Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 22nd May 2024

Moment of dissent costs Eastbourne CC their premier status

By Charles Randall

5 September 2012


Dissent by the former Pakistan seam-bowler Mohammad Akram ultimately cost Eastbourne CC their status in the Sussex Premier League. That was the unfortunate knock-on effect of a five-point deduction imposed by the league's disciplinary panel in August.

After a summer of struggle Eastbourne won their final match, beating Roffey by 92 runs at The Saffrons, but other results went against Mark Tomsett's men and they finished in the last relegation slot, only two points below Worthing and safety.

They could look back with regret at that game at Hastings & St Leonards Priory when the much-travelled Akram, 37, was sanctioned for his behaviour on dismissal. Though it could be claimed the dissent element of his annoyance at being given out was only a perception, Eastbourne had to acknowledge that the league viewed such an issue very strictly, a policy that should be condoned.

Relegation was a bitter pill for Tomsett, run out for 100 off 102 balls against Roffey. His third century of the season took his total to an admirable 881 runs, the highest aggregate in the league. Former England seamer Ed Giddins finished as the leading bowler with 21 wickets. Akram, formerly with Sussex and other counties -- relatively new to the side -- took five wickets at Hastings, though Eastbourne still lost by 27 runs, a game they might well have won after 120 from Tomsett. Leg-spinner Josh Poysden turned the game on its head with 8-65 in 17 overs, including the wickets of three former Test players -- Alan Wells, Akram and Giddins, all for ducks.

This success completed a sea-side derby double for Hastings after their crushing 170-run victory at The Saffrons in June. Eastbourne and Bexhill ended up relegated while Preston Nomads swept to the title a long way ahead of Horsham, with Hastings third.

The Eastbourne chairman Ian Fletcher Price told the Eastbourne Herald that the club was "desperately disappointed" and he felt especially sorry for Tomsett after his magnificent season with the bat. "I’m not proud to preside over a team that gets relegated," he said, "but I’m no quitter and we will come back stronger. We have made great steps forward off the pitch and that will allow us to come back stronger."