Cricket: Middleton may find safety - Pagham already have

Jamie Thompson bowling for Middleton / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Jamie Thompson bowling for Middleton / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Middleton still harbour hopes of avoiding relegation from the Sussex Premier League after a fine win over Billingshurst.

Pagham look like they’re already safe in division two following their latest win.

Billingshurst v Middleton

Sussex Premier League

Middleton knew anything less than a victory would probably end their hopes of retaining their Premier League status – but came home still dreaming of a great escape.

On a still-wet pitch, the umpires and captains agreed to delay the start by an hour and reduce the game to 100 overs.

Billingshurst won the toss and invited Middleton to bat first.

Middleton lost a wicket in the third over, which brought together Will Burrows and Jofra Archer, and these two built a partnership of 96 through a combination of watchful batting and careful shot selection.

It was a repeat of a match-winning partnership of 76 between the two in the same fixture lastseason. When Burrows was out caught for 33 the score was 98 in the 25th over.

Four overs later Abi Sakande returned to the attack for a second spell and in a six-over spell of five for 23 he saw Middleton bowled out in the 42nd over for just 147. Archer was out on 72.

There was a sense around the ground as Billingshurst started their reply that the game was very much theirs to lose. When Sussex player Chris Liddle opening the batting helped himself to a six in the seventh over, it looked like something special would be needed to alter the course of the game.

The very next ball Liddle attempted to repeat the shot and skied the ball to mid-off where the catch was well taken by Brandon Hanley.

Hanley was immediately brought in to the attack and struck twice in his forst over, dismissing opener Stuart Barber with a smart return catch and then having Tom Nightingale caught at short mid-off by a diving Jamie Thompson.

Suddenly it looked a very different game and Hanley, looking unplayable in the conditions, went on to record figures of 11-4-15-6.

Keelan Shoulders (2-17) provided good support to Hanley as did Adam Rawstrone (2-18).

Billingshurt were bowled out for just 64 in just 28.2 overs providing Middleton with a much needed 83-run victory - and importantly, leaving them within 12 points of three sides above them.

This Saturday Middleton host Brighton and Hove (midday start).

Lindfield v Pagham

Sussex division two

Top-of-the-table Lindfield opted to bat first and found attacking was the way to play.

Pagham got lucky when Maz O’Dowd got run out backing up but Chris Sawyer (65) scored freely.

Thanks to excellent bowling from Nabid Rehman (4-59) and Justin Scott (3-22) Lindfield were restricted to a competitive score of 197 all out.

Pagham made a good sart in reply reaching 43 before losing three quick wickets. This brought together skipper Joe De La Fuente and Eranga Dissangge who put of 50 for the fourth wicket before Eranga chased a wide ball and was caught.

But Joe De La Fuente batted with great panache to reach a well-crafted 60, supported well by Joe Metz, who hit a quickfire 34 before perishing to a catch on the boundary.

With the loss of Justin Scott for two Pagham still needed 20 with three wickets left but soon got their win thanks to two sixes from Freddie Burgess (17no).

The 30 points all but ensure Pagham live to fight another season in division two.

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