Horsham bounce back from relegation heartbreak with win over East Grinstead

Horsham captain Michael Thornely. Picture by Derek Martin / Derek Martin Photography.
Horsham captain Michael Thornely. Picture by Derek Martin / Derek Martin Photography.

Horsham cricket manager Ed Clark has admitted that while Saturday’s win was a huge positive for the club, there was a sense of frustration that such a performance had taken so long to come

Horsham won only their fourth game of the season as they beat East Grinstead by 13 runs, with an excellently consistent batting display proving just enough to see them over the line despite a strong response from the visitors East Grinstead.

Horsham won the toss and elected to bat on what Clark called an ‘old school’ wicket that clearly favoured the team at the crease.

Captain Michael Thornely (58*) topscored for the home side, with Nick Oxley (45), Joe Willis (38) and Tom Clark (33) all contributing well.

Three other batsmen hit over 20 for Horsham in a strong innings that saw them total 291-8 after their 50 overs and set East Grinstead a difficult task.

The visitors continued where Horsham left off at the crease, scoring consistent runs on their way to a high total, but Horsham’s bowling was just strong enough to keep the total down.

Darryl Rebbets (95*) and William Adkin (62) both scored well for East Grinstead but the bowling of James Brehaut (4-48) and George Garton (2-44) led Horsham to a rare victory.

Cricket manager Ed Clark revealed that his side may even have under-performed with the bat despite the impressive total, with nobody taking the game by the scruff of the neck and recording a ‘huge contribution.'

He said: “It was a good team performance with the bat on an old school Horsham wicket, very flat and great for batting.

“We may have felt we were even a little bit under par at halfway in terms of what we could have got, and maybe should have got on that wicket. Lots of guys getting in, no one went on and got a huge contribution but great to post a number like 290.”

However, Clark admitted that the fact that the level of performance has been met so rarely this season did frustrate him slightly, despite the win.

He continued: “ I think it’s frustrating because it shows what we are capable of as a side and where we should’ve been for more of the season.

“So pleasing to win, obviously it’s always pleasing to win, but at the same time it’s frustrating because the previous two weeks where we’ve been in games we had to win, we’ve been poor in certain elements of the game, especially the bat.

“It shows that we’re in the right position based on our performances this year, but not based on ability.”

Horsham went into the game with no pressure on them after their relegation had been confirmed after defeat to Three Bridges but Clark insists that should not make a difference.

He said: “It could just be that guys have gone out and expressed themselves without the pressure of needing to pick up points, but I don’t think that should really make a difference to be honest with you.

“I think that you’ve got to be able to perform under pressure, and maybe that’s what’s let us down.”

He continued: “In ten games we’ve effectively done the hard work and not been able to get ourselves over the line, whether that’s through one good partnership with the bat or not being able to build pressure with the ball.

“There’s lots of positives there but we’ve not been good enough at key points in the season.

“We’ve got no excuses, we just haven’t been good enough at the key times.”

Horsham finish their Premier Division campaign with a trip to Brighton and Hove this weekend, and cricket manager Clark is keen to see another positive performance and end the season ‘on a high.’

He said: “I want to see a continuation from Saturday. We’ve got to go there and keep our standards high. But they’re a good side, they’re second for a reason.

“They’re scoring a lot of runs at the moment but we’ll go there with the same attitude. We want to enjoy it and finish the season on a high.”

Horsham will play in Division 2 next season after the club’s first ever relegation from the Premier Division.