Eastbourne Cricket Club have lost crucial points in their battle for survival after the league penalised Mohammad Akram for unsporting behaviour.
The newest addition to the squad didn’t react well to being called out two weeks ago at Hastings and the team were docked five points after failing to adhere to the league’s rules.
Captain Mark Tomsett said, “Mohammad was given out, he disagreed and was having a few words with himself, but anything that can be perceived as dissent to the officials is not taken lightly.
“It was the second mark on our disciplinary record after Ed Giddins did the same last season, which meant we lost the points.
“The league has strict rules that we must adhere to and, on that day, Mo didn’t.
“However, he also got five wickets for 30 that day, so we don’t put any blame on him.”
Had they not been deducted five points, Eastbourne would have propelled themselves off the foot of the table after victory over Worthing and a draw with Sussex Development Squad at the weekend.
As it is, they sit three points behind Bexhill, 23 behind Chichester and 24 adrift of Brighton.
A win against title-chasing Preston Nomads on Saturday could see Eastbourne lift as high as mid-table if other results go their way.
Tomsett said, “It’s so tight down there. We were never going to be safe with two games left but after the weekend, we’ve given ourselves as good a chance as possible of staying up.
“We need to win one of our two remaining matches and get some points from the other.
“Saturday will be tough. Preston are a very, very strong side and they’re fighting for the title, but we’re scrapping for our lives too so it will be a very exciting match.
“Preston can’t afford to draw and, if we post a good total for them to reach, we know they’ll be going for it in their run chase and that could play into our hands a bit.”
Matches start at the earlier time of 11:30 this Saturday.
Likely line-up: Mark Tomsett, Dan Wells, Aaron Mullins, Callum Jackson, Jamie Goddard, Martyn Garnett, Tom Johnson, Matt Green, Matt Cooke, David Twine, Stuart Pulford