Middleton safe - Bognor have work to do
Middleton have made sure of their place in next season's Sussex Premier Cricket League with three games to go.
Despite overnight rain the Sea Lane wicket was dry and looked suited to take spin, not something Middleton were happy to see, given that Hastings’ strength generally lies with its spinners.
Sean Heather lost the toss and Hastings elected to bat.
Once again the Middleton new ball attack of Matt Cooke and Tommy Davies got a good start. Not only did Cooke account for both openers, the pair’s economy restricted Hastings to just 41 in the first 14 overs.
Good spells followed from Nick Smith and Russell Talman ensuring the pressure was on the Hastings batsmen and at 26 overs the score had only advanced to 73 for two, both taken by Smith.
The fall of the third wicket brought Sussex batsman Harry Finch to the crease.
Heather joined the attack in the 27th over, bowling ten overs with a return of 3-34. Leg-spinner Matt Reynolds was introduced into the attack in the 30th over and his first ball spun alarmingly.
Finch was out to Reynolds with his score on 64, and the Hastings innings concluded on 183-9 from 50 overs.
The Middleton batsmen decided to go hard at the Hastings bowlers from the start and as expected Hastings opened at one end with spin.
Will Burrows was first to go in the seventh over, the left -hander bowled out of the rough by spinner Elliott Hooper.
Gerhardt Abrahams joined Angus Robson and they took the score to 63 in just the 11th over when Robson was out for 39.
Abrahams shared a partnership of 57 with skipper Heather and an unbeaten stand of 60 with Patrick Colvin. Middleton reached the required total with a six from Abrahams, who ended 75 not out. His innings included nine fours and two sixes from 73 balls.
The win takes Middleton to fifth in the table and guarantees their Premier League status.
Ifield v Bognor
Ifield elected to field in a bid to strengthen their title hopes against Bognor.
Spinner Jigar Parekh (1-21) opened the team’s account early but Max Ashmore (54) and Mikey Harris (19) were able to steer the side through the powerplay before Harris departed.
Elliot Clarke joined Ashmore at the crease and the pair consolidated the side on a turning wicket. At 130-2 Bognor had a solid platform; however quick wickets of Ashmore and Clarke (36) proved a catalyst for a middle-order collapse.
Ifield bowlers restricted the batting side to 167-7 thanks to Daniel Smith (4-54) and Paul Clifford 2-38). Bognor limped on to 194-8 from their allotted 45 overs.
Bognor made early inroads with Jerome Jones (2-34) attacking the stumps early to dismiss Nathan Amin (13).
The required run rate climbing, Ifield continued to lose their wickets with Scott Bingham (2-40) and Rob Willway (1-28) reaping the rewards.
Ifield were on the backfoot at 85-5 and Bognor could be forgiven for thinking they had made all the efforts to win the game.
However Ifield’s Daniel Groves (70*) produced a spectacular innings to steer his side home. Despite the loss of further wickets around him, Groves continued to clear the boundary with an innings of five sixes and three fours from 64 balls.
Ifield reached the set target with two wickets and 14 balls remaining.
Bognor 2nds v Ifield 2nds
Division six west
Bognor were looking to maintain their fine form against Ifield at the Regis Oval with one eye on potential promotion..
Ifield won the toss and chose to bat but found their progress checked first by Sam Adams grabbing 5-38 and then Jamie Woolnough with 3-29 as the visitors were bowled out for 149, Luke Morris top scoring with 55.
In reply Bognor didn’t get going and apart for Woolnough’s 71 not out, the innings was not one of the best as Bognor were bowled out for 137, Manas taking 5-24 for Ifield.
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