Bexhill take on leaders in upbeat mood

Bexhill Cricket Club's first team has won its last two Sussex Cricket League Division Two matches.
Bexhill Cricket Club's first team has won its last two Sussex Cricket League Division Two matches.

Bexhill Cricket Club’s first team is targeting a third successive victory as it prepares to face table-topping opposition.

The Polegrove-based outfit will travel to new Sussex Cricket League Division Two pacesetters Haywards Heath tomorrow (Saturday) buoyed by successive wins against St James’s Montefiore and Lindfield.

Bexhill coach Hamish Russell said: “Haywards Heath are top and we think that’s really winnable for us. It’s going to be a tough game up there, but it’s a winnable game.

“They must be playing some really good cricket to be top of the league, but we’ve got a bit of confidence going through us now, we’re bowling better, and we showed on Saturday that we can score runs and we’ve got good batters in our side.”

A fortnight ago Bexhill were bottom of the table and a long way from safety, but last weekend’s win at Lindfield moved them above their opponents and within 18 points of a St James side which occupies the final safe spot of third-from-bottom. You can read a report on that game here.

“It changes everything,” continued Russell. “It gives everyone a bit of a lift, people just feel a little bit more relaxed and I think that’s gone through the club as well.”

Russell said the victory over Lindfield, in which Bexhill chased down a target of 250, was even more satisfying than the result against St James, which was achieved by a superb bowling performance.

“I think Lindfield would’ve thought they were absolute favourites,” he went on. “They had 250 on the board and we were bottom of the league. But we made it happen for ourselves.

“It was a sporting declaration from Lindfield and we got the runs five overs early. Our run rate was good, we played shots around the wicket and put the bad balls away, but we also scored a lot of singles which I was really pleased with.

“We had three partnerships over 50, which was part of our team plan, and everybody just ground it out.

“People went out there to bat thinking ‘this is a good wicket, fast outfield and it’s pretty tough to defend’. There was a quiet confidence at tea that we would get the runs. It didn’t really occur to anyone that we wouldn’t.

“It was a really good win. We’ve still got bits to learn, but it was our best batting performance of the summer without a shadow of a doubt.”

Russell was well pleased for overseas player Danul Dassanayake, who showed what he is capable of with a game-defining innings of 91.

“He’s never travelled overseas before like this,” he added. “He’s in a strange place with strange wickets, and it’s taken him a while to find his feet. But he’s a really, really good cricketer and I think this could be the start of him going now.”

Ryan Darvill and Neil Blatchly are expected to return to the side for tomorrow’s match.

Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (all played seven matches): 1 Haywards Heath 150pts, 2 Three Bridges 149, 3 Billingshurst 148, 4 Mayfield 135, 5 Ansty 106, 6 Bognor Regis 106, 7 Chichester Priory Park 104, 8 St James’s Montefiore 101, 9 BEXHILL 83, 10 Lindfield 79.

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