Depleted Middleton Pul together for a draw

Middleton scraped a Sussex League division-two draw at Pulborough with a severely under-strength side.

They elected to field on a rather muggy day but were missing five regular first-team players.

Opener Imran Khan fell one short of a half-century and Jonathan Bennett took the headlines, scoring 138 off just 128 deliveries.

A 90-run partnership between Bennett and James Smillie (37) was the highlight of the Pulborough innings.

Alfie Bunker used the conditions well, finishing with two scalps. Debutant Luke Heffron was called up at 11am but bowled and fielded like a seasoned senior.

The home side declared on 261 for five.

The reliable Ben Hansford was unfortunate to be run out at the non-striker’s end in the second over. Nelmes followed, leaving the visitors reeling on five for two.

Captain Jamie Thompson joined opener Towner and the duo consolidated and attempt to salvage something.

Thompson made a crowd-pleasing 42 before succumbing to the spin of Khan, Towner playing patiently for 27.

Middleton were reliant on second XI players who had been drafted in and they didn’t let the side down.

Bunker (12), Macer (30) and Colvin (61) combined to score efficiently and get Middleton in the points.

After three late wickets, Davis and Matt Hansford saw the game out.

Captain Thompson said: “Despite the character shown by the team to scrape a draw there are underlying issues that need to be resolved if the team are going to progress.”