Can Eastbourne upset unbeaten Sussex Premier League leaders Roffey?

Eastbourne skipper Jacob Smith
Eastbourne skipper Jacob Smith

Despite a recent turn around in form, Eastbourne cricket captain Jacob Smith was quick to play down their chances of beating top of the table Roffey tomorrow (Saturday, 11.30am).

Eastbourne endured a disappointing start to the season, losing their first three fixtures before a recent surge in form which has seen them win their last two Sussex Premier League games plus a victory in the T20 Cup against Hastings.

Smith said: “It’s always good to have momentum but to be honest Roffey are so strong I don’t think it makes too much of a difference really.

“We see this one as a bit of a free hit. No one really expects us to win so we are just going to go there and try and play our best cricket and try to put them under a bit of pressure.

“We would like to be the first team to beat them this season but we are realistic. We know all we can do is try our best and hopefully we can give them a good game and that they are in a position where they really have to work hard to get the points off us.”

In terms of the side’s recent victories Smith said, “I think the turn around has been more about the consistency of selection that we have had over the last few weeks. We have just been a lot stronger.

“In the first few games we just bowled too many wayward deliveries. We made it too easy for the batsmen. “This year it has been weird, teams have been going a lot harder at the start and attacking a lot more. The first 10 overs have been a big problem for us.

“We have always been playing catch-up. Most of the season we have been on the back foot from the word go really and I think that is what has led to some of the high scores we have conceded.”

Smith has also praised the contribution Oli Carter has made to the team. Carter top scored last Saturday against Cuckfield with a well-crafted 92. “Oli is a really good young player,” said Smith. “Not just with the bat but he is an exceptional wicketkeeper as well and that has been something quite big for us.

“He has been awesome the last two games. Unfortunately we have not got him for at least three more weeks now but he has been a really big help.”

Meanwhile, Sussex Sharks signed Australia international wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey ahead of their upcoming T20 Blast campaign.

It’s a move that could see Ben Brown feature more for Eastbourne during the T20 period, which runs from mid-July to the end of August.

Smith added: “We would love for him to play when he can but he is very busy and being club captain at Sussex does take a lot. Obviously we would love to have him around as much as possible.”

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