Champions too good for Middleton - Bognor and Chichester will both be sweating on final day

Charlie Futcher at the crease at Bognor for Chichester Priory Park - but the home side won to keep up their promotion charge / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Charlie Futcher at the crease at Bognor for Chichester Priory Park - but the home side won to keep up their promotion charge / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Middleton lost to champions Roffey in their final home Sussex Premier League of the season - while the end of the season finds neighbours Bognor and Chichester with work to do on this Saturday's final day after their meeting last weekend. Reports below...

Middleton v Roffey

Sussex Premier

Middleton were beaten by newly crowned champions Roffey in their last home game.

Roffey elected to bat on one of the hottest afternoons of the season and openers Thoedore Rivers and Aussie Ben Manenti got them off to just the start they were looking for and added 109 for the first wicket.

In the 19th over leg spinner Matt Reynolds was introduced, removing both openers in his first over. Rivers was stumped for 39 then Manenti was bowled for 69 three balls later.

On a wicket not offering a lot to the bowlers the Roffey middle order of Rohit Jagota 47, Mike Norris 46 and Matt Davies 32 took the score on to 257 before Norris became Reynold’ fourth victim, fifth out with the score on 257.

Russell Talman claimed three wickets in his second over, two bowled and one lbw. Skipper Davies remained and Roffey closed on 288-9.

Middleton struggled to build early partnerships and found themselves 89-5 in the 19th over.

A partnership of 54 between Mahesh Rawat and Monty Morgan gave them hope but when Morgan departed for 22 and Rawat for 41 with the score on 152 the game was all but over. Good catching accounted for six of Middleton’s top seven.

Brandon Hanley, with a late flourish including two sixes and a four, took the Middleton score to 172. Hanley finished 21 not out, but couldn’t find anyone to stay with him.

Middleton travel to Mayfield, who were relegated on Saturday, for their final game this weekend.

Bognor v Chichester

Div 2

With just two games of the 2019 season remaining, this was a massive day for both teams.

Bognor needed a win to stay in the second promotion spot while for Chichester Priory Park, relegation is still a possibility.

The home side won the toss and on a hot, sunny day, asked Chichester to bat first.

Once again Chichester’s batting was extremely fragile with only Matt Bennison (48) making a contribution of note. Wickets fell far too regularly and partnerships were almost non-existent. Chichester limped to 127 all out in the final over, yet another total under 150 this season.

Chichester needed an early wicket and Matt Geffen obliged with the prize wicket of Ryan Maskell (22). Unfortunately this was as good as it got for Chichester as Roy Kaia (76no quickly pushed the game away from Chichester. The winning runs were knocked off in 23 overs, condemning the men from Goodwood to a crushing nine-wicket defeat.

Bognor’s promotion chances remain in their own hands ahead of their final-day visit to St James.

But after picking up just two points from the weekend, Chichester are sixth but just 24 points from safety. With 30 points available on Saturday, the threat of relegation still hangs over them.

Perhaps the only positive from the weekend is the teams below Chichester failed to make up significant ground. To be relegated it would need all three teams below Chichester to pick up maximum points along with a heavy defeat.

Chichester will host promotion chasing Haywards Heath on Saturday.

West Wittering v Middleton II

Div 5 West

In what was described as the best game at the Millennium Meadow since West Wittering moved in 18 years ago, the home side clinched a dramatic victory chasing 247 – captain Carl Tupper hitting the final ball for four to win it.

Middleton won the toss and wasted no time opting to bat. It proved to be a good toss to win, as their openers made good use of the fielding restrictions on a flat track with a rapid outfield, although Spike Western (1-30) struck early with a trademark lbw. Middleton were not deterred, racing to 70 in ten overs.

Tupper introduced leg-spinner James Staight, who stemmed the flow. The pressure worked, as Middleton’s opener was brilliantly run out by Steve Day.

Joe Pink took a catch off Staight and Tupper (1-26) had one caught by keeper Brandon Trimmer, leaving Middleton 106-3 off 25 overs.

