Fleming admits every loss is a title dent as Nomads beat Roffey

Roffey CC V Preston Nomads. Roffey's Stuart Whittingham batting (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151105-093157008
Roffey CC V Preston Nomads. Roffey's Stuart Whittingham batting (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151105-093157008

Reigning champions Roffey got their title defence off to stuttering start with a four-wicket defeat to last year’s closest rivals Preston Nomads.

Josh Fleming’s side finished last season 53-points clear of their second-place rivals as they cruised to their maiden Premier Division crown.

But the visitors and well-established side look as though they are out to stake a claim at retaking their crown this season.

It was first blood to Jeremy Green’s side on Saturday as they edged a close clash – leaving Fleming to admit that every loss will put a dent in tile defence.

Having won the toss they asked Roffey to bat and they set about making 171 in 56 overs.

It was a disjointed innings saved by a late unbeaten 43 from tenth-man in Stuart Whittingham.

Opener Fleming made 17 and Theodore Rivers 21, before a middle innings of 26 from Ben Manenti and 29 from Daniel Smith.

With the ball, it was Carl Simon and Kashif Ibrahim who did the most damage. They claimed four wickets apiece for the expense of 53 and 33 runs respectively.

Fleming said: “It was very disappointing to lose. We were 20-30 short, but 171 was still a competitive total.

“We went from 50-1 to 52-4 in the space of a couple of overs which put us on the back foot.

“Stu Whittingham and Dan Smith batted very well to give us something to bowl at.”

In reply, Nomads’ Oliver Gatting (43) and Daniel Phillips (27) put on an opening stand of 33, before Gatting and Green (16) took them to 75-2.

George Fleming (2-18) grabbed two quick wickets, but an unbeaten 20 from Ibrahim and 39 from Carl Simon saw them over the line with four wickets in hand in the 42nd over.

Leigh Harrison (1-28), Manenti (1-62) and Rohit Jagota (1-14) took Roffey’s other wickets.

Fleming added: “We bowled well as a team and fought hard in the field. At 120-6, it looked like we might win it, but the experience of Kash and Carl got them home and they batted very well to win it.

“Every loss is a title dent but it was a bad toss to lose and things could have been very different had we won the toss on a pitch doing a bit.

“They are a good side but we are still very disappointed. I think East Grinstead will be the team to beat this year.”