Roffey beat relegation rivals Brighton to edge away from immediate danger

JPCT 290613 Cricket, Roffey v Preston Nomads. Rohit Jagota batting for Roffey. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 290613 Cricket, Roffey v Preston Nomads. Rohit Jagota batting for Roffey. Photo by Derek Martin

A much-needed victory over relegation rivals Brighton on Saturday saw Roffey pull away from the drop zone.

In near perfect batting conditions at the Main Ground, hosts Roffey bowled and fielded well to restrict Brighton to 202-9 from their 58 overs.

An 84-run first wicket stand from skipper Josh Fleming and Rohit Jagota set up the successful chase and they got home to a six-wicket win in 40 overs.

It was a first league win in three matches and saw Roffey climb two places to seventh, although it remains extremely tight and their gap over the bottom two is 14 points.

Relieved captain Fleming said: “We knew it was a game we had to win. Going into it we were both in the bottom two so it was a must win and we fancied our chances as our home form is usually good.

“We bowled tight and took our chances early on and we didn’t really ever allow them to get going.”

Fleming’s troops got off to the perfect start by taking a wicket from the very first ball after Brighton had won the toss and opted to bat first.

Guy Williamson attempted a pull off Matt Varner but only managed to send the ball high in the air and wicketkeeper Aaron Jeal made up ground to get under it and take a super one-handed diving catch.

Waheed Safi and Chris Grammer then steadied things with a stand of 36, but they struggled to score freely and wickets were taken regularly - including an excellent run out from Mike Norris - to leave Brighton in trouble at 99-7.

Paul Hardwick with 37 and Matt Wood with a top score of 47 led a late rally as the visitors just edged past the 200 mark.

Jagota grabbed the best bowling figures of the day with 3-36.

The Indian batsman then opened the batting with Fleming, and together they put on a fluent 84. Jagota was the first to fall with 40, followed by his skipper on 49.

Fleming said: “We managed to get off to a dream start, the pitch was good and we put away the bad balls and before long we were 50-0 off five overs and then 80-0 off 11.”

And on Jagota, the side’s most consistent man with the bat this season he added: “He’s going to get a big score soon, you can just sense it. He’s playing well and been quite unlucky, he’s due a really massive score.”

The rest of Roffey’s top order then all delivered without one player getting that big individual score.

Chris Webb hit 35 off 57 balls including the host’s only six. His and Norris’s wickets fell in successive overs but with four wickets down Matt Davies with 29 and George Fleming with 21 hit the winning runs.

Knowing his side are still not clear from trouble Fleming added: “I think anyone in this league, apart from Horsham and Nomads who are going for the title can get relegated. We have a bit of breathing space but it’s so tight all the way down from third.”