Fortunes could not have been more contrasting for Middleton and Chichester this season in division two of the Sussex League - and while both ended with defeats, one team were much happier about it than the other.
Middleton v Goring
Sussex League division two
Middleton were crowned champions of division two – despite losing to already-relegated Goring.
They knew 12 points would secure the title regardless of results elsewhere but having won the toss, they decided to bat first and lost Sean Heather early with just 13 runs on the board.
Ben Hansford joined Rob Willway and was in a destructive mood, despatching the Goring attack on his way to 61 off just 47 balls. When Willway was dismissed for 14, Jack Lerwill and Hansford put 60 runs on for the third wicket before spinner Aaron Wyatt halted Middleton in their tracks.
He dismissed Hansford and Lerwill (26) leaving Middleton 116 for four and some way short of the 200 runs needed for ten batting points.
Wyatt was getting plenty of turn and bounce and Will Burrows and Jamie Thompson realised they needed to bat sensibly. The partnership was broken after 56 had been added, Wyatt having Burrows caught for 23.
Thompson fell shortly after with the score on 182 having made an important 38. Runs from Toby Macer and Giles Haythornthwaite pushed the score well over 200 and allowed captain Heather to declare on 238 for seven after 48 overs.
Goring spinner Wyatt finished with four for 66.
Middleton needed to take four wickets to reach the required 12 points to win the league. It took the introduction of Keelan Shoulders into the attack to break the opening partnership, clean bowling Wyatt (13). Seven balls later Shoulders had his second wicket having Coutts caught at extra cover for no score.
A third-wicket partnership of 33 between Shane de Beer and Andrew Baumann took the score to 71 before Shoulders removed the latter for 12. Spin was brought into the attack and Haythornthwaite’s introduction clinched the big prize when Scarfield was bowled with a ball that spun back a long way. Middleton still wanted to finish the season in style by winning but Goring overseas player Shane de Beer had other ideas, smashing 84 from just 76 balls including ten fours and three sixes in his impressive innings.
He was stumped by Will Burrows off Heather with Goring 135 for five and a further four wickets, shared between Thompson (2), Shoulders and Haythornthwaite, left Goring nine down.
But 38 not out from Barnaby Lyons meant the home side knocked off the 239 required with five overs remaining.
Middleton wicketkeeper Burrows, ever-present this season, said: “We are all delighted with what we have achieved this year. Everyone has contributed in different games, which has been great to see. It would be impossible to mention everyone by name that deserves credit for our success this year.
“All we do know is the hard work starts here for next season. It is going to be intense but as players we are all looking forward to the experience.
“Credit has to go to Billingshurst (also promoted) – they pushed us all the way this season and we wish them all the very best for next season.”
Chichester v Worthing
Sussex League division two
It would be an understatement to say Chichester’s season has been disappointing.
With just one win all year and relegation to the third division already confirmed, there was nothing but pride to play for.
Visitors Worthing could not improve their league position so the final game was a dead rubber for both teams.
Worthing captain Luke Vinter won the toss and asked the hosts to bat. Runs were hard to come by for Chichester and just 15 runs came from the opening ten overs.
Unlike the previous game against Middleton, only one wicket had fallen – George Stephens falling for six. Mike Corrigan (23) and Charlie Futcher (26), began to get the scoreboard ticking over, but both departed just as their innings began to get going.
It was a similar story for Jes Goode (21), caught in the deep after mistiming a delivery from Nick Oxley.
Jolyon Dannatt anchored the Chichester innings but he began to run out of partners. He was bowled for 42 by Worthing’s Australian bowler Corey Altis, one of three wickets for him. Chichester’s final wicket fell in the final over and the hosts were all out for 168.
Worthing’s openers had no trouble scoring. Every shot Matt Green and Brad James played came out the middle of the bat and they kept the scorers busy with a succession of boundaries, and both scored half-centuries quicker than a run a ball.
The match soon turned into a race for Green: could he complete his century before Worthing reached their target?
The answer came with his 19th boundary and he scored 103 off just 61 balls. James (66 off 60) hit the winning runs as Worthing reached their target in just 20 overs.
A ten-wicket defeat was somehow fitting to bring down the curtain on a pretty miserable season for Chichester.
They ended with 12 defeats, four draws and just one victory. Their total of 154 points saw them finish bottom of division two.
Chichester’s goal in the winter will be to rebuild in division three and hopefully rise back up the league.