Bexhill beckons as Tomsett challenges batsmen to shine

Wicketkeeper-batsman Callum Jackson is set to return for Eastbourne this weekend.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Callum Jackson is set to return for Eastbourne this weekend.

Eastbourne skipper Mark Tomsett insists he will not lose too much sleep over Eastbourne’s opening day defeat against Horsham at the Saffrons last Saturday.

Tomorrow (Saturday) Eastbourne make the short journey to newly-promoted Bexhill for their second Sussex Premier League fixture of the season.

Despite last week’s defeat, Tomsett believes his side is capable of having a good season.

He said, “Horsham are a good side and I have no doubt they will be near the top this season.

“They have two or three lads playing MCC cricket and in Will Beer they have a Sussex professional.

“We had our chances against them and dropped a few catches early. Had they stuck it might have been different. But good players punish you and that’s what happened.

“They have a good batting line-up but our bowlers stuck in there and at the end of their innings we thought we were very much in the game.”

Eastbourne’s batting display did, however, let them down. Too many times last season they were skittled out for less than 100 and on Saturday it happened again.

Tomsett, last season’s leading run scorer in the Sussex Premier League, opened the batting but didn’t last long.

He was out for a duck when he flashed a wide ball to point. Only Brad Smith (17), Alec Pollard (14) and Matt Cook (25) reached double figures.

“As a team we did not apply ourselves very well with the bat - myself included.

“I’m not making excuses. I think we were all a bit rusty and I’m sure we will get better as a team.”

Tomsett also admitted that other teams target what they believe to be a weak Eastbourne batting line-up. Consistent run scoring has proved difficult in recent years with many teams thinking ‘Get Tomsett out and the rest will follow.’

He added, “I’m sure teams will look at our stats and think that. But I know we have a lot of talent in this line-up and the challenge is there for the players to stand-up to these teams and change that perception.

“Teams do target me and I might have a bounty on my head when I go into bat but I like that challenge.”

Eastbourne hope to welcome back young Sussex stars Callum Jackson and Luke Wells. Both missed the game against Horsham and both will bolster the batting line-up.

Matt Green, who scored a half-century against Preston Nomads in Sunday’s cup game, will also be available.

Overseas player Aaron Mullins will be out to make an impression after he scored seven on his league debut.

Tomsett is likely to select three seam bowlers for Bexhill, with David Twine and Ed Giddins ready to crank up the pressure. Stuart Pulford will miss the match after he pulled his hamstring just five overs into his spell.

Twine took four wickets on an impressive debut last week.

Tomsett added, “He was certainly the stand-out player. He will be a great addition and certainly a player to watch out for this season.

“Losing Stuart Pulford is a massive blow for us. He is one of the best seamers in the league and hopefully he will not be out for too long.

“Bexhill will be a good game for us. They are young side with some good players.

I’m not reading too much into our defeat last week. We will stick together as a unit and come back strongly.”

There could also be a debut for highly-rated 16-year-old Hove academy player Curtis Browning. Browning is predominantly a bowler but is said to be useful with the bat.

“It could be a good time for Curtis to gain some experience in the division. It will be good if you can get five or six overs under his belt on Saturday.”

Eastbourne squad: Mark Tomsett, Dan Wells, Callum Jackson, Aaron Mullins, Matt Green, Jamie Goddard, Mark Trubshaw, Luke Tomsett, Brad Smith, Matt Cooke, David Twine, Ed Giddins, Curtis Browning.