Cricket – Annual Horsham Lions Youth Tournament
Martin Read – Sports Reporter
This year’s annual Horsham Lions Club sponsored Youth Six a-Side Cricket Competition, the 31st, was held – for the first time – at the inspirational Handcross Park School, once again jointly organised with the local IDentilam Colts League as a tournament for Under 14 year old players, contesting for The Horsham Lions Challenge Cup and Plate.
The state of the art facilities at the iconic grounds encouraged young players from across Sussex and Surrey, competing on round robin basis, with the top two teams going directly into the final for The Horsham Lions Cup and the runners up proceeding to the Plate
Competition. Hard fought battles ensued, featuring closely contested local derbies going right down to the wire in the preliminary 10 over matches, resulting in a three team tie, the sides losing the least number of wickets being the deciding factor, along with the amount of extras conceded. Southwater and Three Bridges got through to the knockout stages, while West Chiltington and East Grinstead proceeded to the Plate competition. Both the main Final and the Plate showcased tight bowling and attacking stroke play with the outcome uncertain until the very end. In the Plate, East Grinstead posted 51-1, Captain Paath Nagpal top scoring with 22, but Southwater went on to win with five balls remaining. Whereas, in the Cup Final Three Bridges batted first, opener Ahmed Ali making 43, supported by 21 from Luqman Makeem, with Bridges finishing on 68 without loss. When Southwater replied Bridges were intent on restricting Frankie Mills, who had scored 62 in his previous game, but they overlooked Frankie’s opening partner Freya Bell, another attacking player. But, needing to score four runs off the final ball, Freya went for a big leg side hit and was well caught just inside the boundary, Southwater falling just three runs short, with Frankie contributing 33 and Freya 28. Tom Osborne of Horsham Lions and Peter Garland, Secretary of The IDentilam League, congratulated all of the teams for the fantastic feast of cricket, paying special tribute to the scorers, umpires and administrative team organisers. Lions members and friends also received warm praise for providing the outstanding cakes and refreshments throughout the day. And, special thanks were given to Tim Aspeling, his Letting Team and the ground staff at Handcross Park School for the provision of such a superb venue. The most enjoyable day concluded with Lions President Clare Wilson, assisted by Peter Garland, presenting the Horsham Challenge Cup to Three Bridges and the Plate to West Chiltington.