Horsham rue struggle for 'partnerships through the middle' and 'bowling options' in defeat

Horsham's Tom Clark. Picture by Steve Robards
Horsham's Tom Clark. Picture by Steve Robards

Cricket manager Ed Clark blamed a lack of ‘partnerships through the middle’ and ‘bowling options’ for Horsham’s four-wicket Premier Division home defeat against Preston Nomads on Saturday.

The Lions won the toss and elected to bat and posted 221-9 off 58 overs thanks to Tom Clark’s 91.

But the reply saw Nomads hit 224-6 in 35.1 overs to win the game, despite the best efforts of Horsham’s Paul Williams (3-69).

The result sees the Lions stay second from bottom but they are now 19 points off place-above Cuckfield.

Clark said: “Another 30 or 40 might have made it interesting but we were just struggling for partnerships through the middle and couldn’t keep wickets in hand.

“You think, we’ve got the first six out and you give yourself half a chance but they continued to play really offensively.

“We didn’t have a huge volume of bowling options so they took the game away from us quite quickly.

“But there were positives to take out of it at the same time. Tom got himself in and we caught up when they changed bowlers.

“I think he’ll be disappointed to have got out when he did because there was potential for a big hundred there for him.

“It was a good innings but from his own perspective he was probably frustrated that he got out when he did.”

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Horsham got off to a sticky start, falling to 25-3 but Tom Johnson (11) and Clark added 45 at four to get the innings back on track.

The loss of Johnson to Adam O’Brien (2-31) brought Krishan Nayee (20) to the crease and together with Clark they put on a 74-run fifth-wicket stand to take Horsham to 144.

Clark’s fine knock of 91 (12 fours and two sixes) was ended by Will Collard (2-71) and Nayee fell soon to see the score at 146-6.

But new men in Williams (39) and Sam Bell (24*) combined to make 56 at seven to push Horsham to 202.

The partnership was ended as Williams fell to O’Brien before Harnoop Kalsi (four) was run out and James Brehaut (duck) was taken by Collard to end Horsham’s innings.

Two quick and early wickets from Brehaut (1-30) and Jonny Whiting (1-29) had Nomads reeling at 21-2 but a 75 run third-wicket stand from Harrison Ward (39) and Daniel Phillips (39) helped the visitors recover.

A marvellous spell of bowling from Williams saw Nomads lurch from 121-4 to 137-6 but this proved to not be enough.

Dominic Shepheard (47* off 38 balls) and Navin Patel (40* off 31 balls) began scoring at a lightning pace as Nomads close in on the total.

And the duo proved to be the match-winners as they took the visitors home to victory with four-wickets in hand.

Clark added: “Nomads are a good side and they’ve got a good batting line-up. Although we took wickets consistently they were scoring well above the required run-rate.

“We couldn’t really build any pressure despite taking wickets so that always makes it harder if you’re going at six or seven an over.

“Another wicket would have suddenly made it interesting but it wasn’t to be.”

The Lions travel to Middleton on Saturday.