Cricket: Middleton reckon ‘bash’ is a smash

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Middleton CC won the inaugural Sussex Cricket Board Big Smash competition, after defeating Portslade in the final by 47 runs at their own ground.

The tournament ran over three weekends in September and the format played was a fast-paced version of the game called Last Man Stands. It is making an emergence in West Sussex and more clubs are starting to see the benefits of playing a shortened version of the game.

Cricket development manager Steve Feazey said: “This season has been one of the most challenging known to cricket clubs. The weather has been inconsistent and caused a record amount of cancelled matches.

“We wanted to provide a competition for our clubs to participate in which would give the season a good send-off and we felt the best way of doing this was to incorporate the Last Man Stands format.

“Last Man Stands is a quick and exciting version of cricket. It’s eight-a-side with some quirky rules and the teams get to wear coloured clothing.

“Once you’ve played you also receive a world-ranking position against players in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia which gives you the incentive to try to improve your ranking over the season.

“The great thing about the format is the game lasts only two hours, so it can fit in with busy lifestyles.”

Ian Burrows of Middleton CC commented: “Everyone involved at Middleton thoroughly enjoyed the Big Smash tournament organised by the Sussex Cricket Board, and look forward to the organisation of similar events in the future.

“The imposed time limits for each innings, the field placings that eight-a-side require and free hits for all no balls, when combined with the double play rule where two players can be dismissed from the same delivery, leave players and spectators with plenty to think about!

“All the players who took part and spectators that came along to watch enjoyed the tournament, which extended the Saturday cricket on offer in September by three weeks, with the added bonus that the games were played in some of the best weather of the summer.”

In the third-fourth play-off, Broadbridge Heath beat West Wittering by 126 runs.