Horsham’s slim title dreams ended after Eastbourne loss, but Lions have a ‘lot to build on’

Joe Ashmore bowling for Horsham CC 1st XI. Photo by Clive Turner
Joe Ashmore bowling for Horsham CC 1st XI. Photo by Clive Turner

Horsham cricket manager Ed Clark was disappointed that their slim title chances have ended but feels they have had a successful season.

The Lions fell to an 80-run away defeat to second-placed Eastbourne on Saturday to dash Horsham’s hopes of a shot at the Premier Division title.

Jamie Thornely bowling for Horsham CC 1st XI. Photo by Clive Turner

Jamie Thornely bowling for Horsham CC 1st XI. Photo by Clive Turner

Batting first, the hosts smashed 301-7 off 50 overs as James Hockley bludgeoned 139 off 123 balls.

In reply, the Lions were bowled all out for 221 off 43.5 overs with Tom Clark making a quickfire 50.

Clark felt that a poor display with the bat hindered the reply but thought Hockley deserved great credit for his knock.

He said: “Once again we’ve fallen foul of another good innings from an opposition batsman which has proved the difference between the two sides.

“Hats off to James for batting the majority of the innings and scoring at a good rate.

“If you’re going to chase 300 you’ve got to keep wickets in hand to chase that score in 50 overs.

“We were well up with the run rate but we then lost two or three wickets quite quickly and then we were really struggling.

“We had a good batting line up as the guys at ten and eleven were more than capable of contributing but they were never going to make 150 between them, we left those guys with far too much to do.”

A 65-run opening partnership from Daniel Arms (22) and Hockey, and a 87-run second-wicket knock from Jacob Smith (31) and Hockley put the hosts on 152-2.

Hockley and Malcolm Johnson added another 81-runs to take them to 246-4 when Hockely was finally out, although they added another 51 in the late stages.

Horsham got off to a good start as Clark and Craig Gallagher (14) put on a 67-run opening stand but, after both went to Smith (3-32), the Lions crumbled.

With none of the top order scoring more than 17, the visitors floundered against the bowling of Smith and Scott Lenham (4-27).

It was left to Jamie Thornely (39*) and Michael Harms (29) at ten and 11, to offer resistance but the pair couldn’t see out the rest of the innings.

Clark feels that Horsham have performed well this season and added: “We didn’t start the season brilliantly but after the first two or three weeks we competed really well.

“We’ve beaten Roffey, East Grinstead, Brighton, Eastbourne away, so all the sides around us we’ve beaten.

“The two games that we will look back on and say have held us back a bit are the two games against Cuckfield.

“We’ve got a lot to build on, we’ve got the basis of a good young side there that play good cricket and get on well and hopefully we can build going forward.”

Horsham host Middleton on Saturday in their final home fixture of the season.