Leaders Roffey slip from top for first time this season with Nomads draw

Horsham (batting) v Roffey. Alex Collins?  . Pic Steve Robards SR1817031 SUS-180307-104416001
Horsham (batting) v Roffey. Alex Collins? . Pic Steve Robards SR1817031 SUS-180307-104416001

Roffey have slipped from the top of the Premier Division for the first time this season after being held to an in-the balance draw by Preston Nomads.

The Boars were overtaken at the top by in-form Brighton & Hove, who continued their rousing run with a 20-run win over Hastings.

Matt Davies saw his side pick up 13 points in their entertaining draw at home and fall four behind the new leaders in second – the first time they have fallen from the top this season.

It could have been worse in a game that could have gone either way at Roffey after Nomads won the toss and elected to bat.

The visitors set about making 219 all out in 58 overs as Kashif Ibrahim top-scored with 61. Roffey then replied with 189-9 in 52 overs – 31 short of victory, but with one wicket in hand saving what would have been just their second defeat of the season.

Captain Davies said: “Saturday was obviously a disappointing result for us, as it meant we lost top spot.

“We bowled pretty well on a decent deck and fast outfield, but unfortunately let ourselves down in the field which allowed them to get the score they did.

“With the bat, we were unable to kick in after many batsmen got starts, which cost us in the end.”

With Stuart Whittingham (4-58) dismissing Daniel Phillips (two) and Stuart Faith (five) early, opener Nathan Poole put on 39, before being the third to fall with the score on 63.

Jeremy Green (23) and Tim Moses (ten) pushed the score along to 94-5. But at that point a 100-run stand between Hugo Shephard (52) and Ibrahim put Nomads in a far better position.

Whittingham eventually claimed both in quick succession with the score ticking to 198-7, before some further late runs took Nomads to a healthy total of 219.

In reply, Ben Manenti was caught early off the bowling of Blair Tickner (2-50). Theo Rivers (33) got the scorebard moving along with Jibran Khan (23), before the later was the first of Will Collard’s scalps – he went on to record figures of 6-60 from 20 overs.

Further runs came from Rohit Jagota (29) and Davies (27) with Roffey at 142-6 when the caotain was bowled by Collard.

Whittingham (18) was then the only other batsman to make double figures and when the penultimate wicket fell, Roffey were on 165 runs.

Batsmen ten and 11 – Collins (nine) and Luke Barnard (15) respectively faced a total of 39 balls between them to hold out for an important draw.

Davies added: “We will keep working hard and are looking forward to the title race from here on in. This Saturday, we face Cuckfield which will be another very tough fixture.”

Roffey then also face the Vitality Club T20 area finals on Sunday at Horsham.

Their semi-final against Guildford starts at midday and they will face the winner of the other game between Alton and Lordswood at 3pm.

Davies added: “We are looking forward to the National T20 on Sunday, obviously we don’t know much about the opposition but are confident that we can put in performances to win games.”