Eastbourne retain top spot with comfortable victory

Toby Finzel
Toby Finzel
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League leaders Eastbourne reinforced their position at the top of the table with a convincing 48-run victory over St James’s Montefiore.

Having chosen to bat first, skipper Mark Tomsett and Toby Finzel got off to the best possible start, with both men passing the half-century mark as the in-form pair put on 114 for the first wicket.

Tomsett was the first to go, for 52, and Finzel followed soon after for 58, but the platform had been laid. Martyn Garnett made a positive 25, but it was a belligerent 36 not out from Mark Trubshaw, who faced just 23 balls, that gave Tomsett the opportunity to declare with the score on 246 for seven.

David Twine was the early spearhead, bowling a long opening spell that brought him three wickets and left the visitors struggling on 58 for three, and when Tomsett followed up with another wicket soon after, everything seemed set up for a routine win for the hosts.

Anthony Alexander hadn’t read the script, however, and he went on to make the highest score of the match, reaching 71 in 60 balls before Stuart Pulford, on his return from injury, bagged the crucial wicket, caught by Matt Cooke.

At 175 for seven, with the tail now exposed, Tomsett and Pulford were able to polish off the last three wickets as St James’s were dismissed for 198. For Tomsett, there was not only the win and a half-century to celebrate, but his left-arm spin had also secured five wickets for 43, his best figures of the season.

Eastbourne’s third XI ground out a hard-fought draw against league leaders Herstmonceux at the Larkins.

Having decided to field first, the home side picked up two early wickets as opening bowlers James Smith and Martyn Ward both struck. But skipper George Wathen was soon leading a counter-attack and blazed his way to his half-century in just 44 balls.

Ian Marshall snapped up three relatively quick wickets, helped by great catches from Smith and one off his own bowling, the latter taking everyone by surprise, but Wathen continued on his way and soon reached a deserved century. Veteran Terry Daniels bowled a tidy spell late on, and when Wathen was run out for 127, he decided to declare on 227 for seven.

With a depleted side, much depended on opener Shaun Perkinson to make a significant score and, by the end of the second over, he already had 18 runs. With Simon Hoadley, he added 67 for the first wicket before the latter fell for 13.

Sadly, Perkinson fell not long after for a well-made 48, and thereafter there was a regular tumble of wicket as Eastbourne closed on 140 for eight.