Middleton still lead - but have stopped winning

Middleton have had plenty to celebrate this season, but the wins have dried up
Middleton have had plenty to celebrate this season, but the wins have dried up

Middleton made it four weeks without a win in a close-fought draw at home against a good young St James’s Montefiore side who started the

day third in Sussex League division two.

After losing the toss Middleton were invited to bat by the visitors and Sean Heather was the first man out with the score on 31. Jamie Thompson, Ben Hansford and Will Burrows couldn’t get going, leaving Middleton on 74 for four.

Promising youngster Rory Collier joined opener Rob Willway at the crease and the pair grafted out important runs against an attack looking to take the pace off of the ball.

The pair put on 72 for the fifth wicket before Willway (69) was well stumped by wicketkeeper Sims. A limited contribution from the lower middle order meant Middleton managed to get up to 180 for nine after 53 overs with Collier making 32.

Pick of the St James’s Montefiore bowlers was Russell Piper with two for 21.

When they took the field Middleton managed to get an early wicket, Thompson trapping Rollings for ten with the team total on 13. Opener and St James captain Micheal Murray was joined by Sims and the pair added a further 35 runs before Sims went lbw to Tommy Davies.

Captain Brandon Hanley brought himself into the attack and the decision proved to be a good one as he almost straight away removed the dangerous Mali Richards for just ten.

New batsman Sam Cooper gave support to Murray, who was himself going well, and the pair added a further 65 before Keelan Shoulders having been introduced into the attack got the first of his three wickets, having Cooper brilliantly caught with a diving catch in the deep by Toby Macer for 35.

All three results were still possible and despite Middleton only managing another three more wickets, St James fell 17 runs short finishing on 164 for seven with captain Murray the last wicket to fall in the final over for 62.

The pick of the Middleton bowlers was Keelan Shoulders with three for 27.

Middleton are now 19 points clear at the top with three games remaining. They travel to Lindfield on Saturday.