Middleton head and Shoulders ahead of rivals

After last week’s thrilling victory over Worthing, Middleton travelled to Crowhurst Park in Sussex League division two full of confidence and made it two wins from two.

Winning the toss, stand-in skipper Sean Heather asked Crowhurst to bat and only three runs were on the board before opening bowler Ant Ender got the breakthrough for Middleton.

Crowhurst Park captain Paul Brookes (34) and opening batter Ed Smissen took the score to 47 before Middleton new boy Keelan Shoulders was introduced.

His consistent line and length, backed up with clever variations, proved the key and pulled Crowhurst back to 61 for five.

Clive Tong and Peter Beaumont batted well to put on a partnership of 69 for the home side before Ender and Davies removed them respectively.

It was left down to Shoulders to take the final two wickets, ending with figures of six for 29 off 11.4 overs, restricting Crowhurst Park to 176 all out.

Heather and Burrows took the total to 22 before Burrows was trapped lbw to Brookes (1-31). Keelan Shoulders batted patiently with Heather as they took the score to 73 before Heather was trapped lbw for 41.

Middleton’s strength in depth showed as Ben Hansford, playing in his new role at number four having opened in previous seasons, was in the mood to play freely and he got the score moving with the support of Shoulders.

Just two runs were required when Shoulders was caught at extra-cover for 55 ending an incredible day for him. Hansford finished the game in style with a straight six, meaning Middleton top the division.

On Saturday they welcome Findon to Sea Lane, hoping to avenge their Village Cup heartbreak at the hands of Findon.