THE TOWN’S top two cricket sides open their campaigns this Saturday with both looking to build on their respective successes of last year.
Last season’s surprise package Roffey kick off their campaign with a trip to Premier League champions Hastings, while Horsham have a similarly tough task at Eastbourne.
Following the complete wash-out of Invitation League matches last weekend however there is fears the continuing rain could continue into Saturday and cause further disruptions.
Having made such a big impression last year in what was their debut bow in the top flight, Roffey no longer carry the surprise factor.
They have however kept their promising young side in tact, again securing the services of opening Aussie bowler Andrew McGorian, while also adding young strike bowler Abdul Khan from Three Bridges, a player who should also add something down the batting order.
President Peter Cheeseman said: “Really we want to consolidate. We were a big surprise for everybody last year, we were an unknown quantity and just a lot of names on a piece of paper.
“This year will be different, teams will have done their homework and it’s often the second season which tends to catch teams out, but in my view there’s no reason why we can’t do just as well.”
Over at Cricketfield Road, the failure to land an overseas player – along with key unavailabilities – has tempered ambitions at Horsham CC.
Craig Gallagher’s side were agonisingly close to the Sussex Premier League title last season, but for the first time in several years they won’t have a foreign import after attempts to land Kiwi strike bowler Willie Lonsdale failed.
With only all-rounder Hisam Ul-Haq added to the squad from Three Bridges, and the Owain Jones and Dev Endersby away at university for the first half, the side’s batting line up is on the light side.
Skipper Gallagher had set his sights at a title tilt having lost out to Hastings on the final day, but admits that may now be unrealistic. He said: “I think finishing fourth would be a good goal for us, what with Hastings, Nomads and East Grinstead all being strong.
“It is going to be a bit of a survival game for us, particularly for the first half until we get lads back from Uni. If we can hang on until then we should be back up to the same strength of last year.”
Opening batsman James Johnson, Horsham’s top scorer last season, is expected to return most weekends from university, and they again have the guile of spinner Michael Munday to count on alongside fellow leg spinner Will Beer when not on Sussex duty. James’ brother Tom Johnson is also back from Australia and is showing strong potential with both bat and ball.
Meanwhile Sussex League new boys Wisborough Green begin their season by entertaining neighbours Slinfold in Division 3 West.