Middleton CC’s under-13s are Sussex Junior Cricket Festival winners.
They performed superbly in a week of matches culminating in a final that brought a victory over Horley at Arundel Castle.
Here’s how the silverware was won...
West Chiltington & Thakeham (A) - A supreme performance with the bat saw Middleton declare on 234-3, with Phoenix Ashworth 105 not out and Murray Carter 73 not out.
West Chiltington finished on 177-5 with Murray Carter claiming two wickets, giving Middleton a winning draw.
Chichester Priory Park (A) - Middleton did a superb job with the ball, bowling out a strong Chichester team for 115 in 30 overs. Ashworth was the star claiming a five-wicket haul, and he was backed up by Sam Green and Harry Leaver who took two wickets each.
Middleton needed 116 to win and they chased this down in just 21.3 overs, Murray Carter scored 30 and Green 23 not out.
Arundel (A) - Arundel made life difficult for Middleton and they were bowled out for 157, with three wickets each for Charlie Maginnis and Leaver.
Middleton paced their innings superbly and made 160 in 30.3 overs with Rocco Gamblin reaching 40 not out, well supported by Leaver’s 40.
Horsham (H) - A strong Horsham team restricted the Middleton batsmen early on, but Carter made 46 and Ozzy Rishman 32. However it was Christian Bellamy’s 29 in ten balls that left Horsham a competitive total of 162-6 to beat.
Middleton took a number of late wickets and eventually bowled Horsham out for 127 with only three balls left. There were three wickets for Bellamy and two wickets each for Ashworth and Will Fountain.
Stirlands (H) - At one stage Middleton were 49-5, but an incredible partnership between Carter (94no) and Bellamy (77no) put on 176 and Middleton declared after 37 overs on 225-5.
An incredible catch on the boundary from captain Bellamy was a game-changer during the Stirland’ reply and they reached 151-5 at the end of their innings with two wickets for Leaver to give Middleton a winning draw.
SJCF final v Horley (at Arundel Castle) - Middleton came under some pressure after early wickets were taken by a strong opening bowling attack and at one stage they were 52-4. But player of the week Ashworth scored an unbeaten 88 and he was ably supported in a 55-run partnership with Gamblin (22), a 48-run partnership with Green (26) and a 46-run partnership with Alex Morley (6).
There was also a brief cameo with the bat from crowd favourite Ben Mackley. Middleton finished on 217-5.
Horley started their reply well ahead of the Middleton run-rate but another superb catch by Bellamy and a key wicket from Monty Hawkins swung the match in Middleton’s favour.
Middleton claimed a number of wickets late in the innings to bowl Horley out with just eight balls remaining and win a thrilling final by 15 runs.
Middleton wicketkeeper Carter claimed five stumpings, and there were two wickets each for Ashworth, Bellamy and Rocco Gamblin.
Horley manager Bob Patel selected Gamblin as Middleton’s man of the match and he was presented with the match ball before highly-influential Middleton captain Bellamy was handed the winners’ trophy and Middleton were crowned champions.
Under the management of Paul Gamblin and Richard Leaver, every player in the Middleton squad got a chance to shine during an amazing week of cricket and all contributed greatly to the success.
UNDER-11s WIN BOWL
After a successful week in the Sussex Junior Cricket Bowl, Middleton under-11s travelled to Lingfield CC to play Worthing CC in the prestigious county competition’s final.
Both teams had strong line-ups and despite pouring rain, a high-quality game of a maximum of 25 overs for each team was played. Middleton captain Marcus Nelmes lost the toss and Worthing elected to bat, but some excellent bowling from Will Fountain (4-19) and two wickets each for Kate de Lilis, Fergus Kenyon and captain Nelmes restricted Worthing to 93.
Middleton opened with Toby Barton, who had scored an unbeaten century earlier in the week, and Nelmes, who had scored runs in the older age groups throughout the summer, and these two talented batsmen put on a superb partnership of 89 off 15 overs.
The match was effectively won and despite both openers falling in their 40s, Will Fountain hit the winning runs and Middleton were under-11 champions of Sussex for the first time in 28 years.
Manager Martin Nelmes congratulated the team for an unbeaten week. There were exceptional performances by Barton (most runs in the competition), Nelmes and Fountain (most wickets) and a great team ethic that shone through.
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