Survival chances are looking bleak

Eastbourne first XI lost on Saturday to leave themselves on the brink of relegation from the Sussex Premier League for the first time, despite a valiant effort away to title contenders Preston Nomads.

Eastbourne batted first and soon found themselves wobbling on 72 for three, but that was when Jamie Goddard came to join skipper Mark Tomsett at the crease.

Tomsett, who has been in excellent form of late, was on 28 at the time, and now began to attack the Nomads bowling with increasing success, enabling Goddard to settle into his rhythm.

Together the pair added 90 for the fourth wicket. It came as something of a shock when Tomsett finally fell for 80 off 119 balls.

Tomsett, with 781 runs, is the leading run scorer in the Premier League.

With the captain gone, Goddard now took charge and went on to make a fine undefeated 60 to help Eastbourne to 229 for eight at the close of their innings.

With Ed Giddins missing through injury and Mohammad Akram absent, Eastbourne’s replacement new-ball attack of Stuart Pulford and Matthew Cooke needed to strike quickly to give their side early momentum.

They did superbly to leave Nomads rocking on 35 for three. But that brought to the crease skipper Jeremy Green and Robert Wakeford.

They put on 113 for the fourth wicket before Wakeford fell caught and bowled by Tomsett.

Despite that wicket, Eastbourne were unable to stem the flow of runs, as Green accelerated towards his century.

Pulford picked up a third wicket, but Nomads reached their target for the loss of five wickets, with Green finishing on 103 not out in 110 balls in a man-of-the-match performance.

The result means that Eastbourne host fifth-placed Roffey this weekend knowing that they have to win if they are to have a chance of staying up and hope that other results go their way.

They are a point behind Bexhill, who have a tough trip to fourth-placed East Grinstead. But Eastbourne will also have to overhaul either Chichester, who host Worthing, or Brighton and Hove, who have a very tricky game at home to league leaders Horsham.

It will all make for a nail-biting climax to the season.

Taking on league leaders Preston Nomads at the Saffrons, Eastbourne second XI were unable to replicate the drama of their previous encounter, which ended in a tie, and instead fell to an easy defeat.

Eastbourne batted first and, after losing a couple of early wickets, had to rely on Ted Smith and Mark Trubshaw to rebuild the innings.

The pair put on more than 50, but it was never easy and runs proved hard to come by thanks to some tight bowling on a pitch made tricky by the rain.

Unfortunately, neither could go on to make a really substantial score, and after they fell no one else was able to take charge.

In the end, Eastbourne’s innings was closed on 142 for nine, which always seemed likely to be inadequate.

And so it proved. After the Nomads had given a perfect display of how to bowl on a damp track, Eastbourne failed to learn the lesson and tried too much short bowling, which was easily dealt with.

Only Richard Smith exerted any sort of pressure and picked up three wickets, but the rest of Eastbourne’s bowlers were going for more than six an over, which meant that Preston Nomads raced to their victory for the loss of only three wickets and are now on the verge of winning the league.

Eastbourne remain in third place and can secure their position with a victory this weekend at Cuckfield