Roffey CC’s first match of the new season saw them sail through to Round 2 of the ECB National Club Championships with a comfortable six-wicket win away at Ventor.
The 15-hour round trip to the Isle of Wight proved highly fruitful, as a good all-round effort in the field restricted the hosts to 152 all out before a half century from skipper Josh Fleming and knocks from Aaron Jeal (32) and Rohit Jagota (42) guided them home inside 28 overs.
Fleming said: “We played pretty well for our first game, we were good in the field and bowled tightly and then knocked off the runs quite easily. It was a long day, we left Roffey at 8am and didn’t get back until 11pm so it was good we came back with the win.”
After Mark Pavlovic had run out Ventor’s opening batsman with a “ridiculous bit of fielding”, Roffey’s seamers chipped away at the host’s batsmen, Dan Smith ending with best figures of 4-34 while Jagota picked up two wickets.
Roffey lost Craig Williams for a duck third ball of the innings, but an 80-run stand between Jeal and Fleming put the visitors on top and Jagota helped finish the job with a fluent knock which included two sixes.
Flemings side have a tough start to the season, beginning this Saturday with a trip to Brighton & Hove before playing three games against well fancied sides in successive Saturdays - Hastings (home), East Grinstead (away) and Horsham (home).
Roffey have had something of an upheaval over the winter, losing strike bowlers Stuart Whittingham and Andrew McGorian from their seam attack, as well as spinner Luke Barnard. South African seamer Matt Varner has joined as their overseas.
“Brighton is never an easy place to go and win, and then we play three big sides who I expect will be up there,” Fleming said. “It’s difficult to say how we’ll do, we’ve lost our seam attack as well as Barney, but we’ve added a few players as well.”