Horsham captain Michael Thornely was disappointed that his batsmen failed to kick on after a good start against Preston Nomads, but believed his side performed ably against strong opposition.
Horsham began their Premier Division campaign with a 71-run defeat away from home against their old rivals.
Nomads won the toss and elected to bat, and Horsham got off to a bright start with Mika Ekstrom removing Oliver Gatting for just four from a catch from Ryan Maskell.
However, the home batsmen took the game by the scruff of the neck, as Daniel Phillips hit 51 and captain Jeremy Green made 80. Having started off at 9-1, Nomads found themselves at 201-3.
The stand-out batting performance was that of Jonty Jenner, who smashed 105 off of 81 balls, who was ably supported by Dominic Shepheard (22).
The final wicket taken was that of Robert Wakeford (four), as both Jenner and Craig Alexander saw out the rest of the innings, giving Nomads 289-5 off of their allotted 50 overs. David Croshaw finished with figures of 2-36 and Michael Munday 2-49.
In reply, Horsham opener Matthew Green made 15 and they pushed on to 150, before a collapse saw them lose four wickets for 11 runs.
Ryan Maskell (51), Thornely (64), Tom Johnson (three), and Ekstrom (duck) fell victims to some fine Preston bowling, particularly from Alexander and Nathan Poole, as Horsham faltered at 161-5.
Nick Oxley managed to grind out 28, but the lower order only added another 26 runs as Horsham finished 218 all out. Jenner was just as devastating with the ball as he was the bat, taking 3-16 in the final few overs. Alexander also excelled, finishing with figures of 4-27.
Whilst not an ideal start to the season, Thornely was pleased with the way his side played against a tough team.
He said: “I think we played against quite a strong team with quite a lot of experience.
“We had six debutants playing so I think we gave quite a fair reflection against quite a strong team with a very good overseas player who I think will take quite a lot of wickets this season.
“I thought the guys stood up to the task quite well. It was really good to test ourselves against what will be one of the stronger teams so early in the season.
“Myself and Ryan were really going nicely and we were ahead at half-time. Preston were probably thinking, what are we going to do here?
“Ryan got out and then I got out, and then Tom and Mika got out as well and that was pretty much our established batsmen gone.
“Unfortunately in the space of five overs we went from being in the box seat to not being able to chase it.”
Thornely was equally full of praise for Preston’s Jenner, adding: “He probably took the game 40 runs ahead of where they would have been if he hadn’t have come in.
“That made 280 odd which is always going to be a tough ask. He played very well.”