Bexhill have something to build on

Malcolm Johnson on the drive for Bexhill against Preston Nomads last weekend. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder
Malcolm Johnson on the drive for Bexhill against Preston Nomads last weekend. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder
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Johnathan Haffenden believes Bexhill Cricket Club has something to build on heading into a second successive home fixture.

Bexhill suffered their fourth Sussex Premier League defeat out of four as they hosted Preston Nomads last weekend, but their performance was far more encouraging.

Nick Peters bowling for Bexhill against Nomads. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Nick Peters bowling for Bexhill against Nomads. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

“At the end of the day we lost another game of cricket, but we had some big positives out of it and it’s definitely something to build on,” said Bexhill captain Haffenden, whose second-from-bottom team lies 35 points adrift of third-bottom neighbours Hastings Priory.

“It was a massive improvement. There were a good few positives as well from Saturday which we should all be pleased about.

“We bowled a side out for the first time and scored 200, we had a good partnership up top between Jake (Lewis) and Mal (Johnson), and some other little partnerships.

“It was good to play some half-decent cricket. I still think we’ve got 15-20 percent per man to come yet, but it was a step in the right direction after the week before where we just folded against Brighton.”

Jake Lewis tries to clip one off his legs at The Polegrove last weekend. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Jake Lewis tries to clip one off his legs at The Polegrove last weekend. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

A below strength Bexhill bowling attack did well to pick up all 10 Nomads wickets, with teenage prospect Ethan Guest claiming four of them.

“It was a good wicket to bat on and they batted well,” continued Haffenden. “But fair play to our boys. We only had four main bowlers and (Tim) Hambridge bowled 10 overs of off-spin. You need people to be chipping in and doing jobs they’re not overly confident doing.

“Ethan bowled superbly. He kept it simple, stuck to his guns and got his rewards. It was the best I’ve seen him bowl.”

Bexhill were then 88-0 and 129-1 in pursuit of a victory target of 271 before being bowled out for 210.

Ethan Guest, who picked up four wickets, bowling against Preston Nomads. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Ethan Guest, who picked up four wickets, bowling against Preston Nomads. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

“We got off to a very good start and if we had a little bit more confidence, we would’ve cruised that,” Haffenden went on. “We got ourselves into a very good position, but we were a little bit tentative at some points. If we’d possibly had another couple of innings where we’d scored well, we would’ve won that game.”

Having faced defending champions Roffey and multiple title winners Nomads in their two home games so far, Bexhill will take on second-placed East Grinstead at The Polegrove today (Saturday). Play will start at 12noon.

“The two home games we’ve had have been against two outstanding sides and this Saturday is not going to get any easier,” Haffenden added.

“But we do play quite well at home, and as long as we’re learning from our mistakes and put on a good performance, we’ll always be in the game.”

Tim Hambridge flicks one into the leg-side last weekend. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

Tim Hambridge flicks one into the leg-side last weekend. Picture courtesy Andy Hodder

The anticipated return of Bradley Payne and Josh Beeslee will bolster Bexhill’s bowling attack.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played 4 matches): 1 Roffey 98pts, 2 East Grinstead 96, 3 Horsham 96, 4 Middleton 82, 5 Brighton & Hove 80, 6 Cuckfield 78, 7 Preston Nomads 78, 8 HASTINGS PRIORY 66, BEXHILL 31, 10 Ansty 26.