Bexhill hope victory can kick-start season

Bexhill celebrate a wicket during last weekend's victory away to Ansty. Picture courtesy Peter Cripps
Bexhill celebrate a wicket during last weekend's victory away to Ansty. Picture courtesy Peter Cripps

Bexhill Cricket Club is hoping last weekend’s nerve-jangling victory can kick-start its Sussex Premier League season.

Bexhill scraped home by one wicket in a battle of the bottom two away to Ansty, ending a run of five consecutive defeats and moving Bexhill closer to the teams above them.

A Bexhill fielder slides to stop the ball against Ansty. Picture courtesy Peter Cripps.

A Bexhill fielder slides to stop the ball against Ansty. Picture courtesy Peter Cripps.

“We’re playing some good cricket at the moment and it’s just a confidence thing,” said Bexhill captain Johnathan Haffenden. “The confidence will change and I’m hoping that we’ll just push on from here.

“Apart from two players (the departed Sam Roberts and Callum Guest), we’re still the same side that’s finished third and fourth the last two years - and we still think Jake (Lewis, this year’s overseas player) is a very good player and I know that he’s going to score runs.”

With a third of the season gone, second-bottom Bexhill are 22 points above Ansty and 27 adrift of neighbours Hastings Priory, who occupy the final safe spot of third-bottom.

Haffenden said he was relieved to scrape over the line against Ansty having seemed the more likely winners throughout a run chase in which Bexhill were at one stage 126-2 in pursuit of 202. In the end they needed a six from last man Nick Peters to seal victory.

Bexhill's close fielders look on as an Ansty batsman goes on the attack. Picture courtesy Peter Cripps

Bexhill's close fielders look on as an Ansty batsman goes on the attack. Picture courtesy Peter Cripps

“It was good to get the first win, but we thought we would make it difficult for ourselves,” he continued. “There was nine very nervous blokes on the edge of the pitch, but we bat all the way down and they probably under-estimated how well he (Peters) can bat. They brought mid-on and mid-off up and as soon as it was up, it was always going to go.”

Haffenden reserved particular praise for the batting of Malcolm Johnson and Ethan Guest, who were key to the chase with 91 and 38 not respectively.

“We had two good performances from Malcolm and Ethan which made sure we won the game,” Haffenden went on. “Mal smoked it; it was the best he’s batted probably for a long time. Anything that was loose, he just put away.

“I’m pleased for Ethan because he works hard and he’s a good player. He’s finding his feet quite well this year. He’s bowling well, batting well, and it’s good that he’s finally come of age a little bit.

“He played proper cricket and it was just what we needed. He needs as much praise as Malcolm does. Without him we probably would’ve failed.”

Josh Beeslee earlier starred with the ball by picking up six wickets as Bexhill bowled Ansty out for 201.

“We were happy (to dismiss the opposition for what they did),” Haffenden added. “Our first goal was to get 10 points and secondly to make sure we weren’t chasing too much. It was what we set out to do and Bees bowled fantastically well.”

Bexhill will go in search of their first home league win of the season when they entertain fourth-placed Horsham today (Saturday). Play is due to get underway from 12noon.

“Horsham’s line-up can be phenomenal can’t it,” said Haffenden. “It’s not going to be easy at all, but with confidence back in the side, we’ll look to put in a good performance again.”

Bexhill are likely to field a similar side to last weekend. Bradley Payne is doubtful having pulled his groin in the middle of last week.