Middleton and Bognor keep title hopes alive

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Middleton and Bognor enjoyed wins over Arundel and Littlehampton to keep up the pressure on leaders Findon in the Sussex Cricket League’s division three west.

Arundel v Middleton

Middleton made it three wins in a row with a convincing performance that consolidated their grip on third place.

They’re still some way off runaway leaders Findon, who lost for the first time in eight weeks.

Having won the toss, the visitors decided to chase, having had success in recent weeks knocking off targets.

Once again Tom Davies got an early breakthrough when he sneaked one through Stothert’s defences.

Gallagher also struck early against his former club when he had James caught by Lerwill.

At 22 for three Arundel were in trouble but Clarke and Murray consoildated. The latter in particular looked in decent touch on his way to 43 before he was brilliantly caught off Brandon Hanley by Patrick Colvin.

The wicket sparked a mini-collapse with three more quick wickets falling, two to Hanley’s spin and one to Adam Rawstrone.

That made it 94 for six but Ryan Chitty came to Arundel’s rescue as he and Harrison Temple took the score to 136 before Hanley struck again, Chitty holing out to Sean Rebbetts in the deep for 28.

Hanley completed a five-wicket haul with the dismissal of Temple before Davies struck late to dismiss Dabinett Jays, Arundel finishing on 164 for nine from 53 overs.

It looked a little below par, but with this Middleton line-up nothing is certain.

True to form, an early wicket fell as the returning Lerwill was undone by Temple’s slower ball.

Ed Towner and Stuart Nelms set about putting the innings on track with a nice partnership of 54 before quick wickets gave Arundel hope.

Jays removed Nelmes lbw, Towner fell to Neil Chitty to a shot he’d prefer to forget and Chitty had Colvin stumped off an uncomfortable-looking shot.

But Middleton were able to add runs during this period and while at 104 for five they were wobbling, with only 60 needed, only one partnership was required.

Hanley and Rebbetts took Middleton home to victory.

Rebbetts played the anchor role well for an unbeaten 30 while Hanley was more aggressive, hitting two big sixes on his way to 40 not out, which, along with his wickets, marked an excellent day for him and his team-mates.

Bognor v Littlehampton

Bognor were back to winning ways as they chased down Littlehampton’s total with four wickets to spare.

Littlehampton won the toss and had no hesitation batting first on a flat pitch.

Littlehampton’s opening pair were make hay as Jim Lee (2-34) and Graham Bush (2-38) bowled consistently and viciously. Bush dismissed Sajiid Khan for four with a fantastic reaction catch from slip fielder Oliver Hanson.

With Littlehampton 52 for four, Bognor looked in complete control. Littlehampton, however, began to show resilience as Guy Souch and Michael Askew (30) showed how good a wicket it was.

Bognor turned to spin to slow down the run rate and break the partnership. Rob Willway brought the batsmen on to the front foot, his turn and bounce dismissing both men.

Littlehampton top scorer Souch departed off Willway for a crucial 69. Chris Heberlein struck a quick 30, then Willway claimed another wicket.

With all of Littlehampton’s recognised batsmen back in the hutch, Handson (2-40) and Willway (4-38) rushed through Littlehampton’s lower order and they were all out for 197.

Littlehampton needed to claim early wickets and Australian Michael Spaseski was out for 12.

Max Ashmore and Willway stabilised the innings and Littlehampton’s pace options brought them no joy as the ball regularly found the boundary.

Littlehampton’s young leg spinner Amit Midha (2-56) was brought into the attack but Bognor proceeded at a steady rate until Willway was caught and bowled by Midha for 26.

Elliot Clarke and Ashmore pushed the singles against the spin while attacking the pacemen. Clarke was in good touch until he fell to a great catch from Darren Bazley off Matt Parnell. Ashmore passed 50 but was adjudged lbw off Rive for 64.

Handson (37) punished the bowlers until he was caught off Midha. Bognor sneaked over the line thanks to Andrew Quincey (17) and Bush (5).

Bognor host leaders Findon this week.