Bexhill’s cricketers agonisingly missed out on a place in the Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup final.
Sussex Premier League outfit Bexhill went down by eight runs in their semi-final away to Division Three leaders Ansty on Sunday afternoon.
Although Bexhill play their cricket two divisions higher than Ansty, the mid-Sussex side gave notice of their threat by stunning Premier League leaders Preston Nomads in the quarter-finals.
After winning the toss and inserting their opponents, Bexhill got off to a good start by reducing Ansty to 24-3. Dean Crawford had Henry Smethurst caught behind for a duck with the score one, Shawn Johnson dismissed the other opener Leo Anderson in identical fashion eight runs later and Crawford then had Samuel Adams caught by Josh Beeslee.
But a fourth wicket partnership of 103 gave Ansty a huge confidence boost. Johnson eventually bowled Jonathan Young for 45, but Ansty captain Luke Forster went on to make 75 before being caught by Malcolm Johnson off Crawford with the score 150. Ansty ended their innings on 163-5.
Crawford and Shawn Johnson finished with 3-23 and 2-28 respectively from their four overs, but the game could be said to have been lost on the 14 wides that Bexhill bowled because the extra balls allowed plenty of runs to be scored.
Buoyed by his exploits with the ball, long-haired Australian overseas player Crawford then opened the batting and blasted 47 from just 28 balls with eight fours and six.
At 107-3 and wanting only 57 runs from 54 balls, Bexhill looked to be in the driving seat, but they again lost their way and finished nine runs short of victory on 155-9.
Shawn Johnson (16), Tom Powell (14), Malcolm Johnson (11), Burgon (18) and Beeslee (12 not out) all got into double figures, but none were able to produce a match-winning innings.
Young took 4-35, Adams 3-20 and William Wright 2-15 to make it a second successive day of disappointment for the 35-plus Bexhill fans who had made the journey.
Ansty will face East Grinstead in the final after Grinstead beat Bognor Regis by 31 runs in another Premier League versus Division Three semi-final.