Defeats for Middleton and Selsey and a draw for Pagham feature in a round-up of the action involving three of our local sides.
Middleton v Eastbourne
Sussex division two
Middleton entertained top-of-the-league Eastbourne and despite the teams being at opposite ends of the table, the competitive nature of both outfits was evident as Middleton won the toss and chose to bat for the first time this season.
The promotion hopefuls made early inroads to the Middleton batting line-up and few troubled the scorers as the home side were left reeling at 38 for three after Hansford (10), Burrows (14) and Towner (1) failed to make an impact.
Rob Willway (26) and Jamie Thompson (25) provided some fight to save the relegation battlers from embarrassment and an early finish.
Pat Colvin (39) once again proved his worth as he took the attack to Eastbourne’s bowling attack. A brief cameo from skipper Brandon Hanley (23) helped Middleton edge up to 159 all out off 46 overs.
Middleton then took to the field hoping to at least make Eastbourne work for their victory - no-one could have predicted what happened next.
Eastbourne lost early wickets at regular intervals as the visitors were suddenly reduced to 96 for seven and Middleton’s modest target looked like a mountain to climb.
With 63 runs needed to win and only three wickets needed, it seemed like Middleton might just pull off the biggest shock of the season.
It took the quality of captain Mark Tomsett (92) to see his jittering team home. Hanley put a marathon effort in, taking five wickets from his 19 overs, while Rob Willway also chipped in with a 13-over spell.
Eastbourne still remain top of the league while Middleton fall to one place above of the drop zone, although there is 44 points daylight between them and next placed Glynde.
Crawley Eagles v Pagham
Sussex division three west
Crawley batted first on a very windy afternoon and were soon in trouble against the pace of Nabid Rehman and slipped to 74 for seven.
But Pagham’s afternoon soon turned on its head with Crawley’s No7 Faz Ian Nizamden scoring a fine 102 not out. The home side finished on a match changing core of 252 for eight. Only Rehman proved any problems to the Crawley batsmen finishing with four for 68 from 21 overs.
Pagham made a slow and poor start and were soon 78 for five but as is usual with Pagham the lower order batting at least managed to stave off defeat, ending on 154 for seven.
Joe Turner top-scored with a fine 42, Mike Hales ended 23 not out and Rehman hit an unbeaten 22.
Portslade v Selsey
Invitation League division one
Selsey lost to the promotion-chasers.
Portslade won the toss and decided to bat on a decent-looking pitch.
Pete Horner (1-38) found his rhythm early taking Paul Glover’s wicket in the third over. David Wainwright (43) set a foundation with New Zealander Hamish Lewis (76). The pair made 108 for the second wicket. Selsey created half-chances but couldn’t capitalise.
Lewis fell to James Chaloner (1-28) after drinks with the score 109 for two and Selsey reduced their hosts to 152 for five aided by the off-spin of Tom Cripps (4-71).
Tom Nickolson made a quick 51 and pushed the score to 225.
Dave Benham (2-19) and Tom Amis (1-43) gained Selsey extra bowling points as Portslade declared on 235 for nine.
Selsey’s chase started well, but Jacob Miles (39) and Tim Fewster’s (27) opening stand of 66 did not set the tone. Both fell in quick succession and Selsey collapsed to 93 for six.
Selsey kept up with the required rate but failed to cope with the spinners who took all ten wickets. Glover took four for 56 and Case six for 46.
Gary Mack (26) and Pete Horner (28) provided some resistance in a partnership of 44 for the seventh wicket with all the runs coming in boundaries. But the damage had already been done and Selsey slumped to 145 all out.
Selsey picked up 12 points and go into their free week in the bottom two but just four points behind Littlehampton.