Middleton content to finish in middle - but Chichester go down

Middleton CC with their scorer Judith Burrows  Picture by Louise Adams C130624-1
Middleton CC with their scorer Judith Burrows Picture by Louise Adams C130624-1

Middleton’s final game of the season provided a spectacle as both sides wanted to finish the season on a high and set the tone for next year.

The toss was won by Middleton, who chose to bowl on a pitch that looked fairly docile.

Wickets soon started to tumble, leaving the visitors on 71 for six thanks to fearsome bowling from Tommy Davies and Brandon Hanley.

Only four of the visiting batsmen made it into double figures as Middleton’s attack dominated until the latter overs.

Rob Maier and picked up two timely wickets to confirm the home side’s dominance - and as Crowhurst Park stumbled their way to 105 for eight, many predicted an early finish.

Five Crowhurst batsmen fell to lbw decisions in a frantic last hour when Martin Barry plundered 22 boundaries in a magnificent 117 off just 115 deliveries. Eventually the home side bowled Crowhurst out for 218.

Middleton lost opening duo Hansford (17) and Burrows (8) early to veteran Paul Brookes.

Ed Towner (14) soon fell, leaving the home side reeling on 58 for three, but it was Middleton No3 Rob Willway who steadied the ship and provided a calming presence throughout the innings as he worked his way to 89, only falling in the penultimate over of the match.

Maier (38) offered Willway sterling support as they put on 86 to seal the win for Middleton.

The home side completed a four-wicket victory, a result that leaves them with a mid-table finish after a successful return to division two.

Playing them next season will be Chichester, who have been relegated from the premier division.

It’s been a tough season in the premier division for Chichester Priory Park although their final total of 238 points was only ten short of the number that would have put them above Brighton and secured their top-flight status.

In the end, it was their inability to win any more than four games that cost them.

The final nail in the coffin came on Saturday as they lost at home to Cuckfield.

The visitors scored 300 for six and declared with Chris Kirkham (3-62) the only bowler able to do much damage.

Richard Browning’s 83 not out gave Chichester hope in reply but he ran out of partners and they were all out for 239.