Horsham skipper hails perfect start with greater tests to come

Sussex player Will Beer performed well with both bat and ball, and formed a good partnership with fellow Sussex youngster Ben Shoare (below).
Sussex player Will Beer performed well with both bat and ball, and formed a good partnership with fellow Sussex youngster Ben Shoare (below).

Horsham took advantage of the weather disruptions at almost every other ground by claiming a maximum points victory on the opening day of the Sussex Cricket League season away at Bexhill.

In extremely blustery conditions which new Horsham skipper Sam Attfield said were the “worst we have ever played in” the visitors blew their newly promoted hosts away to breeze to a perfect 30-point victory.

Sussex Academy intake 2014 - Ben Shoare ENGSUS00120140129134958

Sussex Academy intake 2014 - Ben Shoare ENGSUS00120140129134958

Young fast bowler Stuart Whittingham was Horsham’s star performer with the ball, claiming figures of 4-27 in a good team bowling and fielding display in testing conditions which saw Bexhill bowled out for 118 in 44 overs.

Horsham’s Sussex players Ben Shoare and Will Beer then knocked off most of the target with 44 runs apiece - opener Shoare carrying his bat and holding the innings together with a patient knock, which allowed Beer the licence to cut loose and score at a rate of nearly a run a ball.

Attfield said: “That’s 100 per cent so far (with two cup wins last weekend) so we can’t complain. It’s certainly something to build on for the season against not the strongest of opponents.

“Next week will be far harder at home to Hastings, and then the Saturday after we are at home to Preston Nomads. So there’s a big couple of weeks coming up which made it really important to get off to a winning start.”

Heavy rain the night before led to a delayed start, though the wicket and outfield weren’t the concern as Horsham won the toss and stuck their hosts into bat. Despite the unnaturally strong wind, young paceman Whittingham got his line and length right and after bowling Malcolm Johnston for a duck early on, took three of the first four wickets, the other a run out.

Max Finzel hung around for his 30, while Shawn Johnson made a quick 27, but Whittingham bowled both of them, with overseas seamer Travis Muller also bowling well and unlucky with some LBW decisions going against him.

It was left to spin duo Beer and Munday to knock off the tail, Munday taking 2-10 and Beer 1-23.

In reply Horsham overcame the early loss of John Burroughs as Shoare and Beer put on a stand of 44, and when Beer departed and a few wickets quickly fell, Shoare dug in and, helped by Tom Johnston with an unbeaten 18, saw Horsham home to an important opening day victory.

“We were desperate to get the game played because we knew it was a good opportunity to get maximum points,” Attfield said. “The wind was just crazy, it was the worst conditions we’ve ever played in, it wasn’t ideal.”

On Whittingham’s four-wicket haul he said: “He bowled really well and was rewarded for bowling straight and getting his length spot on. Travis also bowled really well, he was unlucky with a few decisions, and we fielded well as a team and got a few run outs.

“Then we needed one batsman to anchor the innings and allow others to score quickly and Ben did that with a very patient innings, it allowed Will to come in and play his shots.”