Horsham opened their Sussex Cricket League Premier Division campaign with a 72-run away defeat against last season’s champions East Grinstead.
The visitors won the toss and elected to field, but Grinstead set 233-5 off 45 overs. Leo Cammish hit 108 not out and was ably supported by William Adkin (84). In reply, Horsham could only score 161-9, with Tom Haines top-scoring with 89.
Skipper Michael Thornely said: "It was a tough start against the reigning champs who look like a strong team again this year.
"Their bowling attack was the strongest in the league last year and it looks like they’re going to teams under a lot of consistent pressure again. Unfortunately no one else got in to support Hainesy and put together a substantial enough partnership.
"Tom and Nick Oxley started to get a good partnership together but unfortunately they couldn’t go on. They both looked very comfortable and if they’d be able to bat for another 10 overs I think the result would’ve been much closer."
Horsham took two early wickets, however a 163-run partnership between captain Adkin and wicketkeeper Cammish put the home side in full control of the game.
Adkin was finally removed by Jamie Thornely (2-54) for 84, including eight fours, leading his side from 21-2 to 184-3. Cammish completed the innings with Darryl Rebbetts for a total of 233-5.
In reply, Horsham started badly losing Craig Gallagher (eight) and captain Michael Thornely (duck) cheaply.
Nick Oxley (15), Joe Ashmore (four) and Tom Johnson (nine) were removed as the Horsham middle order floundered at 96-5. The only resistance was from opener Haines. His knock of 89 (four fours, two sixes) gave Horsham a glimmer of hope.
When he was caught off the bowling of the devastating Ian Sturmer (4-42), it left Horsham rooted at 161-7. The visitors lost a further two wickets without adding to the score and Horsham ended their allotted overs 72 runs shy of victory.
Horsham face Preston Nomads at home this Saturday and Thornely said: "Nomads are always strong and I think they’ve got a couple overseas players this year which will give them the extra edge compared to last season.
"We’ll have to improve from last week to get the result we want from the game but I’m sure the boys will be up for it."