‘These are the big games you want to be playing in’ - Roffey relishing title showdown at ECB Vitality T20 clash

Cricket''Sussex League Premier ''Roffey v Ifield''Roffey celebrate. ''Crawley Road, Horsham, West Sussex. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 04/08/2018''LP180978 SUS-180508-142004008
Cricket''Sussex League Premier ''Roffey v Ifield''Roffey celebrate. ''Crawley Road, Horsham, West Sussex. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 04/08/2018''LP180978 SUS-180508-142004008

As sporting weekends go, few get bigger than Roffey’s Bank Holiday.

By Sunday evening they could be Premier Division champions once again and have their place at finals day in the ECB National Vitality Club T20.

The Boars know what they have to do on Saturday to clinch their fourth Premier Division title in five years.

It is first versus second at the Saffrons with Roffey going into the penultimate league game of the season against Eastbourne with a 13-point lead in the standings.

A victory will all-but see Matt Davies’ side lift the crown, they need an 18-point swing to build an unassailable lead in the now two-horse race.

Davies admits there are some nerves ahead of another telling weekend in their history, but says they are the games they relishi.

He said: “They are the games you want to play in - the top of the table clashes and deciders. Now it is a two-horse race, so if we win we have pretty much wrapped up the league. If we lose it, it is over to Eastbourne to win it, so it’s pretty much a cup final.

“Obviously there are some nerves, but I think that’s a good thing. Most of all we are looking forward to it.

“We have experience of these big games before so that sets up in good stead for it.”

Eastbourne go into Saturday’s showdown having won ten of their 16 matches this season and the earlier meeting between the two sides in June earned a high-scoring draw.

Roffey will have one eye on Eastbourne’s leading scorer James Hockley, who has hit 954 runs this season with an average of 63 and high score of 240.

On how they will approach the game, Davies said: “We will look at the pitch, but especially with the game on Sunday, it would be good to have a bat first. To go about things the way we have gone about the season.

“They like to bat first and bat big, they have a history of that this season.

“James Hockley is a big player for them this year, so we will have a plan in place to try and get him out, but we will stick to our usual game plan.”

Any possible title celebrations will be muted on the Saturday as after the game, the team will jump in a minibus and make the way to the West Country.

They will be based in Plymouth for the night ahead of their T20 quarter-final clash on Sunday against Penzance.

A place in the semi-final against Hanging Heaton on finals day on September 16 at The County Ground, Derby, is in the offing.

Of their long trip - a 10.5 hour total round journey from Roffey - and opponents, Davies added: “We have looked at them a bit and know a couple of people that have played against them. But having said that, you can only go so far. We prefer to concentrate more on ourselves.

“We do know they are a good side, at this stage of the competition, they are all good sides. It is a T20 game so anything can happen in that respect, but we will have two big training session this week and be ready for it.”

Roffey have already booked their place in the final of the Sussex League T20 Cup and the last four of the ECB National Club Championship against Stanmore.