Middleton and Stirlands have both dipped out of the Sussex League T20 Cup at the first hurdle.
Middleton v Preston Nomads
Sussex League T20 Cup
The ground at Middleton for the first round of the Twenty20 Cup looked fantastic thanks to the hard work and dedication of the groundsmen and volunteers who work so hard to make it one of the best grounds to play cricket on in Sussex.
Middleton welcomed Preston Nomads, the 2013 Sussex Premier League champions, for the afternoon.
The hosts lost the toss and were put in by Nomads. Captain Sean Heather, covering for the absent Brandon Hanley, opened the innings with Jack Lerwill.
They were up against one of the best opening attacks in the county league, Matt Hobden and Carl Simon. The openers stayed together until Phillips struck in the eighth over, having Lerwill caught for six with the score on 22.
Heather followed with the score on 41 as he sought to up the tempo. This brought Ben Hansford and Will Burrows together, Hansford departing caught for 22 with the score on 59.
Burrows saw his side through to 20 overs making 39 not out, including a six and two fours off Simon in his second spell.
Middleton finished on 107 for five and Phillips was the most successful bowler for Nomads with two for 21.
Nomads seemed confident they had done enough by containing Middleton to just over five an over. However they lost Ollie Gatting lbw to Jamie Thompson in the first over and were soon eight for two with Tommy Davies removing Jeremy Green’s off-stump in the second over.
Nomads continued to lose wickets steadily to good Middleton bowling and two exceptional catches by Heather, the second of which brought David Smith to the wicket with Nomads needing 25 to win - but with eight wickets down and 11 balls remaining.
Smith was dropped on the boundary with the ball going for four. He took advantage of his good fortune hitting the final three balls of the game for six, six and four - seeing his side home off the last ball.
The most successful bowler for Middleton was Davies with two for 12 off his four overs.
This was a promising performance from Middleton, who start their Sussex League division-two campaign at home to Worthing,
relegated from the Premier League, this Saturday (1pm).
In the second XI game, Preston Nomads elected to bat and totalled 127 for five.
Middleton got of to an indifferent start and were all out for 109 in the 19th over, 18 runs short of their target.
Worthing v Stirlands
Sussex League T20 Cup
A mixed Stirlands side went out of the T20 Cup at the first hurdle at Worthing.
Worthing elected to bat and started strongly, with Andy Reid and Matthew Green putting on 97 for the first wicket before Green fell toa smart stumping by Stuart Hanks for 54 off the bowling of debutant Jake Wadey.
Stirlands squeezed Worthing batters, bowling and fielding well despite a lack of pre-season games which were washed out.
Worthing ended on 136 for four.
Excellent bowling by the opening duo of Australian Corey Altis and Jamie Piper reduced Stirlands to 18 for four, from which they were never able to recover.
They limped to 60 for nine off their 20 overs, mostly thanks to Struan Cameron’s crafted 35.
Heart can be taken from the efforts shown in the field and by the bowling attack, and had Stirlands been able to have game time in the preceding weeks, the game could have been tighter.
The return of several key players ahead of Saturday’s opening league fixture at Haywards Heath will give encouragement.
Get all the local cricket action in the Observer every Thursday - send your reports and pictures to email@example.com