It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for Bexhill Cricket Club.
Johnathan Haffenden’s side lost by 177 runs at home to Preston Nomads in the Sussex Premier League on Saturday, but bounced back on Sunday with a seven-wicket win away to Eastbourne in the Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup.
Nomads amassed 268-9 after Bexhill won the toss and chose to field. Three of the visiting top five made half-centuries, with Daniel Phillips hitting 83, Carl Simon 61 and Robert Wakeford 53 not out.
Undisciplined bowling and some lacklustre fielding allowed new league leaders Nomads off to a flyer, and it was only when Joe Cox came on that Bexhill gained some control.
Nomads had already made their way to 180 by the time Cox bowled Phillips to end a second wicket partnership of 104 with Simon. Phillips had earlier put on 74 for the first wicket with Oliver Gatting (40).
Bexhill picked up their final eight wickets for 88 runs, although Nomads still posted an imposing target and were able to declare after 54.3 overs. Cox ended with 2-30, Dean Crawford 2-59, Shawn Johnson 3-79 and Jamie Wicks 1-66.
The home side was skittled for 91 in reply after just 27.5 overs. Antiguan fast bowler Simon, who loves playing at The Polegrove, took 6-33 as the batsmen looked rather like rabbits in the headlights.
Bexhill had lost both openers by the time 10 had been scored and the writing was on the wall at 26-4 after Malcolm Johnson was contentiously given out caught behind for 12.
Haffenden was the only batsman apart from Malcolm Johnson to show any real ability to occupy the crease and Bexhill’s race was just about run when he was ninth man out for 38 off 54 balls with nine fours.
With Callum Guest and Josh Beeslee back the following day, however, Bexhill looked a different side with proper balance and they chalked up an easy victory against an Eastbourne team containing several youngsters.
The only negative was the 14 wides Bexhill bowled as Eastbourne totalled 126-8 from their 20 overs batting first. The outcome was never much in doubt as Malcolm Johnson, Guest (50 in 42 balls) and Haffenden guided Bexhill home with an over to spare.
Bexhill’s reward is a quarter-final tie away to Preston Nomads on Sunday July 5. In the other last eight matches, Horsham or Roffey will host East Grinstead, Goring will entertain Burgess Hill and Middleton are at home to Ifield.
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