Horley Under-15s made a winning start to their East Surrey Colts League season with a strong all-round performance against Merstham.
Joe Willis, a new recruit for Horley, who plays age-grade cricket for Sussex and adult cricket for Horsham, hit a 29-ball 55 on debut. His knock included four sixes – one of which went out of the ground – and seven fours, and by finishing with a six he made the highest possible score for an individual batsman in this age group, as the retirement mark is 50.
Horley’s total of 176 for six from 20 overs included an unbeaten 37 from Zack Collins and 31 for Aryan Patel, while Bailey Warren was unlucky to be run-out at the non-strikers end for 17 when a powerful shot from Collins ricocheted off the bowler’s leg and hit the stumps.
Horley’s opening bowlers, Freddie Holland and Alex Field, kept it tight. After starting with a maiden, Field bowled Luca Retter in his second over and Ben Cooper had Aditya Chougule caught by Harry Grimwood, before Grimwood himself bowled Edward Cecil.
Wicket keeper Christian Kelly produced a bit of smart work to collect a throw from Willis and run out Liam Barry, and after James Cripps (38 not out) and Matthew Greaves (21) put on a 46-run partnership for the next wicket, Holland had Greaves caught by Collins. Merstham finished well short of their target on 115 for five.