Cricket: Middleton lose out in league - but Lord’s dream is alive

A busy weekend for Middleton saw them lose at Crowhurst in Sussex division two before making progress to the last 16 of the National Village Cup by beating Wheathampstead.

At Crowhurst, the hosts won the toss and chose to bat but at 76 for six, they were soon wondering if the risk had backfired.

A devastating opening spell from the Middleton bowlers put them in charge until a dearth of bowling options gave the home side an opportunity to place much-needed runs on the board.

Clive Tong (63) and Paul Lindfield (45) blasted the home side to 202 before they were eventually dismissed.

Kieren Jones finished with four wickets and Tommy Davies and Rob Maier helped themselves to three scalps each.

The Middleton batting line-up then capitulated under the pressure of chasing a low score.

Six batsmen made it into double figures yet none went on to make any score of note.

Jamie Thompson (37) and Rory Collier (36) briefly halted the constant stream of batsmen heading back to the pavilion. Eventually the visitors were bowled out for 176 off 43 overs, handing mid-table Crowhurst victory by 26 runs.

If Saturday was Jekyll then Sunday was most definitely Hyde as Middleton outclassed Wheathampstead to make it through to the final 16 of the National Village Cup.

Batting first, Burrows (31) and Towner (40) provided early stability for Middleton, which left Thompson (28) and Hanley, whose 82 came from 52 deliveries and included five lost balls, to provide the crowd-pleasing carnage. The home side finished on a hefty 260 for eight off their 40 overs.

Batting second, Wheathampstead suffered a similar plight to Middleton’s Saturday performance as the regular loss of wickets hindered their opportunities to attack.

Davies again finished with three wickets and Stan Ball claimed two, but it was second-team skipper Glenn Houchen who stole the show. His four wickets cost just 19 runs and sealed victory for the impressive Middleton side.

A journey to Dinton, near Oxford, beckons in two weeks as Middleton continue their efforts to get to Lord’s. A coach is leaving from Middleton CC on the Sunday morning - please visit the club website and email Ian Burrows to book a seat.