Horsham captain vows relegation 'won't happen on his watch' after defeat

Horsham's Joe Willis. Picture by Jon Rigby
Horsham's Joe Willis. Picture by Jon Rigby

Michael Thornely has called on Horsham to ‘improve their performances’ after an eight-wicket defeat at Middleton on Saturday further mired the Lions in the Premier Division relegation places.

Asked to bat, Horsham were all out for 132 in 48.4 overs thanks to electric bowling from the hosts’ Jack Carson (5-22).

Harry Hovey (76 off 58 balls) lead the charge for Middleton as they raced to 138-2 in 21 overs to secure an easy win.

The result sees the Lions second-from-bottom in the table and 26 points off place-above Cuckfield with six games to go.

The Horsham captain said: “On Saturday if we had won the toss we would have bowled as well. The plan was to do what they did to us.

“With a low total like that they just came out and were positive and knocked it off fairly easily.

“We need to improve our performances to give ourselves a chance of staying up but what will be will be.

“We’re aware of where we are in the league. It’s something that’s quite alien to us and something we desperately want to avoid if possible.

“We’ve not ever been relegated so we’d like to keep that the same. I don’t want that to happen on my watch.

“We need to strengthen the squad and we need some of the good young players, who are probably a bit young at the moment, to come through and form a strong Horsham first team.

“We’ve just got to look at it week by week at this stage and make sure we do our best to try to get out of the position we’re in at the end of the season.”

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Openers Tom Haines (31 off 28 balls) and Joe Willis (35) along with skipper Thornely (21) were the bright spots in a difficult Horsham innings.

Haines and Thornely departed with the score at 65-2 before Matthew Reynolds caught and bowled two successive Lions batsmen to trigger a collapse.

Horsham lurched from 90-4 to 103-8 as Carson and Reynolds blew through the middle order.

Manrai Kalsi (19*) offered lower order resistance but Carson easily mopped up the tail.

A 104-run opening wicket partnership between Hovey and Sean Heather (43) laid the foundations for a quick Middleton chase.

The pair fell to Paul Williams (1-23) and Krishan Nayee (1-23) but the hosts were just six runs shy of victory when Heather went.

It was left to Mahesh Rawat (13* off six balls) to strike the winning runs and leave the Lions winless in three.

Horsham host place-above Cuckfield on Saturday in a crucial game in their battle against relegation.