Champagne’s on ice

Mark Tomsett
Mark Tomsett

Eastbourne Cricket Club kept the champagne on ice following their draw with third-place Bexhill at the Saffrons on Saturday.

Victory for Eastbourne against their south coast neighbours would have clinched a return to the Sussex Premier at the first attempt.

Mark Tomsett’s men do, however, remain in pole position on 358 points with three games remaining and only a bizarre set of results between now and the end of the season could deny the table toppers.

Bexhill remain in third on 315 points and they clawed back ground on second-placed Goring By Sea, who suffered defeat at Ifield but remain 22 points above Bexhill with 337 points.

The Saffrons outfit will now focus everything on this weekend where they could achieve a quite remarkable double.

On Saturday, at Goring by Sea, promotion could be achieved and on Sunday they travel to Hove where they will face Hastings in the Gray Nicolls T20 Cup Final.

Eastbourne ended play on Saturday no doubt frustrated with a draw.

Once again Tomsett and Tobi Finzel were off to a flyer as they put on 128 for their opening partnership against the Bexhill attack.

Skipper Tomsett admitted there is a healthy rivalry between the two run makers to see who will finish the season as top scorer.

On Saturday, Finzel added another 58 to his total to take him to 1,037 runs for the year at an average of 43.21, while Tomsett cracked 64 from 95 balls which brought his season tally to 828 - averaging 43.58.

Alex Pollard (4), Dan Wells (6), Matt Cooke (4) and Jordy Watts (0) all fell cheaply before Devang Patel (30) and David Twine (28*) helped Eastbourne beyond the 200 where the declared at 207-8 from 52.5 overs.

Bexhill’s Jamie Wicks bowled beautifully for his 5-29 while Callum Guest claimed 2-71.

Bexhill certainly didn’t shy away from the run chase and a competitive game of cricket was evenly poised as Shawn Johnson (52) looked to increase the run rate in the middle order.

His only support came from Elliot Guest (33) and once he fell, Bexhill were content to dig in for the draw. With 10 wickets down Eastbourne had three balls at tailender Joe Cox but he survived as Bexhill ended on 181-9.

Tomsett’s men will hope to wrap up promotion this Saturday ahead of their T20 final in what could prove to be a historic weekend for the club.

Eastbourne will run a coach to Hove cricket ground on Sunday for the T20 final against Hastings and St Leonards Priory. A seat on the coach costs £10 and will depart at 1pm. Please contact the club for further details.