Johnson hopes high-scoring Horsham can keep pace in title race

Bexhill Cricket Club 1st XI v Horsham Cricket Club 1st XI at The Polgrove. Bexhill batting. Horsham won. July 18th 2015. SUS-150719-120605002

Bexhill Cricket Club 1st XI v Horsham Cricket Club 1st XI at The Polgrove. Bexhill batting. Horsham won. July 18th 2015. SUS-150719-120605002

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Horsham vice-captain James Johnson hopes to keep hot on the heels of the front-runners in the Premier Division title race.

A thrilling five-wicket victory over Bexhill on Saturday keeps alive fourth-placed Horsham’s faint chances - which are being made even stronger by their recent impressive batting displays.

They chased down Bexhill’s 277-7 declared with 11 overs to spare as Ben Shoare (46), Tom Haines (49), George Garton (74), James Johnson (47) and Tom Johnson (45*) all shone with the bat.

The result means Horsham trail leaders Preston Nomads - after their shock defeat to Cuckfield - by 47 points, but the vice skipper is far from getting carried away.

He said: “There are still a lot of games to go and obviously a lot can happen, but we will take it one game at a time and see how close we can get.

“We’ll see how close we are with three games to go and if we are still in with a chance.

“Roffey and Nomads look like they will chase it down together, but if they muck up we will be on their tails. We will just see how it goes and take one game at a time.”

Johnson felt he had messed the call up on Saturday after putting their opponents in as they set about making 277-7.

Callum Guest hit 109 not out from 108 balls and Jonathan Haffenden made 53 along with 21 from Luke Youngs and 20 from Shawn Johnson.

With the ball Garton claimed 2-35, Kevin Stoute 1-46, Mike Munday 2-74 and Shoare 2-101.

Johnson said: “It was a good game, but I almost thought I had shot myself in the foot winning the toss and bowling.

“We did not get early wickets and they got off to a flier at 70-1 from the first ten overs, I thought we could have been chasing something unbelievable, but when they declared I was quite confident that we were going to chase it down.

“I think it might have been a cheeky suggestion by myself to them to declare and they went for it a few overs later.

“I thought 300 plus on a pitch that was not offering much was par. It did start to turn a lot at the end of the second innings.”

And the stand-in captain, who expects to be in the role deputising for Sam Atffield until the end of the season, was right to back his side.

The Horsham batsmen proved once again they have the fire power capable to rival any team in the league and one that keeps their outside title hopes well alive.

Johnson added: “We have such a strong side that on any pitch we should back ourselves to chase any score by any opponents.

“We just batted how each week has been going. Ben Shoare is outstanding and is hitting the ball really well at the moment. Tom Haines in at three is averaging 70 and following that is George Garton.

“It’s a very hard batting line-up to bowl against and all of the top seven are scoring plenty of runs.”

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