Bexhill Cricket Club began its Sussex Premier League campaign with a heavy defeat.
Johnathan Haffenden’s side lost by 172 runs at home to Brighton & Hove on Saturday after being bowled out for just 56 in reply to the opposition’s 228-9.
The eventual outcome was in stark contrast to the excellent start which Bexhill made. After winning the toss and choosing to field in blustery conditions, Bexhill reduced Brighton to 7-2 via a Tim Hambridge run out and a wicket for Dean Crawford (1-38 off 14 overs).
A second run out, this time by Malcolm Johnson, made it 37-3 before a wicket for his younger brother Shawn Johnson (1-55 off 11) left Brighton seemingly in a spot of bother at 52-4.
There followed the highest partnership of the match, however, as Alasdair Wilson and Chris Atherton put on 62 for the sixth wicket until Nick Peters claimed his first league wicket for Bexhill by dismissing Wilson for 60.
Peters (2-19 off seven) struck again 27 runs later, dismissing Atherton for 34. Adam Mates (28) and Jack Chopping (15) added useful runs in the lower middle order, but both were trapped LBW by Callum Guest (2-59) either side of a third run out.
Although Brighton were 184-9 at that stage, an unbroken last wicket partnership of 44 between Matthew Wood (20 not out) and Henry Turner (24 not out) got them up to maximum batting points and denied Bexhill full bowling points.
Having frustrated Bexhill with the bat, Wood and Turner proceeded to blow them away with the ball, taking all 10 wickets between them in less than 24 overs. Wood finished with 4-28 off 12 and Turner bagged 6-18 off 11.5 in a splendid display of new ball bowling.
Shawn Johnson (11) and Liam Bryant (10) were the only batsmen to reach double figures, and there were four ducks as Wood and Turner caused havoc.
Bexhill made it to 17 before the first wicket fell, but two more went down with the score 22, including a first baller for James Walker on his league debut.
Things went from bad to worse as wickets five, six and seven fell with the score 38, and Bexhill’s fate was sealed when they lost their final three wickets for one run.