Billingshurst beaten as Middleton confirm champion status

Middleton confirmed their status as Sussex division three west champions with a resounding 67-run victory away to closest rivals Billingshurst.

Middleton had to win to complete an unbeaten campaign but Billingshurst won the toss and fielded.

Ben Hansford and Will Burrows opened and Hansford dispatched the bowlers to all parts in an aggressive manner before being bowled by Alex Lowther 14 short of his fourth half-century of the year.

Ed Towner hit the ball cleanly in a robust 52 including eight boundaries. He fell soon after making his fourth 50 of the season.

In his last game, Middleton overseas star Nikolai Smith made a quick and classy 36. Jamie Thompson (30) enjoyed a good day with the bat, clearing the ropes more than once.

The other innings of note came from Alfie Bunker, who continued his good form from the previous weekend hitting a career-best 32 from 20 balls to help the visitors post 242 for nine.

Dhanushka Mitipolaarachchi was the pick of the bowlers with three for 38.

Billingshurst openers Carleon Brome (57) and Tim Weston (27) went about chasing the total with aggression and measured shots. Brome got to his half century before becoming the first of six victims for spinner Will Searle.

After both openers fell, the home side offered little resistance as Searle and Chris Spedding tore through a hapless Billingshurst batting line-up finishing with six and four wickets respectively.

Two catches from Towner and three stumpings from keeper Will Burrows ensured Middleton preserved their unbeaten run.

The game signalled the retirement of Spedding, who has served Middleton well in a nine-year career and who leaves with good wishes.