Must Be Football Season - Last Minute Sliding Tackle Saves The Win

For the first time in weeks the weather returned to a cool overcast day, Seaford 3s mading the trip away to Bexhill 4s at Bexhill Down.

With the heavy rain of the previous day leaving the pitch damp, the toss appeared to be all important, Bexhill won it and duly inserted Seaford into bat with conditions seemingly perfect for bowling. The sigh from the losing skipper could be heard for miles.

Fortunately Seaford's in form openers Mark McCaughan (73) and Rob Gravett (45) played the pitch perfectly and made a steady start before attacking the bowling with a fast 82 partnership in 12 overs. Gavin Wright (29) replaced Gravett and with McCaughan pushing the score onto 148-1 after just 23 overs. At this point a large score looked on the cards. However McCaughan was stumped and Seaford imploded from 160-2 to 180 all out. Late wickets from N Jay (3-29), C Francis (3-54) and W Harvey (2-21) and a great run out from keeper Andrew Jay dragged Bexhill back into the game and gave themselves a target to chase that was a lot smaller than at one point was expected.

In reply Bexhill got off to a bad start, Jon Milham (3-18) ripped out the top order including the dangerous Andrew Jay (17), backed up with wickets from Steve Hearsey (2-48) and the ever impressing Sam Mullett (2-28). Bexhill were soon looking at a possible heavy defeat as they fell to 87-8 with overs fast running out as well. Will Harvey (70) was joined in the middle by number 10 Josh Bowler (49) and they set about chasing the total, both players hitting some hard blows and nudging the run rate down bit by bit. With 3 overs to go just 18 runs were needed.

An excellent over each from Mark McCaughan and Steve Hearsey left Bexhill needing 7 off the last over to be bowled by McCaughan. A couple of quick singles including a scrambled bye to the keeper meant with 3 balls left just 4 was needed. Josh Bowler dug out a great delivery and was called through for the single but was run out at the bowlers end by a distance after quick thinking from keeper Martin Edmonds. With 2 balls to go and the excellent Harvey on strike, the ball was crashed away for what looked like it would be the winning boundary but was stopped at extra cover on the 30 yard circle by a full length sliding stop by Seaford's skipper with the outstretched foot to restrict Bexhill to a single. (I dont know why he fields like that either, but it worked!) This brought the number 11 to face his first ball needing three to win but was beaten and stumped giving Seaford the win by 2 runs.

A great game that both sides seemed to be winning twice and losing twice, easily could have been won by Bexhill but ultimately tipped Seafords way in the end.

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