Relegation fears rise as brittle batsmen collapse

Eastbourne Cricket Club v Brighton CC at The Saffrons August 13th 2011
Eastbourne Cricket Club v Brighton CC at The Saffrons August 13th 2011

For the fourth time this season Eastbourne’s batsmen crumbled and posted a score below 100 as they suffered another defeat at the Saffrons.

This time it was a Brighton side who skittled through the top and notoriously brittle middle order to leave Mark Tomsett’s men looking over the their shoulders towards the relegation zone once more.

A victory against Roffey followed by a convincing draw at title-chasing Hastings had propelled Eastbourne to fifth in the table.

But Saturday’s defeat means they are under severe pressure going into their final two games of the season. The first of which will be against league leaders Preston Nomads.

Once again Tomsett, who has scored 600 runs this season and has a decent average of 50, top scored.

He managed 27 before he was caught out by Guy Williamson off the bowling of Chris Atherton.

Then, as has happened so often this season, came the dramatic collapse.

Rising Sussex star Callum Jackson lasted just five balls for his duck and he was swiftly followed by Hugh Finzel, Angus Stewart, Alex Pollard, Luke Tomsett, TJ Key, Ed Giddins, Ben Barter, Adam Brawn and Stuart Pulford with only Brawn reaching double figures.

Experienced Brighton campaigner Matt Wood (3-18) did the damage to the top order before Patrick Spencer (4-16) and Chris Atherton (3-24) dominated the middle and lower order.

On the plus side Ben Barter (3-12) and Brawn (1-18) were both promoted from the seconds and performed well with the ball.

Batsman Pollard was also promoted from the seconds after his superb unbeaten 142 against Hastings seconds last week.

Meanwhile Bradley Smith and Chris Wooldridge both scored half centuries as the seconds drew at Brighton seconds. Eastbourne were chasing 247 and finished on 189-7. Bradley Smith (3-57) was the pick of the bowlers.