was soon bowled by Shawn Johnson for one - his ninth successive single figure score in the league. Adam Maharaj-Newman soon followed, caught behind by Jack Richardson off Dean Crawford for four.

Joe Lamb made 24, Jake Woolley 30 and Elliot Hooper 21 as Priory staged a partial recovery before Josh Beeslee tore the heart out of their batting with remarkable figures of 5-8 off six overs - his best return for the first team in the Sussex League.

Beeslee’s victims included Woolley, Hooper and Finn Hulbert (21), while Zaidi came on at the end to claim the final wicket as Priory were all out for 121 in 35.3 overs. Guest was the other wicket-taker.

Final standings (all played 19 matches): 1 Roffey 401pts, 2 Preston Nomads 348, 3 Horsham 346, 4 East Grinstead 330, 5 Brighton & Hove 322, 6 Eastbourne 319, 7 BEXHILL 275, 8 Cuckfield 273, 9 Three Bridges 238, 10 HASTINGS PRIORY 192.