Roffey captain Fleming expects twists and turns in title race

Ben Manenti lead the way for Roffey against Brighton & Hove
Ben Manenti lead the way for Roffey against Brighton & Hove

Roffey captain Josh Fleming is expecting plenty of surprises still to come in what he has described as a ‘very open’ race for the Sussex League Premier Division title.

The reigning champions eased to a comfortable seven-wicket win at home to Brighton & Hove on Saturday to climb back up to second in the table above East Grinstead.

They also narrowed the gap on leaders Preston Nomads to just seven points after their shock defeat against Cuckfield.

Roffey remain well placed as they have a game in hand over all the teams around them as they are yet to play the Sussex Development XI - meaning they have eight games left to play.

Fleming said: “The title race is very open. I think any team in the current top four could go on and win it.

“For us, it is just about taking it one game at a time and I am sure if we play our best cricket we will be very close.

“There are still so many points to play for that anything can happen and I am sure there will be plenty of twists in the run-in.”

Brighton, having won the toss, opted to bat first and lost Lucas Barker caught behind off Leigh Harrison (2-41) with no-one yet to trouble the scoreboard.

Chris Grammer (39) and Phil Salt (30) helped them along to 104-3, before Sam Grant’s top score of 52 and Jordan Rollings’ 33 took them to 167-6.

Grant was bowled by Rohit Jagota (3-30) and Rollings was caught and bowled by Ben Manenti (4-29). The two Roffey bowlers then saw off the tail with relative ease to leave Brighton all out for 185 in 44.4 overs.

Captain and opener Fleming then led by example as he batted throughout the innings with 45, ably assisted by 40 from Mike Norris and 90 from Manenti, off just 38 balls with 12 fours and six sixes.

The all-rounder fell with the scores tied, leaving the skipper the easy task of hitting the winning run in the 25th over.

He said: “It was a comprehensive win on Saturday. I was very happy to get back to winning ways after drawing last week.

“Brighton were going very strongly at 150-3, but Ben and Rohit were able to pull it back nicely to keep them to a very chaseable 185.

“Ben then played an awesome innings to power us over the line with 40 overs to spare, making it a comfortable win.”

Roffey now host Cuckfield on Saturday, who will be looking to cause their second major upset in as many weeks.