Magic from Mullins but Bexhill cling on for draw

Jamie Bristow-Diamond bowls for Bexhill as they faced Eastbourne at the weekend
Jamie Bristow-Diamond bowls for Bexhill as they faced Eastbourne at the weekend

Overseas player Aaron Mullins produced a man-of-the match performance but Bexhill’s last men standing ultimately frustrated Eastbourne.

Former Australian youth international Mullins top-scored with 51 and then went on to take five-wickets with his left-arm off-spin.

The performance showed why Eastbourne were so keen to sign him and indicated that he could be a real force in the Sussex Premier League this season.

Chairman Ian Fletcher Price said, “It will do his confidence the world of good.

“Last week was a disappointment for him but it was a tough introduction for an Australian playing cricket in wet English condiditons.

“I think we have a real player on our hands and despite last week’s defeat against Horsham, I genuinely believe this side can achieve great things this season.”

Eastbourne were put into bat on a sodden pitch at Bexhill last Saturday.

With the ball moving around, the Eastbourne batsmen really had to apply themselves. Skipper Mark Tomsett led the way, making a half-century, putting on about 60 for the second wicket with Brad Smith.

Both men then fell in quick succession, before Aaron Mullins and Matt Green came together to steady things in the middle order.

They added almost a hundred together, before Green fell for 35, while Mullins went on to reach his fifty.

At the end of their innings, Eastbourne had made 207 for six – an excellent effort in the conditions.

After the break, the pitch seemed to have improved dramatically and the outfield had become much quicker as it dried out, which helped Bexhill get off to a good start.

Malcolm Johnson batted well as the hosts reached 90 without loss. Eastbourne’s bowlers couldn’t quite find their consistency of line and length to build up the pressure through bowling a series of tight overs.

When Tomsett turned to spin, things began to move in Eastbourne’s favour.

Slow left-armer Mullins and off-spinner Green bowled well in tandem, with the former picking up five wickets while the latter took four as the Bexhill batting fell away.

In the end, Eastbourne had four or five overs to bowl at the last pair, but were unable to take the crucial wicket, as the hosts finished on 176 for nine.

Commenting on his side’s performance, Tomsett said, “While it was disappointing not to get that final wicket, there were lots of positives in the way we turned it round.

“Especially as the conditions favoured Bexhill during the match. I am delighted with our performance. I am very pleased with the backbone we showed in the middle order, and with the form of our spinners.

“We are playing some good cricket to take into our game against East Grinstead this weekend.

“They rely heavily on Sussex lads Lewis Hatchett and Will Adkin, but if we can impose ourselves I am sure we will do well.”