Horsham captain Thornely says ‘there is no reason we can’t win the league’

Horsham v Roffey - cricket. Mika Ekstrom . Pic Steve Robards SR1717595 SUS-170708-115253001
Horsham v Roffey - cricket. Mika Ekstrom . Pic Steve Robards SR1717595 SUS-170708-115253001

Michael Thornely has set his sights on getting the glory day back to Horsham and says there is no reason they cannot win the title this season.

The Sussex Cricket League Premier Division crown was last won by the Cricketfield Road outfit back in 2004.

A number of new additions to the side have offset some key departures and former Sussex and Leicestershire batsmen Thornely has talked up their chances of competing for honours.

The Lions finished fourth last year, 70 points behind champions East Grinstead, but Thornely believes ‘more consistency’ can put them right in the mix.

He said: “Personally I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming season and I’m privileged to have the captaincy again this year.

“I really enjoyed the challenge of captaining the club especially for the club I started my career at. I learnt so much as a junior here and I owe a lot to the club. It also acted a great stress relief after a tough week at work. Hopefully I’ve got a few years left in me at least.

“Our aim is to win the league and there’s no reason why we can’t do that this year. Over the past couple years we’ve been top of the league for significant parts of the season, but just haven’t been able to maintain it all the way through to the end of the season. If we can be more consistent this season we should be in with a shout going into the last few games.”

Wicketkeeper Ryan Maskell has returned to Bognor after just one season at Horsham, while club stalwart Michael Munday has left for a new challenge at Reigate.

Incoming is Joe Ashmore from Bognor, who finished as the third-highest wicket taker in the league last season with 47 scalps. While popular South African Mika Ekstrom will return as the club’s overseas.

Thornely added: “Unfort-unately we’ve had a couple players leave over the winter which is a shame.

“Ryan Maskell has decided to go back to his home club, Bognor. This is a shame as he made a significant impact in his first year at the club, but we have great replacement already at the club in Michael Harms.

“Most disappointingly though is Michael Munday decided to leave and join Reigate. We wish him well and I’m sure he’ll continue to be very successful.

“On a positive note, Joe Ashmore has decided to join us from Bognor. He had a great season last year and offers a lot with both the bat and ball. He’ll be a great asset on the pitch I’m sure.

“Lastly, our 2017 overseas Mika is returning for a second season. He leads the attack brilliantly with the ball last year and showed signs of what he can do with the bat.

“He’s a very well-liked person around the club and we can’t wait to see him back this season. Hopefully, we’ll have a couple other additions to talk about come the start of the season.”

Horsham begin their league campaign on Saturday, May 5, away to reigning champions East Grinstead. Their first derby with Roffey takes place at Cricketfield Road on June 30 – the return fixture is the final day of the season (September 1).