Champions Roffey 'weren't anywhere near their best' in win at Middleton

Roffey's Ben Manenti flashed 69 off 54 balls before taking 1-27 at Middleton. Picture by Derek Martin Photography
Roffey's Ben Manenti flashed 69 off 54 balls before taking 1-27 at Middleton. Picture by Derek Martin Photography

Matt Davies revealed that Premier Division champions Roffey ‘weren’t anywhere near their best’ in their 116-run victory at Middleton on Saturday.

The Boars, electing to bat, posted 288-9 off their allotted 50 overs thanks to Ben Manenti’s quickfire 69 off 54 balls. Matthew Reynolds (4-44) was the pick of the Middleton bowlers.

In reply, Theo Rivers (3-35) lead the charge with the ball as the visitors were bowled out for 172 in 38.3 overs to maintain Roffey’s unbeaten record.

Davies said: “It was pleasing to have another convincing win. It is always difficult to motivate yourselves in a dead rubber, having said that, the boys put in a professional performance and we came out comfortable winners.

“We weren’t anywhere near our best, and probably were 50-75 runs short with the bat but the pitch suited our bowlers and we were able to record a comfortable win.

“The highlight was probably hearing that Palace had scored a late winner at Old Trafford as both myself and Ben Manenti are Crystal Palace fans.”

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The Boars asserted their dominance from the off as Manenti and Rivers (39) bludgeoned 109 runs for the opening wicket. The pair, however, both fell in quick succession to the dangerous Reynolds to see the score at 110-2.

New men in Jibran Khan (18) and Rohit Jagota (47) pushed the score to 148-3 before Khan was bowled by Reynolds.

Jagota and Mike Norris (46) then added 54 at four before Norris and Davies (32) struck 55 for the fifth-wicket to put Roffey in total control.

But the loss of Norris to Reynolds sparked a collapse. Fine bowling from Russell Talman (3-40) saw the Boars falter from 257-5 to 267-9.

It was left to Jamie Atkins (nine*) and James Pearce (13* off five) to see out the rest of the innings as the Boars ended on a sizable total.

Roffey made an early breakthrough as Harry Hovey (five) was taken off the bowling of George Fleming at (1-31) at 16-1.

Despite the early setback, skipper Sean Heather (29) and Mason Robinson (15) put on 53 for the second-wicket as Middleton rebuilt.

But the host’s recovery would soon be curtailed. The loss of Heather to Jagota (2-16) at 69-2 saw Middleton crash to 89-5.

Mahesh Rawat (41) and Monty Morgan (22) offered up resistance as they shared a 54-run sixth-wicket partnership but the insatiable Roffey attack continued its rich vein of form.

Morgan was taken by Manenti (1-27) leading to another Middleton collapse. The home side crumbled from 143-6 to 158-9 after a superb spell from the Boars’ Rivers and Alex Collins (2-6).

Brandon Hanley (21) and Talman (seven) stuck around to move the score to 172 but Talman was eventually snagged by Collins to wrap up the victory.

Roffey finish their 2019 Premier Division season at home to Cuckfield. Davies added: “Cuckfield will be a tough test, we want to finish the season on a high.

“Naturally, we have our eyes on the T20 final (against Eastbourne on September 8), but the best preparation for that is time in the middle.”