Horley Under-21s 169-9 (40 overs), Trinity Mid-Whitgiftian Under-21 173-8 (38.1 overs), Trinity won by two wickets.
Mahad Ahmed and Matt Gainsford played leading roles for Horley Under-21s in their Surrey Trust League Tier Two Play-off Final, but they couldn’t prevent Trinity Mid-Whitgiftians from winning an exciting game by two wickets.
Horley batted first on neutral territory at Normandy, near Guildford, and made 169-9 from their 40 overs.
The wickets tumbled early on and Horley were 43-5, but then an excellent 86 not out from Mahad Ahmed gave the innings some backbone. He and Guy Derham put together a crucial seventh wicket partnership of 72 before Derham was out for 22.
Down the order, Gainsford was unlucky to be run out by a remarkable direct-hit throw from deep cover by Mat Winter, while Jordan Robins was then caught and bowled by Joe Baxter, who grabbed a hard-hit shot about six inches off the ground.
Trinity’s reply started badly as Gainsford picked up two early wickets, both caught by Regan Derham, to make the score eight for two.
When Trinity were reduced to 77 for five in the 26th over after Sameer Khan was out for 47, Horley looked favourites to win, but Robbie Warburton, batting at number seven, then hit Trinity’s top score of 60 and they ended up passing Horley’s total with 11 balls to spare.
Gainsford took three catches to add to his two wickets, while Ben Davies took three wickets, Mahad Ahmed two and Adam Stephenson one.
Horley Under-14s 207-9 (40 overs), Rottingdean 208-5 (35.3 overs). Rottingdean won by five wickets.
Horley Under-14s were unable to make it a league and Festival Bowl double as they were beaten in the final for the second year in a row, this time by a good Rottingdean side.
Put into bat, Zack Collins and Christian Kelly got Horley off to a good start with a big-hitting opening partnership of 56 before Collins was caught for a swashbuckling 31 in the tenth over (five fours).
Kelly and skipper Aryan Patel took the score past 100 before Kelly was caught behind for an excellent 45 after 21 overs (eight fours), then Patel and Freddie Holland kept up the momentum, putting on 72 for the third wicket.
Patel played a great innings, making his best ever score for Horley – 74, including 13 fours and a six – before he was bowled in the 32nd over with the score on 180.
Horley couldn’t keep up the momentum in the final eight overs. Holland was run out for 16 and Harry Grimwood made 11 but three other batters were out in single figures as they tried to hit out.
With a total of 207 to defend from 40 overs, Horley really needed some early wickets and unfortunately they didn’t get them.
Rottingdean’s openers put together a partnership of 41 before Ben Cooper bowled Sam Blatchford in the tenth over. Another eight overs went by before Cooper – who the batters were struggling to score from - picked up the second wicket, well stumped by Kelly.
Rottingdean were a little behind the run-rate as the mid point of the innings went by, but Horley knew they needed wickets and Patel brought himself back into the attack early and had Rottingdean skipper and opener Connor Bettsworth stumped by Kelly for 61 in the 26th over.
By then the score was 135 for three and the visitors were picking up the pace of their innings, so Horley’s only hope was to take more wickets. Patel struck again in the 28th over, bowling Luke Twigger for 36, but Rottingdean were looking like hot favourites to win and they reached the target with four overs to spare.
Patel rounded off an outstanding individual performance by taking a magnificent diving catch off Collins in the 31st over, but Rottingdean were too strong for Horley on the day.
Cooper was Horley’s best bowler, taking two for 25 from his six overs, including a wicket maiden. Patel took two for 27.
Considering Horley have just seven under-14s in their entire squad and always have to call on the best players from the under-13s and 12s, to be champions of their East Surrey Colts League and reach the Festival final is an achievement to be proud of.
Southern Railway, Kenley and Selsdon 2nd XI 189-7 (45 overs), Horley 2nd XI 152 all out (45 overs). Kenley won by 37 runs.
Horley Seconds played a Southern Railway, Kenley and Selsdon team who were looking to gain promotion by winning this last match of the season.
Knowing he had 10 bowlers in his team, Horley skipper Darren Croft changed his attack frequently as he tried to ensure they all had the chance to bowl at least four overs.
This stopped the opposition getting into the groove and they found it very hard to score runs and were only 98 for four after the 28th over.
However, Kenley picked up the pace towards the end of their innings and finished on 189 for seven, with James Vear top-scoring with 52.
The pick of Horley’s bowlers were Abdul Razzaq with two for 26 from seven overs, including three maidens, and Fizal Nadir with two for 30 from seven overs. The other wickets were taken by Chris Cosham, Kaine Stephens and Croft.
Opener Adam Razzaq was the top-scorer in Horley’s reply with 40. Andrew Burbidge hit 21 and Zack Collins 20 not out down the order at nine, but wickets tumbled too quickly for Horley to challenge Kenley’s target and they were bowled out for 152.
This result allowed Horley to finish a respectable fourth in the league table and with the quality of young players coming through they look well poised to enjoy a more fruitful 2019 season.
The best batter for Horley 2nds through the league season was Burbidge with a total of 318 runs and Nadir took the most wickets, with 25.
Horley 1st XI 192-9 (45 overs), Southern Railway, Kenley and Selsdon 88 all out (32.4 overs). Horley won by 104 runs.
Horley won their final game of the season against Southern Rail and Kenley by 104 runs thanks to a good innings from Ross Nel and great bowling from Sam Remfry.
Having chosen to bat, Horley felt the pressure early on and found themselves at 46-4 after 14 overs. The middle order then battled back to make sure the score found its way to 192-9 with a big contribution from Nel scoring 87 not out. This was backed up by Stuart Macpherson scoring a breezy 28.
Kenley in reply struggled to really ever get going with a great bowling and fielding display from the visitors. The stand out bowler was Remfry who took five for 18 from seven overs.
Having been promoted at the end of last season, Horley finish this season in a respectable fifth place in the league table. They regard that as a slightly disappointing outcome as they were looking like finishing higher until they lost three matches on the bounce during August, but they hope to bounce back next season and will have promotion as their target.
HCC Match Reports