Roffey open up a lead ahead of crunch week in title bid

Cricket: Sussex League Premier Division: East Grinstead (batting) v Roffey. Leigh Harrison takes the wicket of Will Adkin . Pic Steve Robards  SR1623326 SUS-160108-122142001
Cricket: Sussex League Premier Division: East Grinstead (batting) v Roffey. Leigh Harrison takes the wicket of Will Adkin . Pic Steve Robards SR1623326 SUS-160108-122142001

Roffey opened up an 11-point lead at the top of the Premier Division with their seven-wicket hammering of East Grinstead ahead of a ‘massive weekend’.

Coupled with Horsham’s shock defeat at home to Bexhill, Matt Davies’ side went clear at the top with a game in hand as Cuckfield climbed up to second.

Cricket: Sussex League Premier Division: East Grinstead (batting) v Roffey. Leigh Harrison  . Pic Steve Robards  SR1623309 SUS-160108-122052001

Cricket: Sussex League Premier Division: East Grinstead (batting) v Roffey. Leigh Harrison . Pic Steve Robards SR1623309 SUS-160108-122052001

Reigning champions Roffey could now go a long way to clinching their historic hat-trick of titles this weekend when they face Preston Nomads and the Sussex Development XI.

Leigh Harrison grabbed 4-33 on Saturday, backed up by George Fleming’s 3-38 as Roffey won the toss and bowled out their hosts for 126.

Rohit Jagota then scored an unbeaten half century as Roffey eased to their total for the loss of three wickets in 26.2 overs.

On their upcoming two games, Davies said: “This weekend is massive for us. We have two big games and I kept on saying we would wait until we play the Development side to know where we stand.

Cricket: Sussex League Premier Division: East Grinstead (batting) v Roffey. Leigh Harrison  . Pic Steve Robards  SR1623332 SUS-160108-122214001

Cricket: Sussex League Premier Division: East Grinstead (batting) v Roffey. Leigh Harrison . Pic Steve Robards SR1623332 SUS-160108-122214001

“That has come around now, but no-one is getting too ahead of themselves. We know we were 50 points behind Horsham six weeks ago, so things can change.

“We have got to keep winning games and playing as well as we can and hopefully it will all fall into place.”

Harrison and Jagota (1-18) made early inroads into the Grinstead order on Saturday as their first four batsmen failed to make double figures.

At 23-5, Ollie Graham was already at the crease and he tried to repair the damage as he set about making 47.

Cricket: Sussex League Premier Division: East Grinstead (batting) v Roffey. Regan Derham batting . Pic Steve Robards  SR1623311 SUS-160108-122109001

Cricket: Sussex League Premier Division: East Grinstead (batting) v Roffey. Regan Derham batting . Pic Steve Robards SR1623311 SUS-160108-122109001

But wickets continued to fall around him as Benjamin Davies (30) was the only other batsman to make double figures as they stumbled to 126 all out. Luke Barnard also claimed 2-29 with the ball.

In reply, openers Liam Gibson (17) and Theo Rivers (30) put on 50 for the first wicket.

And although Usman Khan fell for a duck, Alex Southon (18*) and Jagota saw them home with 129-3.

After seeing his side drop to fifth with the result, Grinstead captain Darryl Rebbetts conceded their title hopes were over.

Davies added: “We started really well bowling wise and apart from against Worthing, it was as good as an opening spell we have had all season. They had a couple of partnerships at the end, but we knew that would happen as the wicket good.

“On the whole, we were really pleased considering we went there last year and took no points and again this season and didn’t get any - we were nought from a possible 60 before this game.

“In the reply we were 50-odd for nought and lost a couple of quick wickets, but we knew we were well in the driving seat.

“Leigh takes wickets here and there, but he has been quite unlucky this season, he bowled well and put us in a really good position.”

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