Horsham and Roffey cricketers glad to get competitive again

Horsham captain Michael ThornelyHorsham captain Michael Thornely
Horsham captain Michael Thornely
Horsham’s top two cricket teams will be relieved to play some competitive cricket at last on Saturday – the same day county cricket also returns.

The Sussex League season should have started almost three months ago, so it has been a long, frustrating wait for Horsham and Roffey CC’s players and officials.

Many have been pushing for an earlier return for recreational cricket and, amid fears that players would drift away from the game, questions were even asked in the House of Commons as to why the game was in limbo.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yet, cricket is the first recreational team sport to emerge from lockdown and, with England’s Test series against the West Indies reaching its conclusion behind closed doors, the professional game has been the first sport to allow spectators to attend – albeit on a trial basis at pre-season county friendlies at The Oval and Edgbaston.

Other sports are hoping it will be possible to follow cricket’s example.

With the season starting so late, the Sussex League programme has been cancelled and replaced by the 1st Central August Cup tournament, featuring five qualifying matches on each of the Saturdays of the month.

Well over 200 of the 342 teams throughout the entire Sussex League pyramid have entered the cup, which will be played in a 40-overs-per-side win/lose format.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Horsham and Roffey are in a tough Group A1, along with Brighton & Hove, Middleton, Preston Nomads and Three Bridges.

On Saturday Horsham travel to Brighton & Hove and Roffey entertain Middleton in 12.30pm starts.

After last season’s relegation from the Premier for the first time, Horsham have been working hard to restore their reputation, signing new vice-captain Ben Williams and Louis Storey from Billingshurst.

And, with an impressive attendance at net practices, they will have a strong nucleus, including skipper Michael Thornely, an ex-county pro, evergreen Craig Gallagher, former MCC Young Professional all rounder Nick Oxley and probing left arm bowler James Brehaut.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

* Serial Premier League winners Roffey are raring to go in the August Cup, having carried the National Cup flag for Sussex in recent seasons.

Ever-competitive Roffey are a well drilled, well organised, and well balanced unit.

With Rohit Jagota’s skill with bat and ball, backed by quality all-rounders, Roffey will be as keen as ever to lift a trophy in the truncated season.

Captain Matt Davies said: “We haven’t actually played a competitive fixture yet as our scheduled friendly with Preston Nomads was rained off. It has been nice to return to full time training and we are looking forward to some competitive cricket, starting this weekend with our home game against Middleton.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It isn’t going to be the same as a league season but it is a great opportunity for us to give experience to a number of talented young players. It is the perfect chance for them to get used to playing in the first team and testing themselves at a higher level without the pressure of a league season. Naturally, we want to be competitive.”