Manenti makes perfect start with four wickets in team display from Roffey

JPCT 310514 S14230242x Cricket -  Roffey v Three Bridges. Roffey batting, Josh Fleming. Bowler, Tim Moses -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140306-092440001
JPCT 310514 S14230242x Cricket - Roffey v Three Bridges. Roffey batting, Josh Fleming. Bowler, Tim Moses -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140306-092440001

Sussex Premier League champions Roffey played their first match in the Gray-Nicolls T20 Cup and emerged comfortable winners by 53 runs.

Having lost the toss and being put into bat first, Roffey made 147-8 off their 20 overs.

In reply, home side Brighton were dismissed for 92.

Roffey captain Josh Fleming praised his side for a good all-round display in which their bowlers and fielders stood out.

He said: “It was a good team performance. Brighton bowled pretty well.

“I wasn’t sure if 147 was going to be a good score on that pitch, but it proved to be enough.

“We were excellent in the field and bowled really well.

“I was particularly pleased with our new overseas player Ben Manenti who hit 32 off 16 balls and took 4-14.”

Manenti is an off-spinner from Sydney in Australia and is just 18.

He has replaced the successful Indian overseas player from last season, Kuldeep Rawat, who is remaining in India having got married during the last 12 months.

Fleming topscored with 35 and Matt Davies smashed 22 quick-fire runs.

Fleming said: “All the bowlers did well and no-one went for more than 22 runs off their four-over spell.

“It is a competition we want to do well in and Brighton are a solid Premier Division side.

“It’s good to go down there and come away with a win.”

Fleming is aiming to be a title challenger again this summer, but accepts it will be a big ask to expect to be crowned champions for a second successive season.

He said: “We are still a strong side. Last year we played exceptionally well. If we can repeat that we are hoping to be title challengers.

“No-one can be sure of winning the title. Other teams will have got stronger and any side can get on a winning run or you can also easily slip down.

“We want to challenge and be at the right end of the table.

“We know it will be difficult to win the title again, as it was last year.”

Fleming has made just two additions to his squad with Manenti replacing Rawat and opening bowler Stuart Whittingham returning to his former club having been playing for neighbours Horsham.

The club would have liked to have strengthened further with more additions but admitted Roffey is not the first place players want to go to when they are looking for a new club.

He said: “There are so many clubs in the area of a similar standard and we are not one of the ‘big clubs’ like Horsham, so we find it quite hard to attract new players.”

But Fleming added: “Having said that, we are quite happy with our squad.”

Roffey expect to be close to full strength going into their opening game in the defence of their Sussex League title this Saturday when they are at home to one of their strongest rivals, Preston Nomads, starting at 12.30pm.