Confidence booster

Eastbourne v Bexhill.
Eastbourne v Bexhill.

EASTBOURNE must retain their focus if they’re to build some momentum following their 133-run victory over relegation rivals Bexhill last weekend, according to captain Mark Tomsett.

Tomsett’s side picked up valuable points in their clash with Bexhill but still have a long way to go in the battle to avoid the drop.

The win on Saturday was just the second of the season so far for the Saffrons club and Tomsett hopes his side can capitalise on the welcome boost of confidence and string a run of results together that could see them catapult up the table.

“It’s obviously nice to win and it’s a good habit to get in to, but there is still a long, long way to go yet.

“We need to make sure we prepare well and use the confidence we have to get a win in our next match.

“Now we just hope it stays dry so we can build some momentum and get a few more good results under our belt.

“We’re really keen to play and to get back out there, so hopefully we can beat the weather.

“The players just need to make sure they continue to focus and keep working hard.”

The last time Eastbourne won in the league, against Worthing, their hopes of an unbeaten run were dashed immediately as they faced league-leaders Preston Nomads the weekend after.

This time, they face East Grinstead – a side sitting just three places and 32 points ahead of Eastbourne in the Sussex 1st XI Premier Division.

Eastbourne will be without Ben Brown and Luke Wells, who are both on Sussex duty, as well as Callum Jackson, who will be playing for the England under-19 squad in Leicester.

Brown played a key part in Eastbourne’s win over Bexhill last weekend, combining with Tomsett to notch 109 out of their eventual 224 total.

Compared to the weekend before, when Eastbourne lost by five wickets to Horsham, it seemed as if a different side had stepped out onto the pitch, courtesy of some stern words from the skipper.

He said, “I’m not one to scream and shout at a team but sometimes, in sport and in life, you need to tell some home truths.

“That’s what I did after the Horsham match, looking for a stark reaction and that’s exactly what we got.

“But, after we beat Bexhill, I had nothing but praise for the lads.

“It was encouraging but we need to keep that up.

“The win set us up well for our next two crucial matches but there’s still more to come after that. This season will go down to the wire.”

This weekend could see Eastbourne close the gap on Bexhill and Brighton, who both face tough matches against Hastings and St Leonards Priory and Chichester Priory Park respectively.

The weekend after, Eastbourne will host a Brighton side who currently sit just 20 points above them in the table having played one game more.

Likely line-up: Mark Tomsett, Dan Wells, Aaron Mullins, Matt Green, Hugh Finzel, Alex Pollard, Tom Johnson, Matt Cooke, Jamie Goddard, Richard Smith, Ed Giddins, Stuart Pulford.