Winning start for Horley in Surrey leagues

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Horley Cricket Club's 1st and 2nd XIs both started their league seasons with a win, but the 3rd XI were beaten at Crawley Nayee. Jon Barnett was Horley's star of the day, taking 6-7 at Shepperton for the 2nd XI.

With the new Surrey Championship Division Five season finally here, Horley 1st XI got off to a flying start with a five-wicket win over Cobham Avorians at Horley Row. Horley were asked to field first and with Will Taylor feeling unwell, Guy Derham (1-22) and Benjamin Davies (3-52) led the early charge. They didn’t have to wait long for the breakthrough, with Davies getting the Cobham overseas player Haydon Black caught behind in the second over. Derham was keeping it tight at the other end while Davies struck again in his next over, this time claiming the Cobham skipper Luke Barrow without him troubling the scoreboard.

Derham got in on the act with a well-directed short ball that could only be mistimed to mid-on, so with Cobham on 14-3, Horley were well and truly in the driving seat. Cobham opener Amith Sarma (64) was watching this chaos unfold from the other end and knew he’d need to lead the rebuild, and with the help of Dom Worth (34), Cobham started to slowly accumulate.

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They put on 60 for the fourth wicket while Robins rotated his bowlers, trying to find a breakthrough. Finally, in the 19th over, Adam Stephenson (3-26) tempted Worth into a drive outside his off stump, and he was caught at slip by Regan Derham.

Jon Barnett took 6-7 for Horley 2nd XI at SheppertonJon Barnett took 6-7 for Horley 2nd XI at Shepperton
Jon Barnett took 6-7 for Horley 2nd XI at Shepperton

Cobham continued to frustrate the Horley attack, with incoming batsman Felix Porter (27) playing a good support role for Sarma. It took another good change from Robins to dislodge Porter, throwing the ball to Irfaan Baksh (2-17), on his league debut, and who had Porter caught with the score at 125-5. Robins brought back Stephenson to bowl in tandem with Baksh and Horley began to squeeze. Baksh made the vital breakthrough, having Sarma caught by Robins to end a well-constructed innings. Stephenson then claimed wickets in successive overs, one well caught at extra cover by CP Singh, and the other clean bowled.

With 40 overs gone, Cobham were 150-8, looking for some crucial lower-order runs. Aveesha Keshan (22) and Sumit Aneja (13) provided these before the latter was run out by Taylor in the 48th over, then Davies finished off the innings, helped by another catch from Regan Derham, leaving Cobham on 185 after 49 overs.

Horley’s reply started with another new opening pair in the form of Regan Derham and Richard Waddington (26). Derham was playing his usual game, trying to get after the Cobham openers to get Horley off to a head start. Unfortunately, his fun didn’t last for too long, with Keshan (2-35) making the breakthrough at the start of the seventh over. At 18-1, overseas player Singh (70) strolled to the middle to make his league debut, rekindling his partnership with Waddington that had flourished in a friendly-match victory the weekend before.

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Cobham turned to spin early after seeing how effective the Horley spinners had been, however, they struggled to budge either Horley batsman. With drinks just one ball away, a lapse in concentration from Waddington saw him caught off the bowling of Suhas Thyagaraj (2-29). At 66-2, Davies (21) joined Singh, who had picked up where he left off last week, looking comfortable at the crease, picking off runs where he could and then punishing anything loose with a form of controlled aggression that is very easy on the eye.

Davies was next to depart, falling to the returning Keshan in the 31st over, although after another 50-plus partnership, Horley were closing in on their target, needing 66 off the remaining 19 overs. Thyagaraj took a smart return catch to claim the big scalp of Singh, and with Sajeewa Karunaratne (1-47) striking quickly after Singh departed, Horley were suddenly 149-5. However, 17-year-old Luke Smith (27 not out) came in to calm any nerves, batting with a steely confidence of someone double his age, and with the help of Taylor (13 not out), Smith hit the winning runs with eight overs to spare.

Horley will look to carry on from this performance when they travel to Effingham next weekend, a game that in recent years has always produced a nail-biting result.

Having been promoted to the Surrey 2nd XI Premier Division at the end of last season, Horley 2nd XI started 2024’s league campaign with an eight-wicket win at Shepperton, with skipper Jon Barnett leading from the front, taking 6-7, then hitting the winning runs.

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Horley put Shepperton in and after a few deliveries drifted down the leg side early on, they found better form and Matt Puttick took the first two wickets. Barnett brought himself on in the tenth over with the score on 47-2. He took a wicket in each of his first two overs, the first caught behind by Ryan Bunn and the second by Chris Webber. At the other end, Dan Sired was economical and while Shepperton survived five overs, they only added 11 runs, before Barnett struck again with two in two balls, both bowled.

An amazing grab by Liam Adams, diving high to his right, gave Barnett his fifth wicket, then Webber (2-5) took the next two, bowled and lbw, leaving one last victim for Barnett, who bowled the number nine with the first ball of the 26th over and Shepperton were all out for 80.

With a perfect opening partnership from Matt Ware and Jordan Robins putting on 70, Horley had no worries about chasing down the low total. Ware, who was unable to run quick singles due to a hamstring strain suffered the week before, got off the mark with an extra-cover drive that could have been the shot of the day.

Robins made 51 off 35 balls, including nine fours and a six, and survived being dropped at mid-off. He fell in the tenth over and Ware (17) followed him in the 11th, but Ben Stewart and Barnett saw Horley home, with the skipper blasting a six into the trees to finish the job.

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Horley 3rd XI took on Crawley Nayee away in their second Sussex League Division 11 North (West) game of the season, looking to build on the win from last week and keep top spot in the table.

Horley unfortunately lost the toss and were put into bat. Openers George Hyde and Anup Ghanshala looked to make a good start but on a very soft wicket it was soon obvious it was going to be a tough day at the crease. Hyde was first to be dismissed, hitting a cover drive straight to Darshan Limbachia.

Horley brought the fight back to Crawley Nayee, with Dirk Douglas coming in and rotating the strike nicely with Ghanshala, with both hitting some boundaries along the way.

Kunal Sharma produced some terrific bowling with a lot of help from the pitch, taking the wicket of Ghanshala, bowled, for 14 and dismissing Rob Rigby soon afterwards.

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Skipper Kieran Childs came out looking to rebuild and he and Douglas slowly showed signs of getting Horley back into the game before Sharma took the wicket of Douglas and a good catch from Darshan Limbachia off Akash Zutshi dismissed Childs.

Crawley Nayee then started to dominate Horley’s batsmen, picking them off slowly and not conceding many runs. Danny Patel peppered the boundary with some lovely shots before getting bowled by Jay Nayee for 26 and Horley were all out for 125, with Douglas top-scoring with 29 and Sharma taking 2-29 from 6.5 overs.

Horley took to the field hoping for an early breakthrough. Oscar Hofmann and Ryan Smith opened the bowling, keeping it tight, with Smith taking a wicket with a catch by skipper Childs. Crawley Nayee then began to settle down and chip away at the total.

A change in bowling from both ends helped Horley get back into the game with Patel and Dave Childs taking three wickets each, putting the pressure back onto the hosts.

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Hyde, Douglas, Rigby and Ollie Millard all held catches and Horley showed a great display of resilience, refusing to be beaten easily, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough as Crawley Nayee ticked over the last remaining runs to win by three wickets with plenty of overs to spare.

Horley face Ifield next week, hoping to get back to winning ways.