Near-neighbours Horsham and Roffey set to reignite rivalry

Roffey's Rohit Jagota bowls to Horsham's Jofra Archer in last year's game at Cricketfield Road. Picture by Steve Robards
Roffey's Rohit Jagota bowls to Horsham's Jofra Archer in last year's game at Cricketfield Road. Picture by Steve Robards

Roffey will put their 100 per cent Premier Division winning record on the line as they travel to near-neighbours and old foes Horsham on Saturday.

The Boars have made a blistering start to the 2019 season, picking up four convincing league victories from four, and sit atop the Premier Division table at this early stage.

Roffey’s Ben Manenti has also been one of the standout players of the season so far, totalling the ninth-highest run tally across all Sussex divisions, averaging 78.50 after four games.

In contrast, Horsham have struggled in the opening fixtures of their league campaign. A comfortable first game win over Eastbourne gave hope that the Lions may challenge in the upper echelons of the division but three successive defeats, including two games where Horsham scored 300 plus and still couldn’t win, has seen them sink to fourth-from-bottom.

The Lions have suffered with player unavailability issues so far this season, although Sussex star Tom Haines and skipper Michael Thornely have performed well with the bat when called upon. The pair boast the sixth and eighth highest total runs respectively in the Premier Division.

Last season’s fixture at Cricketfield Road also saw Roffey put their unbeaten run on the line, but they came unstuck as a rampant Horsham picked up a thumping 171-run victory.

Roffey captain Matt Davies said: “Horsham are always a difficult side to beat but we want to go there and win the game first and foremost.

“We haven’t won there for a few years so we’re certainly looking to put one over them.

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“We know ourselves that we want to keep this 100 per cent record going and keep winning games for ourselves more than the records.

“Horsham stand in our way next game, so we want to beat them. As much as it’s a big game because it’s a local derby it’s another chance for us to extend our lead at the top.

“If we beat them it’s another loss for them so it’ll be a good result for us if we can win.”

Horsham skipper Thornely added: “I feel like we’ve been unlucky over the past few weeks. Hopefully our luck can change, and we can put it right.

“Roffey have been the standout team for the past few years, but last year we beat them. We had a good team that game.

“It helps that it’s half-term so we will have people around from school. That helps in our favour.

“Roffey are pretty much always the same really. I think they’ve been successful because they’ve not been affected by things like school holidays, which majority of teams are.

“Hopefully we’ve got a strong team out and we can put up a good show. I’m sure if we play to the best of our abilities it will be a good contest.”