Middleton held on for a draw when they travelled to East Grinstead, last season’s Sussex premier league champions.
On winning the toss East Grinstead elected to bat and made relatively steady progress, having lost opener Alex Evans, bowled by Russell Talman for one and Fynn Prentice -Hudson run out for just eight, with the score on 29.
Opener Darryl Rebbetts shared partnerships of 71 with his skipper Will Aitkin and 31 with Ollie Graham before he was fifth out, with the score on 146, for 81. He eventually fell lbw to Matt Reynolds who followed up his five-wicket hall the previous week to finish with 4-80.
East Grinstead closed at the end of the 58th over on 228-9.
Middleton found it hard-going at the start of their innings losing four wickets as the score moved to just 58 in 25 overs. Patrick Colvin put on 49 with Mahesh Rawat in just six overs before he was fifth out for 36 with the score on 107.
Some highly-skilled batting by Rawat saw East Grinstead become increasingly frustrated at their inability to get him out. He finished 56 not out and Middleton on 190-9 for a draw.
Middleton v East Grinstead
County T20 semi-final
East Grinstead were too strong for Middleton in the T20.
A large crowd at Sea Lane were entertained by opener Fynn Hudson-Prentice, with 12 fours and eight sixes. He was finally out in the final over – caught by Patrick Colvin off Charlie Terry. East Grinstead closed on 211-6.
Middleton’s response was immediate with opener Sean Heather taking 18 off opening bowler Ian Sturmer’s first over.
The opening partnership of 80 between Heather and Josh Wood gave Middleton a sense that the chase was on, but once that partnership was broken in the tenth over the pressure of maintaining the rate of above 13 took its toll.
Middleton continued to lose wickets quickly and finished 140-9 at the end of their 20 overs.
Bognor v Chi Priory Park
Chichester Priory Park travelled to play neighbours Bognor but were unable to avenge their defeat in the reverse fixture earlier in the year.
The wicket at Bognor Sports Club offered a surprise on arrival, green grass on the square sitting like an oasis among a desert of scorched earth. Home captain Ryan Maskell won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first.
Chichester started steadily with Simon Hasted (23) and Joe De La Fuente (20) getting starts. Wickets soon began to fall with Scott Bingham (3-11) and Josh Sargeant (3-38) reducing Chichester from 70-2 to 76-6.
Matt Bennison (32) was among the runs again but even he had to trot off as Marquino Mindley (3-18) eliminated any resistance and Chichester were bowled out for 110.
In response Bognor made steady progress in pursuit of the target. Three wickets from Matt Geffen (3-15) gave the visitors hope of an unlikely victory.
Shrugging off an unfortunate injury to fellow batsman Mikey Harris, Rob Wilway (40no) saw the hosts home for victory by five wickets. Chichester picked up just two points and dropped to sixth, while Bognor are outside the bottom two.
Priory’s next match is against title-chasing Mayfield at Goodwood while Bognor go to Ansty.
Pagham v West Chiltington
Div 3 West
Pagham were invited to bat and soon found themselves 92-5 thanks in the main to good bowling from leg-spinner Charlie Davies (3-43). However, a flamboyant 55 from Richard Bird and Justin Scott’s 43 pulled things back for the home side with Pagham eventually all out for 248 – 31 extras helping the cause.
The visitors made a disastrous start with Rico Webb disturbing the stumps with his second ball.
West Chiltington struggled to 68-3 before the introduction of Gareth Davies’ off-spin caused a dramatic batting collapse with seven wickets going down for 17 runs.
Davies ended with 5-11 by far his best figures for Pagham.
This week Pagham travel to Findon.
Three Bridges 2nd v Stirlands
Div 3 West
Stirlands captain George Coles won a crucial toss and chose to bat first on a flat wicket. However, another terrible start saw Stirlands wickets falling.
Will Gubbins was caught behind by Mark Williams off Thomas Floyd for three while Adam Downing was caught by Williams off Adrian Chappell for five.
The pressure saw another wicket fall as Mike Clowes was stumped by Hugo Cowan for two, making it 25-3 after ten overs. The change bowlers were inconsistent and Jamaine Bullen and Coles could punish the bad ball. They put on 100 before Coles fell to Atif Elahi for 42. Bullen carried on, but was trapped lbw by Floyd for 84.
A quick 46 with some monstrous sixes from Dan Mugford late on meant Stirlands reached 249-9.
The Three Bridges openers looked to bat with intent and a couple of early fours from Cowan showed they were up for the fight. However, Mugford removed Cowan just as he looked to be settling in nicely.
Missed chances and the bad ball finding the ropes meant the batsmen were still in the hunt. Captain Atif Elahi went after Bullen with four fours through mid-wicket.
Coles turnied to the two and eventually David Briance removed Elahi lbw for 36. Wickets continued to fall at both ends, George and David Briance picking up eight wickets between them.
With Three Bridges 185-9, they shut up shop and tried to see out the draw. But Briance jnr bowled Jack Williams to ensure 30 points for his team.
This week Stirlands face Steyning.
West Wittering v Southwater
Div 5 West
With Southwater narrowly claiming victory in a late thriller earlier in the year, a strong Wittering 1st XI reversed fortunes at the Millennium Meadow.
The visitors won the toss and chose to bat - another hot day and rock-hard outfield promised a high-scoring contest.
Harry Staight (3-23) and captain Carl Tupper (2-31) had other plans, taking early wickets and pegging the visitors back with some sensational opening bowling including the odd peach.
Joe Sissons set the standard in the field with a superb catch off Tupper’s second over, bettered only by his run saves throughout the innings. Southwater never recovered from the early setbacks with the only real contribution coming from Matt Lacey (50).
A spell of smart leg spin from James Staight (1-36) kept the rate under control and Joe Pink (4-23) delivered with the ball, yet again, racing through the lower order leaving the visitors all out for 156 - well below par.
Needing less than four an over for victory, Mark Taylor (35) got the hosts off to a flyer in a short but scintillating innings before a sharp stumping from Southwater’s keeper brought it to an end.
With Wittering seemingly in control, two quick wickets for only one run left the scoreboard at a concerning 41-3, the momentum back with the visitors, and a fresh partnership of Johnny Miller and Brandon Trimmer in the middle.
But this was to be the day’s final partnership. Miller, in his first game of the season, frustrated the bowling attack before eventually finding his rhythm in a patient 36 not out, and Trimmer pressurised the bowlers from from the off with a relentless flurry of boundaries all round the ground, finishing on an unbeaten 78.
The pair didn’t give a chance in their unbroken 117 stand and took Wittering over the line with 12 overs to spare – a convincing win that leaves promotion still a strong possibility.