Bexhill Cricket Club’s first team produced a tremendous bowling performance to record its first win of the season.
The Polegrove-based side dismissed St James’s Montefiore for just 74 to secure an improbable Sussex Cricket League Division Two victory having earlier been bowled out for 108.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Bexhill fell short of the batting points as they were bundled out in 39.5 overs.
All of the top three were back in the pavilion by the time 29 had been scored, all of them bowled. Matt Peters then featured in two mini-partnerships which made the situation look a little brighter, firstly with Johnathan Haffenden (15) and then Liam Bryant, before Peters was finally undone for a determined 19 off 71 balls.
That made the score 77-5, which fairly soon became 98-9. Bexhill did at least make it into three figures before Bryant was last man out for 34 off 52 balls - a score which turned out to be almost twice as many as anybody else managed on either side.
Sam Rattle was the most successful St James’s bowler with 4-34, Jordan Shaw took 2-29 and the other three bowlers each claimed one wicket, including Michael Murray, whose 10 overs went for just nine runs.
Although a fifth defeat in as many completed league matches looked highly likely at that stage, Bexhill proceeded to bowl St James out in 26.2 with only two batsmen reaching double figures.
The visitors started well enough with small partnerships of 19 for the first two wickets, but things started to go wrong for St James when they lost two batsmen with the score 50, including their highest scorer Tom Prideaux De Lacy (18).
Hector Loughton departed for 12 just 14 runs later, but St James would still have fancied their chances with the score at 71-5.
Then came a dramatic collapse, however, as five wickets fell for just three runs, leaving Bexhill to celebrate a win which for much of the game had seemed unlikely.
The last eight wickets fell to spin, with Nick Peters taking 5-21 from 7.2 overs and Neil Blatchly 3-11 from eight. New ball pair Shawn Johnson (6-1-20-1) and Byron Smith (5-1-13-1) earlier claimed the first two wickets.
The only slight disappointment for Bexhill was that they picked up just 20 points (from a possible 30), but far more important was that they got a win on the board.
Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (all played six matches): 1 Billingshurst 138pts, 2 Mayfield 123, 3 Three Bridges 121, 4 Haywards Heath 120, 5 Bognor Regis 98, 6 Ansty 96, 7 St James’s Montefiore 92, 8 Chichester Priory Park 91, 9 Lindfield 66, 10 BEXHILL 59.
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