Middleton and Steyning cancel each other out

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Middleton entertained Steyning in a Sussex League division-three game both sides really needed to win to keep on track with the leaders - but both were left less than satisfied as it petered out into a draw.

Before the start, both sides took part in a minute’s silence for Mark Smith of Henfield CC, who tragically passed away last weekend.

With Middleton batting first, Matt Warren and Sean Rebbetts were charged with giving the home side the sort of start they’d expect but it was soon business as usual when Warren guided one to backward point into the gleeful hands of Mcpherson.

Rebbetts followed his partner back into the hutch after he played all around a straight one and Middleton were 19 for two.

Seb Gallagher and Ben Hansford put together a marvellous partnership of 140, playing with excellent control and pacing the innings very well.

Gallagher chipped one to mid-off in his 80s but Hansford carried on getting excellent support from Hanley, Colvin and Towner en route to his first century of the season.

It was a great effort from Hansford, particularly as he hasn’t had the sort of start to a season he would expect, so to work hard and pace an innings as well as he did was a testament and credit to him.

It allowed an early declaration at 264 off of 51 overs, but it was difficult to know what was the right score.

There was an exciting start in the field, with Gallagher cleaning up the in-form McPherson in the first over.

Middleton needed more early wickets but Steyning were to have the better of things for the next 20 or so overs.

First Sewell and Jones put together a nice partnership of 74 before Hunt and Jones added another 50 when the fun and games started.

Middleton needed quick wickets and there’s no better way to achieve that than a team hat-trick. First to strike was Chris Spedding, Hunt chipping one of his dipping, swinging full tosses straight to Adam Rawstrone at mid-wicket.

Off the next ball Jones gave Brandon Hanley a simple return catch for an excellent 70 and then as excitement reached unbareable levels, Patrick Colvin shimmied to his left at pace and threw down the stumps to run out Mottershead, who had not faced a ball.

At 124 for five the door was open but the home side couldn’t get the extra wickets that would have put pressure on the tail.

Ed Lamb and Sam Grant batted very well and kept trying for the win despite the run rate working against them.

Grant was eventually well caught by Colvin while Lamb went on to make an unbeaten 60 not out as the game petered ended in a draw.

It was an improvement from Middleton, but tough games lie ahead.