Bexhill pull off thrilling win

Five-wicket hero Callum Guest bowling for Bexhill against the Sussex Development XI. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-140607-210452002)
Five-wicket hero Callum Guest bowling for Bexhill against the Sussex Development XI. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-140607-210452002)

Bexhill’s cricketers took eight wickets for four runs to complete a thrilling win at home to the Sussex Development XI.

The Development XI looked to be cruising to victory until suffering an amazing collapse from 99-2 to 103 all out in reply to Bexhill’s 126 yesterday (Sunday).

The remarkable turnaround completed a brilliant weekend for Bexhill, who also won a crucial local derby at home to Hastings Priory on Saturday and are now up to seventh in the Sussex Premier League table.

Following overnight and morning rain, the Development XI elected to field on winning the toss. Bexhill were soon in trouble at 7-3 with the victims including Tim Hambridge, who made a match-winning 75 not out against Hastings the previous day.

Johnathan Haffenden and Shawn Johnson added 45 for the fourth wicket until Haffenden fell for 32 off just 23 balls. Johnson departed six runs later for 17 to leave Bexhill 58-5.

Bexhill captain Malcolm Johnson, who usually opens the batting, dropped himself down to number seven where he made a battling 11 off 47 balls. Cameron Burgon also dug in for 16 from 68 deliveries prior to being seventh man out with the score 104.

Jack Richardson chipped in with 17 before Bexhill’s last three wickets went down for 11 runs as they were all out in the 45th over. George Garton was the pick of the Development XI bowlers with 5-36 from 11.4 overs.

The Development XI patiently went about their business in reply, reaching 45 before Callum Guest made the breakthrough by having Beck Hemingway caught at slip by Haffenden for 19.

Although Joe Cox trapped Thomas Haines LBW for 23 attempting to pull nine runs later, Leo Cammish came in at number four and upped the tempo with some positive batting as the Development XI closed in on their target.

Ben Shoare (15) was run out by Malcolm Johnson at midwicket following a mix-up between the batsmen, but even when Garton was given out LBW to Josh Beeslee at 101-4, the Development XI still seemed very much on course.

Five wickets then went down with the score 102, however, as the match suddenly swung Bexhill’s way. Elliot Hooper was bowled by Guest trying to cut and two balls later Nick Oxley edged one to Haffenden at slip.

Key man Cammish was well-caught by wicketkeeper Richardson off Beeslee in the following over for 35 off 34 balls and Bexhill were now in with a real chance. When Guest struck twice more in his next over to leave the Development XI nine down, Bexhill were nearly home.

Beeslee sealed victory by having last man Harry McLeod caught behind square on the leg side by Cox with the penultimate ball of the 38th over. The umpire initially turned down Bexhill’s appeals, but the batsman sportingly walked off.

Guest finished with 5-25 from 12 overs and fellow slow bowler Beeslee picked up 3-13 off 5.5 as Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup semi-finalists Bexhill celebrated their third win in their last four league games.

Sussex Premier League standings (played-points): 1 East Grinstead 10-184, 2 Roffey 9-182, 3 Preston Nomads 10-161, 4 Horsham 9-155, 5 Brighton & Hove 10-154, 6 Eastbourne 9-154, 7 BEXHILL 10-135, 8 Cuckfield 10-135, 9 Three Bridges 10-113, 10 HASTINGS PRIORY 9-80.