A club record performance from Joe Cox inspired Bexhill’s cricketers to their first league victory of the season.
The long-haired young seamer returned outstanding bowling figures of 8-35 - a new Bexhill first XI league record - as Bexhill won by five wickets at home to Three Bridges yesterday (Saturday).
Cox remarkably claimed six wickets for just one run in a three-over second spell to set up a much-needed win which took Bexhill off the bottom of the Sussex Premier League table.
Bexhill had subsided to a well below par total after a splendid opening partnership with the bat in their defeat at Roffey the previous weekend and a similar thing happened to their opponents this time around on a sunny afternoon at The Polegrove.
Bridges openers Ben Speake and Conor Golding put on 101 for the first wicket until Cox had the latter caught behind for 26. He then had number three Richard Webber caught by captain Malcolm Johnson 20 runs later.
Speake was third man out to Dean Crawford for a fine 83 containing 12 boundaries with the score 143, but it was only after the fourth wicket fell 14 runs later that the collapse really took hold with Bridges losing their last seven wickets for four runs.
The rampant Cox trapped James Chadburn - the other Bridges batsman besides the openers to reach double figures - LBW for 18 and then had Joseph Ludlow caught behind for a golden duck with the score 157.
Only a single had been added to the total when Cox (10-2-35-8) had Bradley Gayler caught behind and then saw off Bridges captain Danny Alderman for a second ball duck.
Oliver Blandford and Jigar Parekh also succumbed to Cox for second ball ducks with the score 160, the former giving Richardson his fourth catch of the innings. Liam Bryant finished the innings off one run later as the final four Bridges batsmen failed to score.
After all the excitement of Cox’s feat, Bexhill got off to a dreadful start in reply. Johnson departed with the score five, and Crawford and Tim Hambridge followed 10 runs later. And when Shawn Johnson was trapped LBW, Bexhill were in real trouble at 24-4.
But Johnathan Haffenden and Cameron Burgon turned the game back in the hosts’ favour with a tremendous fifth wicket partnership of 125 which finally ended when Haffenden became Alderman’s fourth victim for a brilliant 92 off 129 balls containing 15 fours and one six.
Burgon was still there at the end on 30 not out from 102 deliveries and a quick 12 not out from 10 balls by Richardson helped Bexhill get over the line in the 50th over.
Standings (played-points): 1 Roffey 7-158, 2 East Grinstead 8-140, 3 Preston Nomads 7-134, 4 Horsham 7-133, 5 Brighton & Hove 8-117, 6 Cuckfield 8-116, 7 Eastbourne 7-94, 8 Three Bridges 8-93, 9 BEXHILL 7-73, 10 HASTINGS PRIORY 7-66.