Roffey concede East Grinstead are in ‘box seat’, but Boars can call on title-winning experience

Horsham v Roffey - cricket. Ross White to Theodore Rivers. Pic Steve Robards SR1717579 SUS-170708-115228001
Horsham v Roffey - cricket. Ross White to Theodore Rivers. Pic Steve Robards SR1717579 SUS-170708-115228001

Roffey coach Simon Fearnley has conceded new Premier Division leaders East Grinstead are in the box seat, but believes their own title-winning experience could prove telling.

The three-time reigning champions’ derby showdown with Horsham at Cricketfield Road on Saturday was abandoned due to the wet-weather.

Meanwhile East Grinstead beat the rain and made light work of Bexhill with a seven-wicket success. It sees them leapfrog Roffey at the top of the table and take a 19-point lead.

Just four games remain in the Premier Division campaign and Fearnley says they must now win all their fixtures to crank up the pressure.

One silver lining was beating Horsham in the T20 Cup semi-final on Sunday, which Fearnley feels could be a tonic come September.

He said: “From our point of view it was a bit disappointing as the rain came down and with East Grinstead winning. We have now got to go out in our next four league games and the T20 final and have got to win them all.

“If we go and win for the next five games then we are going to get at least one piece of silverware in the cabinet.

“The league is out of our hands and it is very much East Grinstead’s to lose now because they are in the box seat. But I do think we are capable of winning all of our remaining games.

“This Saturday against Cuckfield is certainly a test, our stiffest for the remainder of the season, but if we can come out on the right side of the result, we are on course to win all our remaining fixtures, if the weather holds out.

“The fact this side has been there and done it before will help. At times it will be very tense and there will be pressure on the players and you do not know how well you will react when silverware is on the table.

“The fact East Grinstead have not been in this situation, how will they react under the pressure, that could be the difference. Having said that, they have got a number of players have played a higher standard, so you would expect them to deal with it.”

East Grinstead have finished as runners-up in the Premier Division three times in the 15 seasons they have been at this level in the last 18 years, but are yet to win it.

Fearnley has praised their ability, shown by the reaching the semi-finals of the Village Knockout Cup (August 27).

But he believes they have some tough test in their fixture run-in. “It is out of our control what happens with East Grinstead, but we can cling to one or two things,” he said.

“They are going well in the Village Knockout Cup, so there are one or two weekends when they are playing two games of cricket, so that may or may not be an advantage.

“They are top because they are a very good side, but I do look at their fixtures for the remainder of the season.

“They have Preston Nomads, coming into the T20 final will want to get in some batting rhythm. You hope there could be a potential upset, they have Cuckfield as well, who are another good side particularly when Abi Sakande plays and Horsham too.”

Roffey host a Cuckfield side that trail them by one place and 42 points in the standings, while Grinstead welcome Nomads on Saturday.