Gritty Horsham get better of Brighton - Davies stars for Roffey

Horsham CC pulled off a commendable, gritty win at home to Brighton & Hove to go second in the Sussex Premier League.

After bowling out Brighton for 165, then being a parlous 62-6 in reply, Horsham did very well to secure victory.

Brighton elected to bat, and at 70-1 there was no hint of trouble, but after the openers, skipper Bryce Hounsome and James Degg, were dismissed for 22 and 32 respectively, three quick wickets for Ben Williams reduced them to 90-5.

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Will Sheffield (27) was aided by the lower order, but Williams finished with 4-29, Will Beer and Nick Cooper grabbing two scalps apiece.

Matt Davies had a fine knock for Roffey / Picture: Derek Martin

A target of 166 is not usually defendable at Horsham HQ but Sheffield took five of the first six wickets, the 21-year-old former Sussex seamer finishing with 6-60.

With 104 still required and just four wickets left, it took considerable resolve from Horsham captain Nick Oxley, with 90 at a shade faster than a run a ball, to take his side to within 12 of victory.

Keeper Sam Bell’s unbeaten 31 from 88 balls got Horsham across the line by two wickets, earning the maximum 30 points.

Oxley said: “They got off to a flyer, but then we bowled well to keep them down to reasonable target, only for Will Sheffield to bowl well, too. When Sam (Bell) came in, I just told him to do what he did last week – and he did! He’s our Mr Reliable and it’s great to have him coming in at eight.

" We’re surprising ourselves with our results at the moment with winning momentum.”

On Saturday, Horsham travel to promoted and in-form Bognor.

Meanwhile, Roffey CC responded well to a stiff target set at Middleton as skipper Matt Davies scored a maiden Premier League century.

But in the end they had to settle for a draw with the hosts pressing to take the last two Roffey wickets.

Davies said: “It was a good game on a flat deck and we didn’t bowl well, really, and we’re still struggling a bit with injurie.

" Mike Norris remains out with a broken toe and Rohit (Jagota), our most consistent all rounder, has hamstring and shoulder problems, so cannot bowl and had to bat down the order, which was a huge loss for us.”

After winning the toss, Middleton got off to the best possible start with evergreen captain Sean Heather and fellow opener Harry Hovey in fine form. Hovey fell for 99 with the score on 181.

The prolific Mahesh Rawat was removed by Harnoop Kalsi but Heather plundered 147 with 10 fours and nine sixes, finally being bowled by Davies. Middleton declared on 302-3, allowing Roffey 55 overs to chase.

Roffey were soon in trouble at 16-2 but Theo Rivers (54) and Davies put on 124, Jagota following up with 53. Davies was out for 113, but Middleton took further wickets, Ajit Sambhi finishing with 5-118. The game ended with Roffey 44 short, and Lewis Shivnarain and James Pearce blocking out the last 17 balls.

Davies said: “While I was thrilled to get my first ton, it was a shame it didn’t give us a win, It’s disappointing to have only got seven points.”

Roffey slip to third, overtaken by Horsham.