Haines tipped for the top after his hundred sees Horsham beat Middleton

Tom Haines hit 106 with the bate for Horsham as well as picking up two wickets. Picture by Steve Robards.
Tom Haines hit 106 with the bate for Horsham as well as picking up two wickets. Picture by Steve Robards.

Horsham cricket manager Ed Clark praised his side for a ‘good team performance’ after they beat Middleton at home by seven-wickets on Saturday.

In the Lions last home game of the Premier Division season, the visitors won the toss and elected to bat and hit 252-5 off 50 overs with good knocks coming from captain Sean Heather (107) and wicketkeeper Mahesh Rawat (77).

In reply, Horsham reached the total in 39.3 overs as they made 256-3 thanks to big innings from Tom Haines (106) and stand-in skipper Craig Gallagher (65).

Clark was pleased with the display and felt that their reply showed what a good victory it was.

He said: “It was a good team performance to first restrict them to a score of around 250 on that wicket.

“They were in a strong position with Sean getting 107 and their overseas player making 77 and with about 20 overs to go we thought they were going to score 300.

“We knocked the runs off while only losing three wickets with ten overs to spare, accentuating what a good job we did.”

Mika Ekstrom (2-38) and Haines (2-46) reduced Middleton to 80-2 but a 132-run fourth-wicket partnership between Heather and Rawat saw Middleton go to 212-3.

Heather fell to George Garton (1-32) before Rawat went to Ekstrom at 245-5 before the innings conclusion.

Horsham’s Rhys Beckwith (13) was taken early but a superb 137 second-wicket stand from Haines and Gallagher saw the Lions at 164-2.

Gallagher eventually fell to Anthony Ender (1-31) before Haines and Nick Oxley (39*) added 63 for the third-wicket.

Despite Haines being taken by Matthew Reynolds (1-65), Oxley and Garton (ten*) saw out the game for the Lions.

Clark felt that the game was won not only by a sparkling knock from Haines but great bowling from Horsham.

He added: “Mika and Tom picked up the wickets but you look at the economies from the spinners and everyone bowled tidily and kept the runs down which in a limited overs game is just as important as picking up wickets.

“For a young lad Tom batted with maturity and he didn’t take any chances at all.

“It just shows what a good player he is and hopefully he can carry on like that for many years for Horsham, Sussex, and maybe higher than that.”

The Lions travel to recently crowned Premier Division champions Roffey for a local derby in their final game of the season.

Clark conceded that the Boars have had a good season but wanted Horsham to spoil Roffey’s title party.

He said: “They’ve had another fantastic season and they have the potential to win four trophies, so hats off to them, but we will be going there to compete and make sure we pick up local bragging rights.

“Despite being rivals we must hold our hands up and say well done but that doesn’t mean we won’t be trying to win on Saturday.”