Middleton lose in league - then fall off road to Lord’s

Middleton suffered a weekend to forget in the league and cup.

In division two of the Sussex League, they hosted Goring this weekend hoping to avenge a five-wicket loss earlier in the season.

The visitors chose to field first and took full advantage of an unpredictable surface. Middleton’s top six batsmen were all dismissed in single figures as they fell to 26 for six in the first ten overs.

Opening bowlers Matt Keen and Ross Baumann caused carnage, sharing seven wickets between them. The home side were saved from complete embarrassment by skipper Brandon Hanley (38) who contributed nearly half the total as Middleton were bowled out for 98 in just 29 overs.

The players headed straight back onto the field of play given how quickly Middleton were dismissed.

Goring opening batsman Keen made light work of Middleton’s attack, smashing his way to 43 before becoming one of Hanley’s four wickets. A flurry of wickets meant a Goring victory was not the foregone conclusion some predicted.

Despite the late collapse, Goring completed the victory in 24 overs by five wickets.

Sunday compounded Middleton’s cricketing woes as they travelled up to scenic Dinton in Oxfordshire with a place in the quarter-final of the National Village Cup at stake. Again, Middleton lost the toss and were put in.

The batting jitteres were still evident as early wickets stunted the visitors’ ability to rotate the strike and put pressure on Dinton. Tight lines and electric fielding restricted Middleton to 189 for nine off their 40 overs. Ben Hansford finished 80 not out.

The positives end there - hapless Middleton were carted around by Dinton skipper Michael Sutliff. The experienced opening batsman looked a different class as he punished anything the bowlers had to offer. He finished just shy of a century as Dinton completed a nine-wicket victory in just 30 overs - and 46 extras didn’t help Middleton’s cause.

Middleton must now concentrate on an ailing league campaign, which sees them perilously close to the drop zone with a tough fixture against Pulborough looming this weekend.