A depleted Broadwater Cricket Club team suffered their first West Sussex Invitation League Division 1 defeat of the season on Saturday.
The league leaders were without Graham Merritt-Blann, James Salisbury, James Iago and Fitzroy Hodges to name a few in their 104-run defeat at Eastergate.
Despite the loss, Broadwater remain top with a 17-point lead over Felbridge & Sunnyside in second spot.
With so many first-team regulars missing, it looked an uphill task for Nigel Waller’s team and that proved the case.
Eastergate made the most of Broadwater’s second string seam attack with Justin Poyser (58), Jack Stannard (40) and Nick Smith (35) contributing as they posted 214 for six after choosing to bat.
Graham Waller (36) made a solid start but lost several partners with Broadwater 17 for three at one stage.
Paul O’Sullivan then came in and struck 46 but that was not enough to prevent his side from being bowled out for 112 in 38.1 overs.
Despite fielding a weakened side, Nigel Waller felt Broadwater were beaten by the better team and said: “Full credit to Eastergate, they deserved the win and played some really good cricket.
“It wasn’t ideal for us with so many players missing but we did the best we could in the circumstances.
“I had a couple of players who hadn’t played in four years, while another was making his first-ever appearance in the first XI.
“I can take nothing away from the 11 who went onto the field for us.
“The area of real concern for us was the bowling and that proved to be the case.
“Both James Iago and James Salisbury were missing for us.
“With those two out it left us a little short with the ball, Corey Cogan who usually keeps for us was forced to bowl, while my brother, Graham, also bowled for the first time in several years.
“That’s taking nothing away from Eastergate, they performed well on the day and fully deserved the victory.
“We’ve got a few coming back on Saturday and we’ll need those against a tough team like Littlehampton.
“They haven’t won yet but I’m aware of what dangerous players they have.”
Broadwater host last season’s second-placed finishers on Saturday with an earlier start time of midday.
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