Returning Archer proves to be an arrow in Hurst’s side

Cricket SUS-150806-142520001
Cricket SUS-150806-142520001

Billingshurst were victims of the long-awaited return of Sussex’s Jofra Archer as Middleton clinched their first Premier Division win.

Both sides were promoted from Division 2 last season and the champions had not enjoyed such a fruitful start to life in the top flight as their visitors ahead of Saturday.

Without a win and second bottom in the table, Middleton burst into life with a six-wicket win assisted by the return to fitness of Archer, who claimed 6-69.

The Barbados-born batsman and right-arm medium fast bowler was tossed the ball by Middleton for the first time in more than a year since he joined them.

With Billingshurst having lost the toss, they set about making 145 as Dhanushka Mitipolaarachchi hit 42 and Rob Woodman made an unbeaten 45.

They had little support and after early wickets from Anthony Ender (3-31), Archer returned for his second spell to claim his six wickets, ripping through the Billingshurst lower order.

In reply, Mitipolaarachchi (4-51) had some early success with the ball as he reduced Middleton to 49-3, but a fourth-wicket stand of 66 between Sean Heather (54*) and Archer (58) took them to 115-4.

Heather and Patrick Colvin (10*) then guided them home with 149-4 in the 29th over.

Hurst skipper Ben Williams said: “A huge factor is that we were missing a few players. Jorfra Archer also bowled for the first time in a year and a half after his back injury.

“To be fair, he bowled pretty quick. He is on Sussex’s books as a bowler but has not been able to bowl or play cricket in the league since joining Middleton due to an injury, until this week when he took the handbrake off.

“We also batted very poorly, I won’t try and hide that. 149 was just not a big enough score to defend when they have players like Sean Heather and Jofra.

“Rob Woodman was fantastic and showed, not for the first time, his class as a batsman.”

Billingshurst host leaders Preston Nomads on Saturday.

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