Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 22nd May 2024

Roffey eye India trip as Horsham's Sussex champions

By Charles Randall

9 December 2014

Roffey CC, the 'other' club in Horsham, are planning a pre-season 2015 tour of India over the Easter holidays to mark their maiden Sussex Premier League title.

Among the ECB tables in 2014 few could have produced such unexpected champions. While Roffey's players and supporters take in the sights of the Taj Mahal they can reflect on a magnificent season under the captaincy of Josh Fleming. They defeated most teams soundly enough, though to their irritation the two league defeats were both at the hands of their better known town rivals.  An important 'showdown' result was a five-wicket win at 2013 champions Preston Nomads.

The key to the Roffey success was depth in batting and bowling. The arrival of spin all-rounder Rohit Jagota from Pulborough certainly helped, and Kuldeep Rawat, their Delhi overseas seam all-rounder, showed consistent form. Mike Norris, the former Sussex 2nd XI and Three Bridges batsman, gave the top order a reassuringly solid look, and runs rarely proved to be a problem.

Roffey guaranteed their success in the penultimate match, which happened to be against Preston in Brighton. Nomads, so often the dominant force of this league, were put in to bat and failed to score quickly enough against a tight attack. Joe Gatting struck 60 off 66 balls, but a score of 211-6 off 57 overs looked vulnerable - though not when Roffey slipped to 93-4 in reply against the pace and guile of Carl Simon, the former Leeward Islands seamer. A fifth-wicket stand of 118 between Norris and Rawat confirmed Roffey as champions. Norris was bowled for 102 when the scores were level, and his fine century was arguably his most important innings in four seasons at the club. Nomads finished as distant runners-up.

Roffey finished their season in style with a 77-run win over Cuckfield at Crawley Road. They should have scored more than 186 all out after a great start through Jagota's 78, and the bowlers faced a threat from Sussex staffer Steffan Piolet, who had smashed 176 off 147 balls against Eastbourne a couple of weeks earlier. Rawat claimed Piolet early, and Cuckfield subsided to 109 all out against the spin of Dan Smith and Jagota. Cuckfield were weakened during the game when they lost their Otago spin all-rounder Nick Beard with a dislocated finger in the field. Midway through an encouraging season Cuckfield were table leaders when Roffey took over,

The only blot to the Roffey summer proved to be Horsham, who won easily at Crawley Road, thanks to five wickets from the former Somerset leg-spinner Michael Munday. Norris scored a century at Horsham's ground, but could not save his side from another defeat.

Roffey, founded in 1904, moved to their present site, the Innes Memorial Ground, in 1932. They started league cricket in the 1970s in the Arun Valley League, followed by the Sussex Invitation, and they did not join the Sussex Premier until 2001. So this year's title marked an impressive rise.