Middleton’s marvels show they can do better at Billingshurst

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After two fairly abject performances to start the season in Sussex League division three west, Middleton travelled to Billingshurst knowing they must do better to have any chance of winning - and so they did.

But after losing the toss and being inserted they slumped to eight for three, losing three wickets in four balls.

The team are used to fighting back, though, and Seb Gallagher and Sean Rebbetts led the response, putting together an excellent partnership on a wicket that was hard work.

The pair built excellent foundations in an 80-run stand. Gallagher was stumped trying to push the score on for a well-made 42, while Rebbetts continued to push on, hitting his second half-century in a row. Both have been tremendous knocks under pressure.

He and Brandon Hanley put together a good partnership before Rebbetts was run out with the score on 130, but Hanley continued his good form and was well-supported by Rawstrone, the pair taking the score up to 190 for six.

With Billingshurst getting only two bonus points, the pressure was on them to win the game.

They started well with the bat, Scott Stratton chancing his arm with some good shots and some indifferent ones, and the total of 190 looked light.

But Middleton held faith that once the new ball was old, runs would be harder to come by.

Gallagher had Stratton caught behind for 36 but the theory was proven wrong when Harris went on the attack.

With Billingshurst in control, though, Jamie Thompson changed things in the space of two overs.

First he took a stunning catch to remove Pete Burroughs, then a couple of overs later he clean-bowled Harris.

Thompson was working up a head of steam and had danger man Mike Burroughs caught by Hansford.

Wickets started to fall in quick succession. Some rash shots and excellent bowling meant Billingshurst were bowled out for 140.

Thompson claiming his senior five-wicket haul and was well supported by Tom Davies, who picked up four important wickets.

This was an excellent response from Middleton, but tough challenges lie ahead over the next couple of weeks with one or two players missing.