Bexhill triumph in tight tussle

Neil Blatchly took five wickets during Bexhill Cricket Club's narrow victory at home to Bognor Regis.
Neil Blatchly took five wickets during Bexhill Cricket Club's narrow victory at home to Bognor Regis.

Bexhill Cricket Club’s first team recovered from an awful start to record its third win in four matches.

The Polegrove-based outfit triumphed by 17 runs in a tight game at home to Bognor Regis on Saturday and is now just three points from escaping the Sussex League Division Two relegation places.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat in glorious sunshine, Bexhill rallied from 8-3 to 189 all out 48.4 overs.

Following the early loss of Neil Blatchly, Johnathan Haffenden and Danul Dassanayke, Bexhill’s next six batsmen all reached double figures, with Shawn Johnson making a precious fifty, to give the home side a respectable total.

Cameron Burgon, fresh off his splendid 94 not out against Haywards Heath the previous weekend, and Matt Peters staged a partial recovery with 16 and 22 respectively, but after both fell within eight runs of each other, Bexhill were 50-5.

For the second successive weekend, though, Bexhill showed good depth to their batting. Liam Bryant and Johnson got things moving in the right direction with an important sixth wicket stand of 64 - the highest partnership of the match - before Bryant departed for 39.

Three smaller but very handy partnerships followed as the lower order gave valuable support to Johnson. Nick Peters made 22 and Ian May a brisk 14 before the last two wickets fell with the score 189 as Johnson finished unbeaten on 54 - by far his highest league score of the summer.

Bognor’s new ball pair, Marquino Mindley and Josh Sargeant, picked up four wickets each, and first change bowler Scott Bingham claimed the other two.

Bognor were all out for 172 in 48 overs in reply, with Bexhill spinners Nick Peters and Blatchly again doing much of the damage, taking eight wickets between them.

Byron Smith (7-3-15-1) struck an early blow with the score just five, but Bognor initially recovered well and appeared on course at 100-2.

The visitors then lost three wickets for five runs, starting with opener Josh Seward for 40, as Blatchly and Nick Peters started to make inroads.

The game seemed to be swinging back in favour of Bognor when Ryan Maskell (78) and Harry Hood (14) forged a sixth wicket partnership of 62.

But the breaking of that stand sparked a dramatic collapse as Bognor crumbled from 167-5 to 172 all out with the final four batsmen scoring just a single between them.

Blatchly ended up with 5-53 from 17 overs - his first five-wicket haul of a season which has so far brought him 16 league victims - and Nick Peters 3-54 from 12. Johnson capped his good day with the key wicket of Hood.

Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (all played 9 matches): 1 Three Bridges 209pts, 2 Mayfield 195, 3 Haywards Heath 188, 4 Billingshurst 160, 5 Chichester Priory Park 146, 6 St James’s Montefiore 138, 7 Bognor Regis 129, 8 Ansty 126, 9 BEXHILL 123, 10 Lindfield 96.

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