Horsham skipper conceded their title race is over and backs East Grinstead

Horsham v Roffey - cricket. Mika Ekstrom . Pic Steve Robards SR1717595 SUS-170708-115253001
Horsham v Roffey - cricket. Mika Ekstrom . Pic Steve Robards SR1717595 SUS-170708-115253001

Horsham skipper Michael Thornely has conceded that the title is out of their reach and is backing East Grinstead to break Roffey’s dominance.

The Lions moved up to third in the Premier Division as they picked up a 145-run away victory against Brighton & Hove on Saturday.

Thornely said: “East Grinstead have been the best team this year. They’re in the semi-finals of the nationals by playing good cricket.

“It would be nice for someone other than Roffey to win it for once.

“If we finish third that would be a great result for us as we’ve had issues with selection this year.

“There’s been a baby boom in the Horsham squad, which has meant some players have understandably been unavailable.

“Our younger cricketers play a lot of midweek cricket, which is great but means we are less likely to have them.

“I’d be happy with third, but I want us to win all our remaining games.”

In their match on Saturday, Brighton won the toss and elected to field, as Horsham lost David Croshaw before the start of the game due to an ankle injury.

Tom Clark was out for a golden duck before a 64-run partnership between Thornely and Ryan Maskell settled early nerves.

Maskell eventually lost his wicket for 38, and Horsham began to struggle. After the loss of Nick Oxley (seven), 
the Lions added only 18 
runs for the loss of three wickets as the middle order floundered, going from 93-3 to 111-5.

Thornely played a captain’s innings as he top-scored with 66 (five boundaries, four sixes) and anchored the batting well before he was bowled by Jonathan Goldstraw (4-28).

A 44-run last wicket partnership between Liam Ward and Michael Munday saw Horsham go from 155-8 to 199 all out.

Any lingering doubts that Brighton would put up a fight were dispelled as they lost their opening five wickets for just 25 runs.

With only one playing scoring double figures, Horsham’s bowling attack ripped through the opposition batting line-up, bowling out the home side in just over 21 overs for 54.

In what was a superb display of economic and destructive bowling, Mika Ekstrom (4-16) and Munday (2-3) were the pick of the bunch for the Lions.

Thornely was pleased with how his side played, but felt he side could have asserted more dominance.

He said: “Overall it was a good performance but we made it quite hard for ourselves. I wanted to get to 200 but ended up one run short.

“We go off to a good start, but myself and Ryan Maskell were the only real partnership until the last partnership of Liam Ward and Michael Munday.

“I was very frustrated by our batting performance. We haven’t batted as well this year.

“I made it clear that I wasn’t satisfied with the way we batted but if we bowled well there wouldn’t be an issue. I wanted the boys to redeem ourselves with the ball and they did so brilliantly.”

Horsham take on Bexhill at home in the league this Saturday.