A splendid innings from Cameron Burgon couldn’t prevent Bexhill Cricket Club’s first team’s two-match winning run coming to an end.
The talented youngster hit 94 not out - his best score for the first team and the highest by anyone for the first team this season - in a six-wicket defeat away to Sussex League Division Two leaders Haywards Heath on Saturday.
Bexhill coach Hamish Russell said: “He looks the best bat I’ve seen in that division so far. He doesn’t ever look like he’s going to get out. He bats like he’s got freedom and no pressure on him.
“I think he’s a lot more comfortable in his own skin. Cam’s had a bit of time away from the game, probably learnt a bit more about himself and he’s come back probably unsure whether he was going to enjoy it, but I think he probably has enjoyed it more than he thought he would.”
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Bexhill achieved maximum batting points batting first for the first time this summer as they were all out for 210 in 47 overs.
They suffered an early blow when Neil Blatchly fell to Max Barson (15-2-56-3) for a duck in the first over.
Fellow opener Johnathan Haffenden was then caught off David Everett (5-0-28-1) for 12 to make it 22-2.
But Burgon came in at number four and helped get the innings on track, initially with assistance from Danul Dassanayake, who followed up his match-winning 91 against Lindfield the previous weekend with an impressive 33 until being contentiously given out caught behind with the score 70.
Only two of Bexhill’s final seven batsmen made double figures and they fell to 89-5, but Shawn Johnson looked good until chopping on for 18 to make it 119-6.
Another wicket fell nine runs later before successive stands of 24, the second of them involving Ryan Darvill (10), took Bexhill to 176-9.
A last wicket partnership of 34, with Byron Smith hanging around in support of Burgon, at least gave Bexhill something to bowl at, even if they would’ve liked 40 or 50 more runs.
Heath’s other wicket-takers were Ollie Bailey (13-3-40-3), Jonny Phelps (9-0-39-1), Chris Blunt (4-0-19-1) and Tim Upchurch (1-0-7-1).
Heath got off to a decent start in reply, with Phelps (38) and Alastair Templeton (63) forging an opening stand of 63 as Bexhill’s new ball pair both went for more than a run-a-ball.
Bexhill fought back by dismissing number three Barson for 11 and number four Tashaffi Shams for five to make it 100-3, but number five Bailey (58 not out with three sixes) added 53 for the fourth wicket with Templeton and then shared an unbroken fifth wicket partnership of 61 with Blunt (28 not out) which steered Heath past the winning post in 43 overs.
Spin duo Nick Peters and Blatchly picked up two wickets each for Bexhill, and Blatchly conceded just 34 runs from his 15 overs - a fine performance in a relatively high scoring game.
“We should’ve scored more runs than we did and we just didn’t bowl well enough,” Russell added. “We just bowled too short and too wide, and gave them far too many four balls to hit.
“That’s a bit unfair on the spinners though. Blatch (Neil Blatchly) was superb and tied them down, and Nick’s (Peters) figures didn’t do him justice.”
Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (all played 8 matches): 1 Haywards Heath 180pts, 2 Three Bridges 179, 3 Mayfield 165, 4 Billingshurst 160, 5 Chichester Priory Park 134, 6 Bognor Regis 118, 7 St James’s Montefiore 110, 8 Ansty 106, 9 BEXHILL 95, 10 Lindfield 92.
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