Horsham CC warm up for Sussex League season with win over Middleton

After winning the toss in superb Easter weather, Horsham CC jump-started their season with an excellent win in a competitive friendly against a strong Middleton side at Cricketfield Road.

They scored 258-7 off their 45-over allocation and then bowled out the visitors to win with seven balls to spare.

Horsham’s openers, wicketkeeper Joe Willis and Ollie Haines (accompanied in the Horsham line-up by siblings Harry and Alfie while elder brother Tom, Sussex skipper, was performing miracles for the county at Derby) created a telling 130 run platform.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Willis retired after reaching a century, including 14 fours and a six at better than a run a ball.

Joe Willis batting for Horsham CC v Middleton CC

Ollie Haines, Sussex’s Will Beer, and Nick Oxley all contributed 20s, newcomer Ben Chappels finishing on 35 not out, while Charlie Maginnis and Ajit Sambhi took three wickets apiece.

In reply Middleton started promisingly, but, after notching up 60 for the first wicket, they slipped to 85-4, thanks to 3-9 in five overs from Beer, and a Ben Williams run out.

Sean Heather and Mahesh Rawat are two top Sussex Premier League players, who have punished Horsham and many other clubs in the past, but this time they both fell cheaply to Beer.

Horsham then reduced the visitors to 133-6, ahead of a worrisome 72-run partnership, mainly due to a quick-fire innings by Murray Carter, but once he was bowled by James Brehaut for 80, Nick Cooper’s three scalps whittled away the tail for Horsham to win by a relatively comfortable 23 run margin.

Happy new Horsham captain Oxley told the County Times: “It was a really pleasing day for us – it’s always good to beat a decent team from the same league. We were without regular first teamers Tom Johnson and Michael Thornely, so we needed the young players to step up, and they did. The last time I skippered was when I played for Sussex Under 17s. I know it’s going to be a demanding season but I’m going to enjoy working with coach Will Beer and the rest of the team.”

Joe Willis said: “Middleton were at full strength bowling, so it was great to start off the new season with my first century for Horsham first team. And, it was really enjoyable batting out there to get us off to a good start with Ollie.” Haines added: “It was an excellent wicket and didn’t feel like April at all!”

On Saturday Horsham welcome promoted Haywards Heath for the second warm-up game before they venture to Pagham in the Sussex T20 Cup on Saturday, April 30.