Bexhill Cricket Club can secure its Sussex Premier League status with victory in a key battle at the bottom.
A win away to Three Bridges tomorrow (Saturday) would almost certainly be enough to keep Bexhill in the top flight with two matches to spare.
Bexhill first team coach Ian Cox said: “It’s a massive game. If we can win it’s all over, but realistically if we can get similar points to them that would be a good result.”
Bexhill are currently seventh in the 10-team division with a 52-point cushion over a Three Bridges side which occupies the second and final relegation place.
“There’s only 60 points up for grabs after this week, and they’ve got Preston Nomads and Horsham so it’s a tough one for them,” continued Cox. “I would like to get it done and dusted this week really.”
Bexhill have won five league matches this season compared to the one of Three Bridges, although the Crawley outfit has lost six games to Bexhill’s eight.
One of Bexhill’s wins came in June’s reverse fixture when Joe Cox memorably took eight wickets to bowl Bridges out for 161 before Johnathan Haffenden (92) and Cameron Burgon (30 not out) forged a fifth wicket partnership of 125 as Bexhill recovered from 24-4 with the bat to triumph by five wickets.
“I think we’ll always go in looking to win, always being positive, but maybe a little bit more cautious than we would be against one of the top teams,” continued Cox.
“If we get an opportunity to bat them out of the game we will. Then they’re going to have to try and win it, and that will be our best chance of winning. They’ve got to win it. They’re a decent side and I’m surprised they are where they are. It will be interesting to see what the wicket’s like up there.”
Bexhill could well name an unchanged side assuming Ashar Zaidi plays for the fourth successive game. Cox said: “I think he’s really enjoying it and he’s great for our youngsters.”
Remaning fixtures - Bexhill (224pts): tomorrow Three Bridges (a), August 30 East Grinstead (h), September 6 Hastings Priory (a).
Cuckfield (221pts): tomorrow Eastbourne (h), August 30 Brighton & Hove (h), September 6 Roffey (a).
Three Bridges (172pts): tomorrow Bexhill (h), August 30 Horsham (a), September 6 Preston Nomads (h).
Hastings Priory (156pts): tomorrow East Grinstead (h), August 30 Eastbourne (a), September 6 Bexhill (h).
TOMORROW’S CRICKET FIXTURES
Sussex Cricket League, 1st XI Premier Division (12): Hastings Priory v East Grinstead; Three Bridges v Bexhill.
1st XI Division 2 (12.30): Ifield v Crowhurst Park.
1st XI Division 4 (12.30): Rye v Henfield.
2nd XI Division 1 (12.30): Bexhill v Three Bridges; East Grinstead v Hastings Priory.
2nd XI Division 3 (East) (12.30): Crowhurst Park v Rye.
East Sussex Cricket League (1), Division 1: Buxted Park v Iden.
Division 2: Crowborough v Battle; Robertsbridge v Ringmer.
Division 3: Uckfield Anderida v Little Common Ramblers.
Division 4: Bexhill III v Eastbourne III.
Division 5: Seaford II v Pett.
Division 6: Hastings Priory III v Nutley; Iden II v Plumpton & East Chiltington II; Udimore v Linden Park III.
Division 7: Alfriston v Robertsbridge II; Battle II v Crowborough II; Burwash Weald v Newhaven II.
Division 8: Firle II v Bexhill IV; Little Common Ramblers II v Chiddingly II.
Division 9: Bexhill V v Newick III; Pett II v Barcombe II; Sidley v Bells Yew Green III.
Division 10: Buxted Park III v Crowhurst Park III.
Division 11: Crowhurst Park IV v Denton II; Little Common Ramblers III v Seaford IV; Robertsbridge III v DPB II.
Division 12: Lewes St Michaels III v Westfield; Rye IV v Hailsham IV.