Horsham overcome Billingshurst in T20 Cup while Roffey crash out
The opening rounds of the Sussex T20 Cup on Saturday saw contrasting fates for Horsham CC and Roffey CC.
With rain a crucial factor, Horsham sailed through at Billingshurst CC, whereas strong contenders Roffey exited the competition on day one.
At Billingshurst, the hosts had a relatively comfortable win against Broadwater CC, Hurst posting 140-5, thanks to a bustling 58 from opener Paul Osborne – whose innings was terminated by a stunning catch by wicketkeeper Steve Murphy - and 42 from Josh Wood, despite two economical wickets apiece from James Salisbury and James Horn.
At the mid-point of Broadwater’s reply they had reached 71-2, through 49 from Graham Waller, but, at 93-5, 48 runs were needed from the last five overs.
Graham Merritt-Blann was hitting freely - until Osborne caught him off a skyer for 31, allowing Hurst victory by 17-runs with skipper Mike Burroughs telling the County Times: “I didn’t think we’d got quite enough, but it’s great to get an early win!”
Horsham were inserted in the second game, and at 50-5 with the cream of their batting gone, and Simon Labbert injured and unable to continue, alarm bells rang, Alex Lowther taking 4-26.
Enter former captain Sam Attfield, whose unbeaten 41, including four fours and a six enabled Horsham to post a respectable 121.
Earlier rain had freshened the wicket and, against the lifting ball, while there were five double figure contributions, Hurst had no answer to economical bowling, Ed Bird (2-12) regularly beating the bat.
A smart Sam Bell stumping, an over-the-shoulder steepling catch by Tom Johnson, a clinical run out by Craig Gallagher, plus Paul Williams’ 3-20 and Ben Williams’ 2-13, secured a relatively comfortable 18-run Horsham win.
Horsham captain Michael Thornely said: “We would have liked more runs, but we were in the game as long as we bowled well – and we did. I couldn’t be happier!”
In the next round Horsham visit Goring CC on Sunday, May 30. Meanwhile they start their league campaign with a home match against Lindfield CC this Saturday (12.30pm).
At Cuckfield CC, Ifield CC chose to bat, Daniel Groves making an unbeaten 49, but, with four bowlers grabbing a wicket each, only two other batsmen reached double figures and the visitors’ 110-5 was insufficient.
Although Alfie Pyle took 3-23, a 50-run opening partnership between wicketkeeper Bradley Gayler (21) and Joe Ludlow, anchoring the innings with 47 not out, allowed Cuckfield to ease home by five wickets with overs to spare.
Rain set in for the second game, with, crucially, strong cup contenders Roffey put in to bat with reduced overs.
Josh Hayward and Sam Candfield shared the wickets, but Roffey scored a useful looking 122 off 13 overs, courtesy of a rapid 50 from Mike Norris and 30 and 25 respectively from openers Rohit Jagota and re-signed Usman Khan.
More rain further truncated the game, with Cuckfield given nine overs to get 85 runs to win, which they did, comfortably: an unbeaten 49 from Joe Ludlow sealing Roffey’s fate.
Disappointed Roffey skipper Matt Davies said: “We batted well, but losing the toss was vital. The ground was rock hard and after heavy rain the ball was like a bar of soap and we didn’t bowl and field quite well enough.
"We’ll be concentrating on the league now – and our big National Cup game v Reigate at home on May 15."
Before that, Roffey seek swift revenge when Cuckfield visit for the Premier Division opener this Saturday, 11.30am start.