Derby day at Priory Park went to form as runaway Sussex League division-two leaders Middleton got home against Chichester – but only after a scare.
Middleton won the toss and inserted Chichester on a wicket that had been covered for two days.
As with all Priory Park wickets, there was early life and movement and the Middleton bowlers Tommy Davies and Jamie Thompson proved difficult to get away.
With runs proving difficult to come by, the pressure grew – and with the introduction of Anthony Ender, Michael Corrigan lost concentration and was smartly taken by Sean Heather in the slips.
The loss of Simon Hasted brought Jay Hartard to the crease and the Middleton strangehold began to lift.
Hartard has a habit of making batting look easy and he maintained his recent run of form with a well-constructed 39 before falling to a catch on the boundary.
Jolyon Dannatt, playing in only his second first XI game, showed great maturity and constructed a fine 60 to guide the team to 167 for nine.
Wickets were shared evenly by the Middleton bowlers, who maintained control throughout.
In reply Middleton got out of the blocks quickly, but hadn’t bargained for the fire of Matt Geffen, who bowled with pace and accuracy and ripped apart their top order with a devastating nine-over spell of four for 19.
However this brought to the wicket overseas player Jofra Archer (56) and agressive all-rounder Ender (70*), who put together the match-winning century partnership – taking Middleton from a precarious 52 for five to 150 for six.
Archer lost concentration in sight of the finishing line, leaving Ender and Brandon Hanley to secure a hard-earned victory for Middleton.
Chichester’s next fixture is away to Worthing this Saturday, when Middleton host Goring.