Horsham’s cricket manager Ed Clark felt his side ‘didn’t deserve much on the day’ after they fell to a 106-run home defeat against a Sam Whiteman inspired Cuckfield.
It was the second defeat in a row for the Lions in the Premier Division and they now sit in fifth.
Cuckfield won the toss and elected to bat and posted 276-5 off 58 overs thanks to a superb innings from Whiteman who hit 153 not out.
In reply, Horsham were bowled all out for 170 off 49.3 overs, with Tom Clark (69) topscoring.
Whiteman has amassed 458 runs in the league this season, with 283 of them coming against the Lions.
Clark said: “If you take his performance out of the game it’s a fairly even game of cricket but he (Whiteman) was the standout performer on the day which isn’t a surprise considering the calibre of player he is and the standard of cricket he plays in Australia.
“It just seems unfortunate that we have bore the brunt of his ability this year as he’s made two hundreds this year against us.
“I don’t know if he’s got a chip on his shoulder about Horsham or something.
“He’s won two games of cricket against us this season in the league but there’s not a lot you can do about that.”
Horsham got off to a great start as Mika Ekstrom (1-32) took Joe Ludlow (duck) early, but Whiteman set about the Lions attack from the off.
Despite several 50-plus run partnerships, the rest of the Cuckfield batsmen never got a foothold in the game.
There were good cameos from Gregory Wisdom (26) and Ben Caidan (32) but it was Whiteman’s 153 that propelled Cuckfield to a big total.
Nick Oxley (2-62) and Tom Haines (2-57) performed well with the ball but even they fell victim to a sparkling knock from the Australian.
Horsham lost there first three wickets for just 84 runs although opener Clark did offer good resistance.
After Clark fell to the prolific Josh Hayward (4-38), their innings began to crumble.
Oxley (four) and Alex Bone (three) went in quick succession to Hayward and Josh Patterson (1-24) to see them at 110-6.
A 55-run seventh-wicket stand between Ekstrom (24) and Joe Ashmore (24) offered some hope of a draw but after they were both taken all hopes of a tied game faded.
Clark added: “We lost regular wickets in the first twenty overs including both professionals, Will Beer and Tom Haines. We were six down with about six or seven overs to go and unfortunately we’ve lost those wickets despite playing for the draw.
“Losing those last four wickets was disappointing despite Mika (Ekstrom) and Joe (Ashmore) playing with a lot of determination and concentration.
“They did to try and salvage the draw, which wasn’t going to reap much more in terms of points for us, but stopping them from winning is part of declaration cricket.
“Had we got the draw I don’t think it would’ve been one we deserved. On reflection, there’s a lot of frustration but really in hindsight we didn’t deserve much on the day based on how we played.”