Horsham captain Michael Thornely isn’t thinking about taking home the Premier Division title just yet, but feels his side will be well placed if they continue to play good cricket.
The third-placed Lions forced a draw away from home against place-below Cuckfield, leaving them 30 points behind table topping Roffey.
Cuckfield won the toss and opted to bat, setting 247-9 as Jeet Raval topscored with 109, assisted by Nick Patterson’s 34 not out.
In reply, a slow and low-scoring Horsham struggled to chase that down and ended up on 121-7 from 52 overs.
With over half the season gone, the Lions are within touching distance of first place, but Thornely feels his side are a long way off thinking about honours.
He said: “We’re unbeaten so far in the longer format so we’ve really played well since we switched from 50 overs to the longer format.
“I’m happy with how the boys are playing. We should have a lot more players available as the schools have finished so that will be a boost.
“I won’t put the team under pressure I just want them playing good cricket. We’ll have to assess as we get closer to the end of the season.
“From our point of view we are still a long way off thinking about the league. We’ll just be taking it game to game and making sure we will be playing consistent cricket, and making ourselves difficult to beat.
“If we keep playing like that it will keep us in the hunt and hopefully it’ll come down to games later in the season that anyone can win.”
It was early blood for Horsham as Jonny Whiting (1-45) and Mika Ekstrom (1-30) picked up a wicket each to leave Cuckfield 43-2.
Raval was joined by Thomas Weston and the momentum swung Cuckfield’s way as the pair put on 52 before Weston was caught behind off Michael Munday (4-73) for 22.
Raval’s partners came and went, all falling victim to the leg-spin of Munday. The New Zealander was finally out for 109 from 129 balls including 14 fours with the score 183-7.
Patterson added 34 along with a cameo of 13, also not out, from Josh Hayward helped Cuckfield to 247-9 from 58 overs.
In reply, Ryan Maskell (ten), Rhys Beckwith (26) and Thornely (27) were amongst the wickets as Horsham crashed from 63-2 to 69-6 with 27 overs left.
A steady unbeaten 25 from 90 balls from Ekstrom then helped Horsham shut up shop and along with Sam Bell (29*) they saw out the innings.
Thornely said: “It’s good to come out with a draw. I would have liked to have come away with a win but I think we have drawn there the last three years in a row. It seems to be a fixture we can’t quite win unfortunately.
“I think it’s annoying having to ask players to block out but Sam and Mika did a good job of it. It made it quite a comfortable draw in the end from our point of view.
“We’ve got to focus on Nomads this weekend at home. Hopefully we just continue playing and having that fight and determination. That will stand us in good stead as we head towards the business end of the season.”