Bexhill began the Sussex Cricket League Division Two season with a frustrating draw away to Middleton.
The men from The Polegrove were playing two levels above their opponents last summer and had the better of Saturday’s game without being able to finish Middleton off.
After losing the toss, Bexhill were invited to bat. Malcolm Johnson scored 47 off 56 balls at the top of the order and Angus Cox, making his Sussex League debut, made a confident 27 before missing a straight one.
Johnathan Haffenden then played the innings of the day featuring some splendid boundaries in his 65. Cameron Burgon (19) and Tim Hambridge (35) both shared good stands with Haffenden as Bexhill declared at 248-8 with two balls left after a good, solid batting display.
After tea, the Bexhill opening bowlers soon had Middleton in trouble at 34-3. Middleton showed no inclination to chase the total thereafter, however, with number three Rob Willway hitting 73 not out in 43 overs.
Despite at one stage having Middleton 106-5, Bexhill could not force the victory as the home team finished on 189-6. Josh Beeslee (2-29 in 12 overs) and Joe Cox (2-35 in 11 overs) were the pick of the bowlers.
Elsewhere, Crowhurst Park’s debut in Division Two ended with a 42-run defeat away to St James’s Montefiore. The hosts scored 224-7 after choosing to bat thanks largely to Sam Chettleburgh’s 111.
Paul Brookes picked up 3-40 as Park rallied in the latter part of the innings after St James’s at one stage reached 174-2. Bradley Payne, Clive Tong, Richard Coleman and Paul Lindfield claimed a wicket each.
Several Park batsmen got starts in reply, but none were able to compile the big score needed to chase down the target. Lindfield top-scored with 39, while Dale Payne (26), Kellen Powell (22), Bradley Payne (20) and Brookes (24 not out) all got into the 20s. George Taylor took a match-winning 7-29 for St James’s.
See Friday’s Observers for full reports on both matches. Hastings Priory’s game at home to East Grinstead in the Premier League, meanwhile, was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled.