HORSHAM WIN THE SUSSEX JUNIOR CRICKET FESTIVAL
by Martin Read
Horsham Under 18 side crowned an excellent week of cricket by winning the Sussex Junior Festival, beating Cuckfield – and the weather – in the Final at Preston Nomad’s South Ground on Sunday August 1st
On the Monday Horsham began as they intended to proceed with a 94 run home win against Barns Green. On the Tuesday they were scheduled to appear at Findon, but that game was rained off. However, cricket resumed next day, when Horsham travelled to Saint Hill to beat East Grinstead by 8 wickets, securing a place in the Final, courtesy of a more favourable net run rate over Chichester.
Heavy overnight rain endangered the Final, but umpires Richard Sage and Dick Smith deemed the conditions playable, agreeing with Captains Joe Willis (Horsham) and Will Rogers (Cuckfield) that the match would be switched to a T20 format to cheat the rain forecast for 5pm
After losing the toss, Horsham were put in to bat, making steady progress despite the slow outfield preventing many boundaries. Opener Ollie Haines top scored with 34, Sam Martin-Jenkins following up with 20 to enable Horsham to finish on a challenging 106-8, given the conditions, after Josh Downey, Rogers and Jamie Hatt each took two economical wickets.
Replying, Cuckfield also began steadily, but, with runs at a premium, only wicketkeeper Connor Bettsworth and Will Galbraith-Gibbons reached double figures at the top of the order. Wickets fell regularly, with Martin-Jenkins, Haines, Deyan Patel, and Will Freeman grabbing two scalps apiece. But, Theo Barker threatened to steal the game with two late sixes and a four, until Manav Parekh ended Cuckfield’s charge with a nerve-jangling boundary catch, Horsham winning by 15 runs with 13 balls to spare. Read the full Scorecard here
Horsham’s performances throughout the Festival confirmed that the club’s conveyor belt of emerging young talent remains in good heart, boding well for the future, Pete Willis telling the County Times: “The game was played in excellent spirit all round, and was well supported from the clubhouse. At the post match presentation ceremony, the Horsham coaches nominated Sam-Martin-Jenkins as their player of the week – for which he was awarded the match ball from the Final. The coaches also highlighted Horsham’s outstanding squad performance throughout the tournament, with availability alternating during the week, and Horsham look forward to hosting next season’s event at Cricketfield Road.”
Photo courtesy of Pete Willis