Garton helps Horsham into title picture as they hope for Roffey slip-up

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ks180299-7 Spt Crick MidHor phot kate'George Garton.ks180299-7 SUS-180623-184859008

Horsham skipper Michael Thornely has predicted a tight title battle with three games left to go in the Premier Division.

The Lions picked up a two-wicket away win on Saturday against fellow championship chasers Brighton & Hove to see them rise to third.

Batting first, Brighton made 168-7 off 35 overs with Bryce Hounsome (42) top-scoring.

In reply, Horsham reached the target in 33.1 overs as they hit 171-8 thanks to a superb knock from George Garton (87*).

With the Lions now just 45 points off Roffey at the top, Thornely believes that his side must win their final three games and hope the Boars slip up to be in contention for the league.

He said: “I think we need Roffey to make a mistake before we play them but all we can do is keep winning our games.

“It’s all worked out quite strangely that the top four teams are all playing each other in the last few games.

“We’ll stay focussed on ourselves and if they do mess up and we win our next two then it could make the last game (against Roffey) extremely interesting.

“It could be winner takes all and I think that would be great for the league but that’s still a long way off at this point.

“Eastbourne are ahead of us in the league and they’ll be in the same position as us so it’ll be a big game Saturday.”

Brighton openers Isaac Taylor (32) and Hounsome put on 76 for the first wicket but both fell in quick succession to Will Beer (2-27) and Joe Ashmore (2-25).

The home batsmen then failed to kick on and score big totals despite a resilient display from Steven Crosby (41).

Ashmore, Beer, and Mika Ekstrom (2-19) took wickets regularly and restricted the run rate to leave Brighton at 168-7. Horsham performed poorly with the bat as they were reduced to 73-6 but a 81-run seventh-wicket stand from Garton and Ekstrom (24) saw the visitors at 154-7.

Despite losing one more wicket, Garton’s knock pushed the Lions to victory.

Thornely praised the match-winning performance of Garton, who put on an excellent display with the bat.

He added: “I thought 168 was going to be interesting to chase and we got in to a bit of trouble at 55-5.

“But George played a really good innings and he won us the game, simple as that.

“George is known for his bowling but he’s played some really important innings with the bat as well.

“He hits the ball a long way, he’s a very clean striker of the ball but this was completely different. He had to really grind it out and changed his game according to the wicket.

“We were almost there and then we lost a couple of quick wickets but George saw us over the line. You have to praise his performance on the day with the bat so all the plaudits have to go to George.”

Horsham host second-placed Eastbourne this Saturday.