Horley outclassed by higher-level opposition in county cup final
Horley Cricket Club’s season ended on a low note when they were outclassed by Old Hamptonians in the Surrey Trust League Tier Two Development Final on Sunday.
The eight-wicket loss was a reminder that Horley regularly punch above their weight in this competition, as in the league season Old Hamptonians first XI won promotion from Surrey Championship Division Three, three tiers above Horley firsts in the league pyramid.
It shone a light on last week’s excellent semi-final win over Hampton Wick, who play two tiers above Horley.
In the final at Old Whitgiftian Cricket Club, Horley lost the toss and were put in and struggled from the outset, losing both openers cheaply.
Horley tried to batten down the hatches and see off the opening bowlers but still lost regular wickets with Old Hamptonians holding their catches to reduce Horley to 14-4 after 11 overs.
Skipper Matt Gainsford came in at the fall of the fifth wicket with 19 on the board and started to take the initiative in partnership with Guy Derham and Luke Smith, but at 50-6 the forecast rain arrived, with 21 overs gone.
A two-and-a-half-hour break ensued and when play resumed the match had been shortened to 26 overs aside, meaning Horley had five overs to try to boost their score.
Gainsford hit two sixes and three fours making 36 off 27 balls and Matt Puttick also hit a six, but Horley were all out for 91 in 25.4 overs.
The Duckworth-Lewis-Stern calculator set Old Hamptonians a target of just 85 in 26 overs, the target reduced because Horley had lost so many early wickets.
Matt Puttick made an early breakthrough, with his brother Anthony taking the catch behind the stumps, and Adam Stephenson bowled the other opener, but Horley couldn’t claim another scalp and Old Hamptonians cruised to 88 from 13.2 overs to take the trophy.
It was a disappointing end to the season for Horley but, through the season, the teenagers, who have filled the five spots in the Development XI which must be occupied by under-18s are all from the under-16s or below, will only improve in the coming years and Horley’s team should get stronger.