Horsham captain Sam Attfield labelled their home draw with Premier Division leaders East Grinstead a crucial one in keeping any sort of title aspirations alive.
The home side’s final pair of Stuart Whittingham and Michael Munday saw off 89 balls between them as East Grinstead failed to take the final wicket for victory on Saturday.
The league leaders, after losing the toss and being asked to bat, had made 276 in their 58 overs, and, with Horsham losing early wickets in their reply, they held on to close their chase well short with 158-9.
Attfield admitted they did what they had to do and said: “It was a bit of a losing draw if you like, but it was crucial to draw and not let them win and take the points if we are thinking of aspirations of the league.
“Our bowling was not great, but we stuck with it as we knew they were going to have some partnerships.
“They batted very well and played our bowlers quite well, but we didn’t put it in the right areas early on. Travis (Muller) did bowl well, but we need to be a bit more consistent, really.
“They key was in the chase was not to lose early wickets, which we did, although they did bowl very well.
“We are not a drawing side and do not like to do it. It’s win or lose and I am sure East Grinstead are the same, but we couldn’t lose the points, unfortunately, and had to shut up shop. It does show we have got a bit of determination though, and it sets a president now for the rest of the season.”
A number of impressive middle-orders knocks helped East Grinstead to their total, including 91 from Fynn Hudson-Prentice and 65 from captain Will Adkin.
Muller bowled well for the hosts for 3-35, while Ben Shoare picked up 4-69.
In reply, Horsham lost openers Shoare (three) and John Burroughs (five), and wickets continued to fall with James Johnson (22) and Craig Gallagher (21) offering a little resistance.
Attfield, batting at six, made 35, before Kamau Leverock top-scored with 47, although both were out to Ian Sturmer (5-44), who did some late damage.
It was then down to Whittingham (three) and Munday (four) to see off the final 15 overs between them and secure a vital draw.
The result saw Horsham climb a place and leapfrog Brighton & Hove to fourth in the table. They trail East Grinstead by 29 points.