Horsham and Roffey derby double has title race and T20 Cup final at stake

Cricket. Gray-Nicolls T20 Cup semi-finals.  Horsham v Roffey.''Pictured bowling for Horsham is Micheal Munday.'Horsham, West Sussex.'Picture: Liz Pearce 23/07/2017'LP170410 SUS-170724-080155008
Cricket. Gray-Nicolls T20 Cup semi-finals. Horsham v Roffey.''Pictured bowling for Horsham is Micheal Munday.'Horsham, West Sussex.'Picture: Liz Pearce 23/07/2017'LP170410 SUS-170724-080155008
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A cricketing feast will be had between the town’s top sides as Horsham and Roffey face off in a crucial double derby weekend.

The two teams first meet at Cricketfield Road in the Premier Division on Saturday, but will be back to do battle once again in the rearranged Gray-Nicolls T20 Cup semi-final hours later.

The Lions see the first game as a ‘must win’ to keep their title hopes alive by closing the gap on their old foes. They trail league leaders Roffey by 53 points and sit in fourth place in the standings.

In an 11.30am start on Sunday, a place at Hove on finals day on Bank Holiday Monday at the end of the month will be at stake.

Rearranging the game - which was called off on due to rain on July 23 - has proved tricky as a result of Horsham’s ECB National Club T20 commitments, a competition they were knocked out of on Sunday.

The original fixture had been blasted as a ‘shambles’ after the other semi-final match between Hastings and Preston Nomads was decided by a bowl out, won by the latter.

Michael Thornely’s side, are unbeaten in the league since Roffey completed an eight-wicket win over them in June.

They went on to win their next four games and drew the next two, before a cancelled game at Hastings and Saturday’s abandonment at Middleton.

Roffey meanwhile are aiming to win all their remaining games to see out their current one-point lead over chasing East Grinstead.

Horsham’s cricket manager Ed Clark said: “It’s a must-win for us; at 50 points behind and with six games to go it would be difficult - but not impossible for us to win the title without a win.

“A win would make the title-race wide open. It would be very interesting with East Grinstead and Cuckfield up there.

“We’ve hard some really hard-fought contests with Roffey over the last four or five years. We’ll be very motivated to get a win after a heavy defeat at their place earlier in the season.

“It should be a good crowd for the game, the weather is forecast to be good and we should have close to a full team out.”

“On Sunday we are at home again and are really looking forward to it - it should be a good week for the club and the town.”

Roffey coach Simon Fearnley said: “As far as Saturday is concerned it is just another game of cricket that the first-team players look forward to.

“While it’s a game the town and two sets of supporters of the teams look forward to, for us it is very much just another game of cricket in our aim to win the league this year.”