Roffey down to third after narrow defeat to Brighton & Hove
Extremely fine margins were at play at the Nevill Sports Ground last Saturday where Roffey CC were edged out by Brighton & Hove CC by just four runs in the Premier Division after having the hosts 99-9 in bowler friendly conditions.
With leaders Preston Nomads now on 203 points after beating Cuckfield by 77 runs, and East Grinstead (186 points) walloping Middleton by nine wickets, Roffey move down one spot to third with 169 points.
Brighton elected to bat and were soon in trouble after George Fleming had taken the first three wickets cheaply for the second week running.
Fleming finished with 5-40 as wickets continued to tumble, but while two lower order batsmen reached double figures, only Brighton number three Luke Bartier was adhesive, scoring what proved to be a match winning 68 not out, an unbroken rain-interrupted 33 run 10th wicket partnership with Chris Grammer setting a 133 target, which Brighton had successfully defended the week before.
In pursuit, Roffey started badly, Bartier again proving troublesome by taking two early wickets (and later holding three catches), before, in a marathon spell, Simon Hetherton took over finishing with 5-81 off 21.4 overs.
With half the side gone with only 23 on the board Roffey were down and out – until, not for the first time, teenager Sam Henderson put his seniors to shame, scoring 52 out of a six wicket partnership of 65, with 10 fours.
After his eight wicket haul the week before, Stephen Rigg chipped in with three lower order scalps with only skipper Matt Davies with an uncharacteristically dogged 39 providing any real further resistance, being last out with Roffey tantalisingly short of what would have been a most remarkable win.
A full scorecard from the game can be found here.
Davies told the County Times: “This was a disappointing loss in a game we should have won comfortably. We let them get from 60-7 to 132-9, which just isn’t good enough, and then with the bat we were 23-5 – you’re not going to win many games like that.
"Sam Henderson was brilliant and gave us a chance to win, but we couldn’t get over the line.
"We are quite a distance back in third now, so the pressure is off. We will just go out and try to express ourselves and enjoy our cricket for the next few weeks.”
So far this term there have been some good individual performances from Roffey players, but, going into the second half of the season, and, with all still to play for, they will be hoping that these excellent contributions can be welded into match winning team displays.
On Saturday Roffey are away again – with a trip to Cuckfield CC, who are hovering above the relegation zone. In the opening fixture of the season Roffey beat Cuckfield by 123 runs after bowling them out for 79.