Bognor boost title hopes by getting better of Middleton

Brandon Hanley couldn't carry Middleton to victory against Bognor
Brandon Hanley couldn't carry Middleton to victory against Bognor

Bognor came out on top in a Sussex League division three west game reduced to a 20/20 clash because of wet weather against their local rivals and fellow title hopefuls Middleton.

The middleton groundstaff did superbly to get any game on and when Bognor elected to bat first, Middleton had little answer to Elliot Clarke’s attacking strokeplay.

Clarke looked in fine touch, effortlessly beating the infield on a number of occasions. He was well supported by Max Ashmore (37) before Clarke was well caught by Luke Hansford off the bowling of overseas bowler Nikolai Smith for 42 off 32 balls, including five fours and two sixes.

At 62 for one Bognor kept the runs ticking over, rotating the strike against Middleton’s accurate medium-pace attack of Smith (1-29) and Chris Spedding (2-32) during the middle overs.

With wickets in hand Bognor stepped up the run rate with Oli Handson (20) and Phill Ball (20*) at the helm.

Australian Sam Taylor hit a six off his first ball – the final ball of the innings. Bognor finished on 147 off their 20 overs.

The pick of the Middleton bowlers were Smith (1-20) and Spedding (2-32).

Middleton could not capitalise early on as Luke Hansford (4) fell victim to Oli Handson’s spin with fine glove work from Josh Seward to stump the youngster in the second over.

Spedding (20) and Smith (15) played positively against the new ball finding the boundary with attacking strokeplay.

A run of boundaries was quickly cut off as Jim Lee claimed both batsmen’s wickets. Lee found his line and length instantly, bowling with brilliant control and intelligence.

With Middleton 55 for four their chances looked slim – but skipper Brandon Hanley (39) and Alex Price (26) batted extremely well in wet conditions.

Hanley pummelled the ball to the boundary on six occasions, including three sixes. But he was caught going for one too many as Taylor took a brilliant catch at long-off from Josh Broad (1-33).

Middleton’s lower order could not build on Hanley’s efforts as the side slipped from 119 for five to 124 for eight thanks to Taylor (2-21) returning for the final overs. Middleton fell 18 short with eight wickets down.

Lee was the pick of the bowlers with three for eight in four overs.

The last three overs were played in torrential rain which confirmed the decision to play 20/20 had been right.

Bognor took 16 points to Middleton’s ten and move 21 clear at the top.