Michael Thornely was full of praise for Preston Nomads after an ‘inexperienced’ Horsham fell to a six-wicket away defeat in the Premier Division on Saturday.
The Lions won the toss and elected to bat and posted 153-9 off 46 overs with the returning Will Beer topscoring (45).
In reply Nomads raced to the revised target in 15.3 overs as they hit 154-4. Ex-Roffey man Usman Khan (45) and wicketkeeper Jake Hutson (43*) hit quickfire totals to secure victory for the hosts.
The Horsham skipper said: “It was very frustrating. They had a strong team and we had a fairly inexperienced team out. We had a young team and Nomads have strengthened their team over the winter. They look to be a very good unit.
“We needed a few of the top-order to get a score together to try and defend a decent total, but we didn’t manage to get as many as we could do. They bowled really well.
“I was quite impressed by them. They will certainly be a better force than they were last year. I think they’ll be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.”
The Lions get off to a less-than-ideal start, as they lost their opening three-wickets for just 34-runs.
Joe Willis (20) and Beer attempted to steady the ship as they put on a 53-run fourth-wicket partnership. But the Horsham pair both fell in quick succession to see them on 102-5.
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Jamie Brown, batting at seven, offered some resistance as he hit 28 not out off 25 balls but none of the Lions lower-order could muster a knock of more than double figures. Navin Patel (4-33) mopped up the rest of the wickets as Horsham posted a total of 153-9.
The hosts set off at a lightning pace as openers Harrison Ward (35) and Khan set about the Lions bowling attack. The pair put on 78-runs for the first-wicket before Khan was taken by Paul Williams (2-24).
Ward and Alasdair Wilson (one) then both quickly fell to Williams and Brown (1-73) to see the visitors on 102-3.
But hope of a Horsham fight-back was curtailed by Hutson, as the wicketkeeper began rapidly bludgeoning boundaries.
Nomads captain Daniel Phillips (ten) was stumped by Sam Bell off the bowling of Beer (1-16) to see the score at 147-4 but it made little difference as Huston struck the winning runs to maintain Nomads’ 100 per cent league record.
Thornely added: “We’re missing a few people through injuries or still playing other sports. When we do have a few back we will be as competitive as we’ve always been.”
Horsham host Middleton on Saturday.