Horsham vice-captain gives upbeat assessment after August Cup exit

Horsham celebrate one of Ben Williams' four wickets / Picture: Peter WillisHorsham celebrate one of Ben Williams' four wickets / Picture: Peter Willis
Horsham celebrate one of Ben Williams' four wickets / Picture: Peter Willis
Horsham vice-captain Ben Williams believes the club are in a better place than they were a year ago - despite their exit from the August Cup.

They bowed out of the cup after Middleton had won the toss and posted a useful score on a slow wicket at Cricketfield Road, with 43 extras costing Horsham dear.

But Williams said the shortened season had not been without benefits.

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He said: “We’ve made definite progress on and off the field – playing, practising and sociably – and there’s a much better feel about the club with a much more positive outlook.

Success for Jimmy Brehaut / Picture: Peter WillisSuccess for Jimmy Brehaut / Picture: Peter Willis
Success for Jimmy Brehaut / Picture: Peter Willis

“There are some great youngsters coming through and the Sussex pros, especially Will Beer, have been fantastic with their application and help with the development of our emerging talent, so we have every reason to look forward to building on this season’s advancement in all three teams.”

Saturday’s opponents Middleton rely heavily on the top batting of their evergreen skipper Sean Heather and Harry Hovey, who, in the previous four August Cup games, had posted almost 400 runs between them.

But at Horsham they both came in down the order, Hovey providing acceleration excactly when it was needed after a quiet start, just 32 runs coming from the first 10 overs.

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A good catch by Paul Williams off Horsham vice-captain Ben Williams saw off Jack Dawling after Jimmy Brehaut had bowled fellow operner Finlay Allen, and at the 20-over halfway stage, Middleton had a modest 79-2.

Wicketkeeper Mason Robinson made a patient 52, and Jack Carson, recently in the Sussex side, was caught and bowled off a skier by Paul Williams.

Brehaut (2-38) and Ben Williams (4-34) chipped away at Middleton’s middle and late batting, but Hovey’s rapid 44 with a six and seven fours got the visitors past the 200 mark, aided by some spilled chances

Sussex’s Tom Clark, with Craig Gallagher, got Horsham off to a brisk start, but at 55-3 there was still much to be done.

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The reliable pairing of Nick Oxley and skipper Michael Thornely carried the score to 95 without further loss at the midway point of the innings, with much depending on how close they could get the hosts to the target.

But, although some sunshine had quickened the outfield, the wicket was not conducive to free scoring, as witnessed by the abnormally high number of dot balls.

When Oxley was caught in the deep for 40 trying to clear the rope and Thornely was bowled for 66 in a desperate slog for runs, a flurry of late wickets heralded Horsham’s demise, Carson finishing with 3-28.

Thornely told the County Times: “It wasn’t a normal Horsham wicket – it was very difficult to get the ball away.

“Hovey whacked it when we thought they might not get more than 175, which would have been manageable – and they caught better than we did.”