EASTBOURNE earned only their second win of the Premier League season with a vital victory over relegation rivals Bexhill on day when no other games in the Premier League were completed.
Groundsman Jamie Ramsden and his team of volunteer helpers were out from early in the morning to work on the ground to ensure that Eastbourne’s crucial game against Bexhill could go ahead. Their hard work paid off and the game was able to start, albeit in a slightly shortened format.
Put into bat after losing the toss, Eastbourne batted first and, after the early loss of Dan Wells, skipper Mark Tomsett and Sussex star Ben Brown came together to add 109 for the second wicket.
Brown fell first, having made 47 in just 50 balls, and Tomsett followed almost immediately afterwards. His belligerent knock of 69 came in only 67 balls and featured eight fours and four sixes. Hugh Finzel (18) and Aaron Mullins (26) continued to add to the total, albeit at a slower pace.
There were some late runs from Matthew Cooke (26 not out), which enabled Tomsett to declare with the score on 224 for nine.
With the weather always threatening to bring the match to a halt, Bexhill reached 77 for three and the draw was beginning to seem the most likely outcome. Richard Smith then struck to dismiss Andrew Harriott, who top-scored with 34, with Ed Giddins taking the vital catch.
Giddins, who had already picked up two earlier wickets, now took complete control of proceedings.
In a devastating spell, he took five wickets in just 12 deliveries, four of them falling LBW. He finished with figures of seven for 27, bowling unchanged throughout the innings. Fellow opening bowler Cooke came back into the attack and induced an edge behind to see Bexhill tumbled out for just 91.
The win lifted Eastbourne to within 13 points of Bexhill in the table, and only 20 behind Brighton & Hove. This weekend Tomsett’s team travel to East Grinstead, who are just above Brighton in the table, knowing that another win is within their grasp after this confidence-boosting dominant performance.
Not a ball was bowled in the second XI Division One, as Eastbourne were spared a fruitless trip to Three Bridges.
A fine bowling performance from Ilham Mohammadi went to waste as Eastbourne third XI’s game at Firle was abandoned after rain brought proceedings to a close.
After heavy overnight rain, Firle did well to ensure that any cricket was possible, and the home side were put in to bat on a damp wicket.
Early pressure from openers Martyn Ward and Chris Jones resulted in Eastbourne taking just one wicket, though it could have been more.
But the balance really tipped in favour of the bowlers soon after. Skipper Ian Marshall picked up a wicket in his first over, before Mohammadi took control. Bowling on a consistent line and length, the Firle batsmen had no answer to his accuracy and variations.
He took a wicket in each of his first two overs, and eventually finished off the innings with two wickets in two balls to end with figures of seven for 19 in ten overs.
Wicket-keeper Sara Lord had a fine day behind the stumps, taking five catches in all, ensuring that Firle ended up with just 81 runs. Young spinner Giles Robinson also took a wicket late on.
With another shower having made the wicket increasingly erratic, Eastbourne were in trouble on 16 for four when a more sustained spell of rain brought the game to an end and the match was abandoned.