Billingshurst off the bottom despite defeat at Bexhill

Bexhill v Billingshurst cricket action - Shane West batting for Billingshurst SUS-160907-222844002
Bexhill v Billingshurst cricket action - Shane West batting for Billingshurst SUS-160907-222844002

Sam Roberts stole the show with a century and seven wickets as another poor fielding display and top-order troubles cost Billingshurst in a 56-run defeat at Bexhill.

Despite the result, 11 points saw Hurst climb off the foot of the Premier Division table at the expense of Worthing, who they face in a must-win clash on Saturday. They do remain in the relegation places, however, and face an uphill battle to catch Brighton & Hove, who went 55 points clear.

Bexhill posted 253-8 after winning the toss and batting as hard-hitting opener Roberts hit a 161-ball 115. He put on stands with five different batsmen, the best, 69 with Malcolm Johnson (22), before Shawn Johnson made 38 and Callum Guest (21).

Tom Haynes came away with the best figures from the Hurst attack, 5-44, after a late flurry of wickets.

Billingshurst captain Stuart Barber felt they were in with a chance at the halfway stage, but Joe Cox (3-30) and Roberts (7-69) did some early damage with the ball to leave them 57-6.

Scott Stratton then led a resurgent charge with a stunning 84-ball 98, but he was eventually caught with the score on 186-9, to end their hopes and they were all out for 197 soon after.

Barber said: “Unfortunately, we just did not field particularly well again on a tough outfield as it was really bobbly. They probably got 30 more than we were expecting. That said we got them eight down for eight points in the bag and felt when they declared we could give it a go.

“We were in a really tough position and it looked like there was no chance of winning until Scott Stratton came in. It was probably the best I have ever seen him bat. I thought there was a bit of a chance, but he got out on 98 which was disappointing for him and the team as it was effectively game over at that point.

“Eleven points I probably would have taken at the start as they are a bogey side for us, particularly as Worthing did not pick up many points, but the shock result for Brighton didn’t help us.”

“If we can beat Worthing on Saturday, which is an absolute must win and hope Brighton don’t pick up many points. Then when we face them, hope we stuff them as I think it will go down to the wire.”

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