Newly-promoted Bexhill went down by two wickets in an exciting low scoring clash against a Preston Nomads side which has won the Premier League title for five of the last six years.
Bexhill were bowled out for just 86 in 33.4 overs after losing the toss and being asked to bat. Only three batsmen reached double figures as Carl Simon returned superb figures of 7-44.
Wickets fell steadily throughout the away innings from the moment captain Malcolm Johnson was caught behind by James McKemey off Simon for six with the score 11. Max Finzel was undone by the same combination six runs later and John Haffenden also fell to Simon to make it 27-3.
Shawn Johnson, who has made a good start to the season, was stumped by McKemey off Stuart Faith a run later. Opening batsman Tim Hambridge battled for 14 until he too was dismissed by Simon at 42-5.
By now Dean Crawford was into his stride, and although Bexhill lost Jack Richardson and Liam Bryant with the score 58, the Australian went on to make a vital 27 before being eighth man out. Josh Beeslee finished 11 not out as Bexhill lost their last two wickets on 86.
Nomads appeared to be heading for a comfortable victory as they reached 32-0 in reply, but they then lost eight wickets for just 27 runs during an amazing passage of play that left Bexhill fancying their chances of an improbable win.
It all started when Joe Cox ran out Oliver Gatting before Crawford (6-33 in 12 overs) took centre stage with a brilliant burst which tore through the heart of the Nomads batting. His victims included an usual hit wicket dismissal of Rob Wakeford.
But Bexhill couldn’t quite finish the job as Faith (15 not out) and McKemey (17 not out) guided Nomads home with an unbroken ninth wicket stand of 28. Bexhill conceded a costly 31 extras, including 14 wides, compared to the five extras and no wides given away by their opponents.