Roffey boost Sussex premier league - but now Horsham lie in wait

Roffey CC increased their lead at the top of the Sussex Premier Division to 19 points ahead of Saturday’s huge top-of-the-table clash at old foes Horsham.

Roffey celebrate running out Sam Cooper | Picture: Mark Dunford
Roffey celebrate running out Sam Cooper | Picture: Mark Dunford

With closest contenders Horsham and East Grinstead drawing their game, Roffey bowled out Three Bridges for 147 after the visitors elected to bat.

Boars skipper Matt Davies said: “This was quite a comfortable 30-point win for us - we took our time because we didn’t want to lose too many wickets, making it look like a close game, and we had plenty still in the tank at the end.

"The wicket was hard and dry with good carry, but it also took spin, which, with Jas [Bassan] and Harnoop [Kalsi] in our line up, was perfect for us.

Jas Bassan helps Roffey to victory over Three Bridges | Picture: Mark Dunford

"It’ll be a big game at Horsham on Saturday.”

Horsham beat Roffey by one wicket in a low scoring match early in the season, and with bragging rights – and perhaps the destination of the title – at stake, Roffey are keen to redress the balance at Cricketfield Road.

Against Bridges, Bassan made early inroads, dismissing four of the first six batsmen – two batsmen being caught and bowled.

Sam Cooper top-scored with 38 before being run out, but Bridges lost wickets at regular intervals, Kalsi polishing off the innings with 3-29.

Roffey had 57 overs to get the runs. Opener Theo Rivers finished unbeaten on 67, supported by Usman Khan’s 33. Bridges did take three wickets, but Roffey were never under any real pressure.

East Grinstead v Horsham - Sussex premier

Horsham had to settle for a draw at East Grinstead in a third-v-second Sussex Premier Division clash at the Saint Hill Ground.

Horsham set a demanding target, but, despite five wickets from Ben Williams, East Grinstead batted out for a draw, moving Horsham down to third, one point behind their hosts, and 20 shy of leaders Roffey.

Put in to bat, Horsham got off to an excellent start with a 102-run opening stand between former Horsham Rugby captain Tom Johnson and the in-form Joe Willis.

When Willis was out for 38, Johnson ploughed on, eventually finishing on 112 from 100 balls, featuring 12 fours and five sixes.

Will Beer chipped in with 28, before skipper Nick Oxley made 30 and Ollie Haines 28, Horsham ending on 284 all out, Bradley Hatchett taking 6-92.

The pitch was good and opener Will Adkin cashed in with an impressive 116, but Williams kept whittling away, taking all but one of Grinstead’s wickets.

Twenties from Leo Cammish, Bradley Hatchett and Thanvi Choudhury, and 32 from skipper Tom Haynes kept Grinstead in the hunt, but time ran out with two new batsmen at the crease yet to score, with four wickets untaken and Grinstead 26 runs short.

Horsham cricket manager Williams told the County Times: “Tom (Johnson) was fantastic – he batted so positively yet made sure that he went big, then our support batting looked very solid, until, from 259-5, we fell away a bit - but we posted a decent challenge.

"We then bowled well as a unit again, but Will Adkin is a serious player and his excellent century was largely responsible for keeping us at bay.

"It was a great game of cricket, though, and, with five games to go we remain in a good position, and if we can beat Roffey at home this Saturday then we’re still very much in contention – which we weren’t really anticipating!”