Roffey and Horsham are flying in Sussex Premier League

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Roffey CC sit joint top of the Sussex Premier League and Horsham CC are not far behind - as both clubs' skippers express delight with their form. Reports by Martin Read follow...

Out of form visitors Eastbourne optimistically opted to put Roffey in to bat last Saturday and soon regretted it, the hosts going on to set another challenging target, Roffey then bowling Eastbourne out to win by 96 runs with eight and a half overs unused. Only Roffey and East Grinstead have won all of their games to date, the pair jointly heading the table with 88 points each, delighted Roffey skipper Matt Davies telling the County Times: “Three wins from three - we couldn’t have asked for a better start!”

Horsham open season in style.

Roffey recovered from 49-2 courtesy of a 125 run third wicket partnership between opener Rohit Jagota and Davies, who went on the score 102 and 55 respectively, Jagota’s rapid century containing 14 boundaries. Twenties from former captain Josh Fleming and new keeper Sajeer Nizam enabled Roffey to post 267-9 from their 50 over allocation, despite a wobble - Matthew Pope, Jack Meacher and Joseph Sarro taking 2 wickets apiece.

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Horsham's new overseas man Ben ListerHorsham's new overseas man Ben Lister
Horsham's new overseas man Ben Lister

Jagota then continued to torment Eastbourne – grabbing an early wicket while conceding just a single run from his 5 frugal overs. Scott Lenham from the Sussex family dynasty made a patient 62, and Nathan Hover an unbeaten 36, but, with the run rate escalating, wickets fell all too regularly. Harnoop Kalsi finished with 3-35 and Jas Bassan 2-41, Nizam engineering two run outs with the result never being in doubt. Post match Matt Davies said: “Rohit was in a class of his own – the only one who found it easy in the conditions after the rain during the week. He batted effortlessly and I just hung in, enjoying watching him from the other end. Although we lost a clutch of wickets mid order, we finished well and 267 was a good score. Our spinners bowled well and Eastbourne were never really up with the asking rate. We just need to tighten up on our fielding – we dropped a couple of catches again, so we’ve got to put that right, otherwise it’ll come back to haunt us.”

On Sunday Roffey were due to host Kent’s Bickley Park in the ECB National Club Championship (National Cup), but, with Bickley conceding, Roffey expect to visit Blackheath in Round 3 on Sunday June 5th. Meanwhile, in the Premiership this Saturday Roffey travel to 6th-placed Three Bridges, while on Sunday they go to Bromley in the Conference Cup for the Bertie Joel Trophy, with the winner visiting Three Bridges.

Preston Nomads v Horsham

Horsham visited reigning champions Preston Nomads last Saturday, pulling off a strong back to back win, bowling out the opposition for a modest 157 and then knocking off the runs with overs to spare, placing Horsham 4th with 63 points, skipper Nick Oxley enthusing: “I’m very happy with that performance – we were brilliant in all aspects!”

Inserted by Horsham, Nomads were in early trouble, Ed Bird dismissing both openers cheaply. Ben Williams then chipped in with two wickets, while Will Beer took 3-18 from his 10 miserly overs. The remaining spoils were shared by Oxley, and debutant overseas signing from Auckland, left arm quick Ben Lister, Nav Patel top scoring with 32.

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After soon being 18-1 in reply, Horsham opener Ben Chappels steadied the ship with a painstaking unbeaten 45, Beer scoring 53 and, leading from the front, Oxley a rapid 41 not out, enabling Horsham to win impressively – by 8 wickets, despite Patel’s economical 2-22 from his 10 over ration. Nick Oxley told the County Times: “We had some very good personal performances, which is needed to win games. Everyone played their part, which I was very pleased with. And, our new overseas signing, Ben Lister, came in and did a great job up top with the ball, fresh off the plane from New Zealand.”

Elsewhere, Three Bridges lost to East Grinstead, Middleton walloped Hastings, and Premiership newcomers Bognor notched up their first win (against Brighton). With 3 straight losses, Eastbourne is bottom, just below Hastings

On Saturday Horsham will need to remain at their best when they return home to welcome unbeaten joint leaders East Grinstead.