Martin Read – Sports Reporter
Roffey 249-8 (40 overs) – Horsham 215- 8 (40 overs)
Roffey won by 34 runs
A customary large Roffey crowd was treated to an entertaining game, featuring three fifties, some tight – and wayward – bowling and exceptional catching, culminating in a relatively comfortable win for Roffey.
Amid dire predictions of imminent thunderstorms, Horsham won the toss and inserted Roffey in gloomy, damp bowling conditions, with the hosts setting off briskly with the benefit of a generous sprinkling of wides. Dependable openers Theo Rivers and Rohit Jagota’s hundred partnership came up in the 15th over after Jagota had taken a particular liking to Sussex’s Will Beer, his 18 off one over including two towering sixes into the top field. After Horsham Vice Captain Ben Williams trapped Jagota LBW for 56, a ball stopped on Rivers to be caught and bowled by Nick Oxley for 43, and with two new batsmen at the crease, the scoring rate slowed considerably. But, the tempo picked up when skipper Matt Davies (32) and Mike Norris (50) got into their stride. While subsequent wickets fell in the bid for quick runs, Beer holding a good low catch in the deep, and skipper Michael Thornely diving to pouch another – Oxley finished with 5-37, well supported with two smart stumpings by Joe Willis. But, Roffey Chairman Josh Fleming chipped in with a very useful unbeaten cameo, his 33 containing two sixes into Northolmes School and two boundaries.
Between the innings, a confident Matt Davies said: “They let us get away at the start, but it wasn’t so easy when the ball got soft. The wicket has sweated under the covers and its green and slow with some occasional lift. 220 would be a good score, so we’re fairly happy at this stage.” Mike Norris added: “It was a bit sticky out there and I never quite felt in. We’ve got enough – if we can get Beer and Thornely out!”
In reply Horsham also began brightly, Jamie Atkins bowling fast and furiously from the top end, with Craig Gallagher in positive mode, his 32 boosted by 7 mostly classic fours. By the tenth over Horsham were 60-1, but when Sam Henderson dived to see off Gallagher the momentum faltered, Harnoop Kalsi’s fine low catch dismissed Oxley for 54, his innings taking 85 balls with the asking rate steadily increasing. Thornely, batting at six, made a run a ball 43, but the advent of James Pearce with 4-28 had ripped the heart out of Horsham’s top order, his two stunning outfield catches making him the spectators’ Man of the Match, three late scalps for Rivers ending Horsham’s challenge. Scorecard link: http://sussexcricketleague.
Post match Michael Thornely said: “It was a difficult track and 249 was defendable, and although it was also gettable, Roffey are a good side. Disappointing to lose, but I’m happy with the way we played and our new signing, opening bowler Jake Martin from Steyning, looks a good acquisition.” Matt Davies summed up with: “We posted a decent score and exercised better control through James Pearce and George Fleming – and we fielded well, too.”
This Saturday, Horsham, in search of their first win, visit Three Bridges, while Roffey are at Fulking to take on Preston Nomads, top of their group table.