Bexhill missing key duo for second versus third clash

Stuart Collier is set to miss Bexhill's game away to Preston Nomads seconds
Stuart Collier is set to miss Bexhill's game away to Preston Nomads seconds

Bexhill Cricket Club is set to be without two key players for a second versus third clash tomorrow (Saturday).

Johnathan Haffenden’s side will travel to Preston Nomads seconds in 1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Three East missing unavailable pair Stuart Collier and Andrew Hodd.

Opening bowler Collier has taken nine wickets at an average of 9.44 in four league appearances so far this season, while former Yorkshire, Sussex and Surrey wicketkeeper/batsman Hodd is averaging 48 with the bat.

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Experienced pair Neil Blatchly and Steve Phillimore are expected to come up from the second team to take their place.

Haffenden said: “It’s a shame we’re a couple light, but it’s one of those things. Not having Stuart up top will be a big loss for us. Hoddy’s experience is big and he hasn’t had to even get into his stride with the bat yet.

“Steve’s scoring runs for the twos, so it’s not like we’re struggling. It’s one of those things.”

Third-placed Bexhill are 10 points behind second-placed Nomads having won three of their first five matches, including the last two.

Nomads have won four of their five so far to sit a point behind leaders Seaford.

“Nomads are always set up well, they’ve always got good players,” continued Haffenden. “I’ve never played against their twos, but they seem to be playing well. It’s a big game.”

Bexhill have scored well over 300 runs for the loss of just two wickets in their last two matches combined, with one batsman scoring a hundred and two others unbeaten half-centuries.

Asked if it feels like his team is now getting into its stride after losing two of its first three games, Haffenden said: “A little bit. We’re still taking it as enjoying what we do.

“As long as we do that first, the cricket will take care of itself. We know what we can do on the pitch and as a group we’re doing alright.”

Bexhill will be aiming to produce a similar performance to the one which earned an eight-wicket victory away to Brighton & Hove seconds last weekend.

Bexhill restricted Brighton to 157-9 from their 45 overs before knocking off the runs for the loss of only two wickets with 3.5 overs to spare.

“We played well this weekend,” added Haffenden. “We started off with the ball unbelievably well. The boys up top (Collier and Shawn Johnson) were phenomenal; they bowled the right areas and the right length.

“The outfield was pretty quick and we back ourselves chasing a fair amount. You’ve always got to be happy chasing under 200. It gives you a chance to chase it without panicking.

“We never looked in any danger. We could play sensibly, we didn’t have to accelerate. We just made sure we got the job done.

“He (Shawn) has been class for years and he just showed what he can do.When you enjoy your game, pressure lifts. Everyone’s enjoying it and there’s no pressure on what goes on in the middle, which allows people to perform.”