Bexhill ace scoops top award

Bexhill Cricket Club talent Shawn Johnson has won the Sussex League's young player of the year award (SUS-140719-175229002)
Bexhill Cricket Club talent Shawn Johnson has won the Sussex League's young player of the year award (SUS-140719-175229002)

One of Bexhill Cricket Club’s leading lights has won a prestigious county award.

Shawn Johnson was named the Sussex Cricket League’s young player of the year following a series of excellent performances during the summer.

He said: “It was great. I didn’t really expect it. I thought I could’ve done better at some periods, particularly at the beginning, but as the season went on, I got into it a bit more. It’s good to help the team in whatever way I can.”

The award was due to be presented during the league’s annual dinner last Friday night, but Johnson was unable to attend because of work and is therefore still waiting to receive his prize.

The 19-year-old was a key part of the Bexhill side which preserved its Premier League status on the back of a seventh place finish, often opening the batting and bowling, as well as being an excellent fielder.

Seemingly getting better and better as the campaign wore on, Johnson scored 531 runs in 19 league innings with three fifties and a final day hundred in the comprehensive win away to Hastings Priory, which he described as his batting highlight.

He also made a couple of half-centuries in the cups for a Bexhill side which reached the semi-finals of the Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup and last 64 of the ECB Royal London Club Championship.

With the ball, right-arm seamer Johnson picked up 15 league wickets, including a five-for against Cuckfield, as well as taking 5-13 in the T20 Cup thrashing of Eastbourne.

“I think I’ve improved with my maturity and concentration,” continued the former Bexhill College student. “I used to lack concentration and get myself out stupidly.”

Johnson has played for Sussex seconds in the past and hasn’t given up hope of a career in county cricket, but says if it doesn’t happen, he’s very happy playing for Bexhill - where he played all his youth cricket before graduating into the adult sides.

“For me it feels like a proper club,” he added. “There’s not a lot of money going around and a lot of the players have grown up together so it makes for a nice atmosphere.

“It’s probably been my most enjoyable season staying in the Premier League. I thought we could definitely be a mid-table team and I think we’re capable of pushing on into the top half.”

Johnson is currently working full time alongside older brother Malcolm packing books in an Eastbourne warehouse and is hoping to save up the money to spend next winter playing in Australia.

Bexhill Cricket Club first team coach Ian Cox said: “It’s great news; he’s done brilliantly. I’m delighted for him; he’s thoroughly deserved it. There’s no-one to touch him in my view based on his second half of the season performance.

“He’s always had lots of natural ability, but he’s now becoming a thinking cricketer and he’s got the potential to do great things for the club. He’s going to be the top all-rounder in the league in my view as long as he keeps progressing.

“He’s learnt from his mistakes. He was getting himself out rather than being got out, but getting him back up to opening gave him more responsibility, he took that on and batted fantastically.

“Patience was the key for Shawn; he didn’t try and score all his runs in the first 20 overs. He’s not got 30s and 40s and got out; he’s generally kicked on to 60s, 70s, 80s and then his hundred at the end. That’s massive from my point of view.

“He’s still maturing physically and his bowling’s coming on. Although he didn’t take lots of wickets, he’s thinking about his bowling.”