Cox: We’ll only get stronger

Shawn Johnson bowling for Bexhill during their draw at home to East Grinstead last weekend. Picture by Steve Hunnisett (SUS-140830-184457002)

Shawn Johnson bowling for Bexhill during their draw at home to East Grinstead last weekend. Picture by Steve Hunnisett (SUS-140830-184457002)

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Bexhill Cricket Club will go from strength to strength having retained its Sussex Premier League status.

That’s the view of first team coach Ian Cox after Bexhill made sure of avoiding the two relegation places with a draw at home to East Grinstead last weekend.

Cox said: “It’s a big achievement for us and I think we can only go from strength to strength. They now know they’re good enough and hopefully there will be some real self-belief in the side for next year.

“It’s a great relief and a great feeling actually. We’ve done it pretty comfortably and it will be lovely not to have a nailbiter last game of the season.”

It will be the first time in well over a decade that Bexhill have spent successive seasons in the top flight. Their previous two summers in the Premier League in 2010 and 2012 ended in relegation.

“The big thing was not to do what we did for the last five years and keep bouncing to and fro,” continued Cox. “It’s pretty much the same group of players who have ping-ponged for the last few years, but the boys have really knuckled down and been willing to learn. They want to improve and they want to get better.

“It’s a tough league and they’ve shown a growing maturity. They’re starting to understand their own games a little bit. We’ve worked hard all season on individual player strengths and recognising a bit of weakness as well.

“I think they’re getting to that stage where they’re starting to understand that’s really important. There’s been a growing self-belief as well and although we’ve made some mistakes, generally we’ve come back from them.

“I think Shawn (Johnson) has made great strides this year and Malcolm (Johnson) is looking back to his best. He looked imperious on Saturday (against Grinstead).”

Bexhill - who are 37 points above the two relegation places with only 30 available from the final round of matches - are determined to finish on a high when they visit relegated neighbours Hastings Priory tomorrow (Saturday).

“We’ll take the game very seriously,” added Cox, who will cook the team steak and chips tomorrow morning as a reward for staying up.

“It’s always a big local derby. They will definitely be wanting to put one over on us and we’ll be very keen to win. I think it’s really important we finish how we want to continue to go on.”

Bexhill are likely to field a similar side to last weekend, although Max Finzel is back and could feature if Ashar Zaidi doesn’t play. Play will start from 11.30am at Horntye Park.

TOMORROW’S CRICKET FIXTURES

Sussex Cricket League, 1st XI Premier Division (11.30): Hastings Priory v Bexhill.

1st XI Division 2 (12): Lindfield v Crowhurst Park.

1st XI Division 4 (12): Rye v Lewes Priory.

2nd XI Division 1 (12): Bexhill v Hastings Priory.

2nd XI Division 3 (East) (12): Crowhurst Park v Lindfield; Lewes Priory v Rye.

East Sussex Cricket League (12.30), Division 1: Lewes St Michaels v Iden.

Division 2: Barcombe v Robertsbridge; Newhaven v Battle.

Division 3: Ditchling II v Little Common Ramblers.

Division 4: Bexhill III v Newick II.

Division 5: Denton v Pett.

Division 6: Hastings Priory III v Stanmer; Iden II v Lewes St Michaels II; Udimore v Nutley.

Division 7: Battle II v Newhaven II; Linden Park IV v Burwash Weald; Robertsbridge II v Rottingdean III.

Division 8: Little Common Ramblers II v Bexhill IV.

Division 9: Mayfield III v Bexhill V; Pett II v Bells Yew Green III; Sidley v Newick III.

Division 10: Ringmer III v Crowhurst Park III; Rye III v Mayfield IV.

Division 11: Crowhurst Park IV v Newhaven III; Little Common Ramblers III v Wadhurst II; Robertsbridge III v Denton II.

Division 12: Hellingly IV v Westfield; Lewes St Michaels III v Rye IV.