Relegation woe for cricketers

Ian Fletcher-Price
Ian Fletcher-Price

Eastbourne cricketers recorded one of their most impressive wins of the season, only to find results elsewhere had gone against them and they were relegated by the narrowest margin.

Put in to bat at the Saffrons by Roffey, Eastbourne skipper Mark Tomsett took immediate charge of proceedings.

He played some crashing shots through the covers and treating anything off line or length with savagery.

With Dan Wells, he added 73 for the first wicket of which Wells scored just five.

Then Tomsett was joined by Callum Jackson, who was soon into his stride.

Having made his century in just 102 balls, immediately after Tomsett was run out for 100.

Jackson went on to make 82, before he too was run out, but Eastbourne were able to declare on 256 for nine, allowing themselves plenty of time to bowl out the visitors.

Stuart Pulford struck twice early on before fellow opener Matt Cooke got in on the act to reduce Roffey to 27 for three.

Thereafter the Roffey line-up provided only sporadic resistance.

David Twine was the most successful of Eastbourne’s bowlers, picking up four wickets for 40 runs – his best performance of the season for the side.

A late flurry by the final wicket pairing did not hold up Eastbourne for too long, as the returning Pulford held to the old adage of bowling straight at the tailenders.

Roffey were all out for 164, and then began the agonising wait to see how results had gone elsewhere.

Bexhill were beaten by East Grinstead, which ensured Eastbourne would go above them.

But unfortunately the next two teams above them, Chichester and Brighton & Hove, had both won.

So Eastbourne finished two points behind Worthing – and to increase the frustration felt at the Saffrons, the side had recently been penalised five points for a moment of ill-discipline on the pitch.

Many at the Saffrons feel it would be harsh to point to that moment as making all the difference.

The team had spent most of the season in a relegation position, and only a late run of form had given them a chance to escape the drop.

Tomsett was the leading runscorer, not just for Eastbourne but in the entire league, with an astonishing 881 runs, including three centuries and seven fifties.

However, the rest of the team made just three centuries and five fifties between them.

Ed Giddins was the most successful bowler, with 21 at an average of over 18, but none of the other leading wicket-takers averaged under 25.

Chairman Ian Fletcher Price said, “We are obviously all desperately disappointed with the final outcome.

“I feel for our captain Mark Tomsett. He finished the season as the highest scorer in the league and gets relegated. I feel for our groundsman Jamie and for everyone who has worked so hard this season.

“I’m not proud to preside over a team that gets relegated but I’m no quitter and we will come back stronger.

“We have made great steps forward off the pitch and that will allow us to come back stronger.”