Roffey retake the lead as title race hots up with Nomads’ loss

Roffey CC V Cuckfield CC  - Matt Donnegan (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150727-082102008
Roffey CC V Cuckfield CC - Matt Donnegan (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150727-082102008

Roffey retook the lead at the top of the Premier Division in a weekend of change as the title race hots up.

The reigning-champions secured a 52-run at home to mid-table Cuckfield, while Preston Nomads dropped to third as East Grinstead beat them to go second.

Roffey CC V Cuckfield CC  - Dodgy Ball (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150727-081952008

Roffey CC V Cuckfield CC - Dodgy Ball (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150727-081952008

Roffey are now four points clear of second - ahead of travelling to East Grinstead this weekend with a game in hand - on 291 and have a 13-point lead over third-placed Nomads.

Home skipper Josh Fleming, who last week said he expected plenty of twists and turns in the race for honours, topscored with 42 after they lost the toss and were inserted.

The opener batted well to help them to 99-4 after losing Theo Rivers (five) and Mike Norris (eight) early to be at 21-2.

Ben Manenti added 22 and Usman Khan 30 as all of the middle-to-lower order added runs after they were in limbo at 109-5. Nick Paterson, however, did continue to take wickets, on his way to 5-90.

Roffey CC V Cuckfield CC  - Matt Donnegan (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150727-082050008

Roffey CC V Cuckfield CC - Matt Donnegan (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150727-082050008

Matthew Donegan scored 29, Matt Davies 21, Stuart Whittingham 24 and Daniel Smith an unbeaten 19 as they closed at 210-9 on 50 overs.

In reply, Leigh Harrison had a ball with the Cuckfield openers as he dismissed the first three for just nine runs between them.

Harry Clark (five) was next out to take the score to 39-4 as third-man in Roston Chase set about his 79. He and Marcus Campopiano (24) put on 69 for the fifth wicket, before George Fleming (4-17) and Manenti (2-40) accounted for them.

With Chase gone with the score on 148-6, Steffan Piolet (15) was the only other score of note as the next four wickets fell for just ten runs with Cuckfield all out on 158.

Fleming said:“It was a good win, especially as we played on quite a wet wicket after it rained all day on Friday. Losing the toss put us on the back foot, but we got stuck in to make a score and then managed to defend it.

“The ball was doing quite a bit early doors so I was quite worried if they got into us early. But quite a few managed to get in and shape us into a defendable total.

“We started well with the ball, but then the seamers bowled quite short and let them back into the game.

“We always knew one wicket (Roston Chase) would change the game and if we did not get him I think they would have won the game.”

The Roffey captain is still adamant there is a long way to go in the title race no matter of their result at East Grinstead this weekend.

He said: “I have not been overly worried about Nomads, who are third, East Grinstead are well in it and Horsham are as well.

“East Grinstead are a good side and I think more of a threat than Nomads, but it is still quite open.

“There is a lot of time to go and I do not think this weekend is a must-win, it’ll be nice to win it, but there are still a lot of points to play for.”

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