East Dean take title after victory at the Saffrons

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East Dean secured the East Sussex Cricket League division four title on Saturday thanks to a solid if unspectacular performance against Eastbourne thirds.

In miserable weather conditions at the Saffrons, Neil Gamble won the toss and inserted the home side, who were fielding a development side of young players and thus much weakened.

Brad Smith opened the batting and got the home side off to a steady start but the wicket was slow and John Daubney’s spell of 14-6-10-0 set the tone for the innings.

It was Geoff Campbell who made the breakthrough however his mixture of long hops and unplayable deliveries bamboozled both openers to leave Eastbourne 35-2.

Simon Hoadley sensibly set out to bat the innings but wasn’t really hurting East Dean and at 85-4 with 12 overs left, it looked like East Dean would have a modest target to chase.

Martyn Ward changed that with a blistering knock of 39no hitting Abson Bennett for one massive six out of the ground, across the road and into the nearby gardens.

Neil Sands bowled a spell 0f 9-3-15-3 at the death to restore some order and 142 was the target at tea.

East Dean were impressive in the field with Alex Rimmer and Miceh Reitze setting the standards.

Openers Gamble and Reitze got off to a slow start with three consecutive maidens but it was important to not lose early wickets and not to give the home side an opening back into the game.

Despite some close shaves Brad Smith and Martyn Ward bowled 29 overs between them and kept things tight.

The score was 57 when the first wicket fell.

Reitze continued to put great value on his wicket and allowed a succession of batsman to come in and play their shots in an attempt to win the game before the rain set in for good.

Neil Sands 20 and Harry Rimmer 26no the main run scorers but everyone chipped in to make it a relatively comfortable run chase.

In the end East Dean hit their target with eight overs to spare.

Victory gave them an unassailable 59 point lead with one game to spare which sparked wild celebrations from the players into the early hours.