Hill suffered a damaging defeat at the hands of bottom of the table Eastbourne II on Saturday by 88 runs.

Eastbourne won the toss and elected to bat on what looked a very flat track with a short boundary on one side. Rain threatened but for now it stayed away as Eastbourne started steadily with little alarm as Andrew Ifill opened up and Joe Maskell took the new ball at the other end. Maskell was the pick of the Hill bowling, taking the first two wickets to fall first removing David Twine, playing for Eastbourne 2nds for the first time since 2012, and then Chris Borsoi with a wonderful delivery that rattled into the top of off stump. Maskell’s opening spell of 2-18 from 11 overs was the standout bowling performance on the day. John Purdey and Michael Pannett batted steadily, rebuilding for Eastbourne who cautiously made their way to 80-2 at drinks. George Willett, Peter Billinghay and Hugh Warmisham all came on with varying degrees of success, Billinghay the only bowler to strike as he removed Pannett for 21 caught at first slip by Ifill. Warmisham induced a couple of edges but nothing stuck for the Hill fielders as Eastbourne tried to up the run-rate, even so they were just 114-4 from 40 overs when the umpires took the players off for rain. 8 overs were lost reducing the game to 49/43.

An early tea was taken and an eventful nine overs followed featuring 75 runs, four bowlers, four wickets, three for George Willett who begins next week on a hat-trick and 44 not out for Martyn Garnett from just 30 deliveries.

At the innings interval, it felt like the momentum had shifted. Further rain fell and Hill lost another two overs from their total so that they had only 41 overs to chase 190 for victory. Tom Trowbridge and Tom Penfold opened, David Twine borrowed from the First XI, took the new ball and straight away had Hill on the back foot removing Penfold for just two. Trowbridge and Kev Ramsay batted slowly and pressure paid for Trowbridge who was bowled by a full inswinging delivery from Twine. Ramsay and Luke Vick then shared 24 but Vick fell for 2 and Hill were struggling at 36-3. Ben Hopkins came and went without troubling the scorers, Joe Maskell was unfortunate to be bowled by a grubber that he could do nothing about, only Ifill looked like he might turn the tide and with Ramsay still at the crease Hill still had a small amount of hope that something special might happen. When Ifill drove to point departing for 14 and Phil Wickwar two balls later that hope was all but extinguished. Ramsay brought up his fifty before being bowled by Joe Barnett, Twine accounted for Warmisham, Billinghay struck a brief 10 but was the final wicket to fall as Hill collapsed to 101 all out. Joe Barnet ended with 4-10 and Twine 3-23.

Eastbourne’s 28 points brings them back into contention for safety, while six points for Hill keeps them second bottom, the only saving grace that Brighton and Hove II and Bexhill II were rained off.