Horsham captain Thornely impressed with improvement but questions Brighton tactics

Craig Gallagher in action for Horsham CC. Photo by Clive Turner
Craig Gallagher in action for Horsham CC. Photo by Clive Turner

Horsham captain Michael Thornely has questioned why Brighton and Hove opted for ‘extremely negative’ tactics in their Premier Division draw.

The Lions’ second-placed visitors won the toss and elected to field and Horsham put up a solid total of 273-8.

Rhys Beckwith in action for Horsham CC XI. Photo by Clive Turner

Rhys Beckwith in action for Horsham CC XI. Photo by Clive Turner

Craig Gallagher (79) and Nick Oxley (68) top-scored for Horsham while Simon Hetherton took 4-64 with the ball.

In reply, Brighton put on 233-7 as danger man Phil Salt topscored with 94, but their seemingly reluctancy to push for victory and instead settle for the drawn frustrated Thornely.

He said: “We were a bit unlucky. We put a good score on the board and could have got a bit more but I was happy with 270s, it’s a good total.

“Craig Gallagher, who’s been in great form, played really well supported by Rhys Beckwith up top. They both had a good opening partnership.

“They then clawed it back a little bit and restricted us in the middle 20 overs. Nick Oxley and Joe Ashmore had a nice partnership together and everyone chipped in at the end to get us up to 270.

“At half-time I thought that was a good score but the week before Phil Salt got 170, so it was always going to be dependent on how he went and obviously Matt Machan plays for them as well.”

Salt was the key danger man for Brighton, regularly scoring boundaries before being caught out by Paul Williams after 94 runs, and Thornely believes that proved to be a key turning point.

He added: “Salt was playing very freely and scored boundaries regularly and kept the scoreboard ticking along but we knew if we could get him out, it would turn round.

“We managed to keep picking up wickets from the other end and then we got out Matt Machan quite cheaply which was handy.

“Joe Ashmore bowled really well and gave us great control, making it tough for the batters to score.

“When we did get Salt (out), they needed 95 of 20 overs with six wickets in hand so they decided to start blocking which I thought was extremely negative.

“They’re second in the league, and Roffey won easily at the weekend, so to stay close to them they needed to have gone for it really.

“I didn’t think it was positive cricket from them. To compete, you’ve got to be prepared to lose, to win. They didn’t even give themselves a chance.

“That was frustrating, as we might have won had they gone for it. We played good cricket all day and we were unlucky not to come away with a win.”

However, Thornely was pleased by the signs of improvement from Horsham who aim to better last year’s fourth-placed finish.

“I think we’re getting better each game,” he said. “We’ve had some tough games against strong teams and weren’t quite up to it but we’ve got a few wins now.

“We had a really good win against Hastings which gave us a lot of confidence and we’re now playing good cricket and people are starting to get in better form.

“I’m positive that we can continue playing well and get ourselves up the league table as soon as possible.

“We will have to fight harder than we did last year to get fourth spot.”