Horley Under-13s had to play some tough fixtures in last week’s Sussex Festival, with matches against last year’s finalists Horsham and Cuckfield and a very strong Lingfield team.
The boys performed superbly, drawing with Horsham on Tuesday in the first match but coming so close to a win with only two runs needed off the last ball (Horsham 167-9 declared, 32.5 overs, Horley 166-8, 37 overs).
Highlights included a hat-trick from Evan Grimwood in a four-wicket haul, plus brilliant bowling from fellow paceman Edward James with three wickets of his own. Ben Ware batted at number four on his Horley debut and made a masterly 80 not out with a mixture of big hitting and sound defence.
Cuckfield came to Horley Row on Thursday and batted first, building a big total even though Horley got their strongest batsman out relatively early, the brilliant catch at mid-wicket by Jack Love giving them the start they hoped for.
Cuckfield eventually declared on 217 and left Horley 39 overs to try and beat it. Horley skipper Harry Grimwood hit a majestic 90, bravely batting on with a foot injury and came so close to bringing Horley the victory they wanted. In the end an exciting finish saw another drawn game, with Joe English and Jack Love surviving the last over surrounded by the Cuckfield fielders, seeking the elusive last wicket, as Horley finished on 203-9.
Lingfield away on Friday ended with the game being abandoned due to rain, but only after Love made headlines again with his first ever half-century, hitting a quick-fire 60 in response to Lingfield's 170 all out. Under-11 player Aidan Spalding took two wickets and Tim Holt only gave away one run in his speedy three-over spell. At 84-2 when the rain stopped play, Horley were in a strong position but the win they so richly deserved over the three matches proved elusive.