Jack Harte (1-25) and Joe Sissons (0-13) bowled tightly but Middleton’s batsmen produced powerful hitting to move to 242 from their 40 overs.

James Staight was pick of the bowlers with 2-27.

James Munro and Pink (28) gave West Wittering the perfect start, adding 70 for the first wicket. Zander Muir joined Munro, who brought up his 50 and took Wittering past 100 before falling lbw for 50. Day was bowled before Trimmer and Muir pressed on.

Trimmer hit three sixes to bring up his 50. Muir was caught trying to bring up his and West Wittering were on 197. Bates (12) and Trimmer had Wittering needing 21 to win from three overs both the pair were out to consecutive balls,

James Staight was joined by Tupper. Staight hit two fours and six were needed from the final over. After a couple of twos Staight faced the penultimate ball with Wittering on 241. He swung and missed, but the keeper fumbled, allowing a single.

The field came in under the captain’s nose, but he held his nerve as he drove the final ball for four to cap a memorable day’s cricket.

Steyning II v Aldwick

Div 6 West

Aldwick got just what they wanted from their game at Steyning, an emphatic win with maximum points so they go into their last game at home to Eastergate top of the table by just two points – with their title hopes in their own hands.

Clymping and Findon both won to keep up the pressure for the last day and any slip from Aldwick could result in either side being crowned champions.

Despite electing to bat first, Steyning had a distratrous start and were reeling at 5-3 thanks to Aldwick’s opening bowling pair of Ian Horner (1-7 in 8 overs) and Hari Shan’s 3-25.

Nathan Tyler (16) and Ben Buckley (20) did their best to make some semblance of a worthwhile total but with John Young (2-16), Ian Guppy (1-17), and Ollie Smith (3-11) in wicket-taking moods the home side were shot out for just 79 in 32.4 overs.

Ed White (35*) and Richard Gabb (30) plus 15 extras meant the runs knocked off with ease and victory was achieved after 20 overs.

White’s tally for the season is now 758 runs with an average of 94.75.

Aldwick defeated Eastergate earlier in the season by 27 runs in a keenly fought contest and will go into their last game aware of what Eastergate are capable of but confident they can become title winners.

Littlehampton IV v Chi Priory Park IV

Div 11 West South

Invited to bat first, Chichester seized the opportunity for younger players to lead the way.

Teddy Phillipo scored 57, his first 50 in the adult league, and Henry Whitby, having borrowed a bat, provided an entertaining 55. However

Littlehampton hit back, Phil Merritt taking 3-16, and Joel Bird and Daniel Foot two wickets apiece.

Roger Smith scored a steady 26 to take Chichester’s total to 237-8.

In reply Craig Stoner made 45 but needed a few partners to linger longer.

The Chichester bowling provided plenty of surprises with Smith taking two wickets, David Graham-Wood two, Andrew Barnes and Tom Phizackerley one each – but the force was with Steve Price with 3-8 from 3.4 overs.

Littlehampton were all out for 134 but it was a spirited display by both sides, showing promise for next season.

Aldwick II v Middleton Academy

Div 11 West South

Aldwick let Middleton Academy get out of trouble and allowed them to post a decent 197-7 in their 40 overs – and in the end Aldwick did not have enough strength in depth and fell 32 short.

Batting first, Middleton were struggling on 77-6 because of Josh Kemp (1-40), Aiden Miles (1-41) and Tom Hoare (2-36). A rescue mission was launched by Finn Chadwick (49) and Ethan Bell (44) who piled on 115 for the seventh wicket and the visitors’ fortunes changed from a poor score to a defendable final total of 197-7.

Despite the match-winning partnership, Liam Hicks finished with 3-38.

Chasing 198 for victory, Aldwick suffered an early setback losing opener Dion Sampson for a duck to Mathew Bellamy (3-17). Sampson’s opening partner Dean Stokes went on to make a worthy 34 but the wickets kept falling mainly to Ethan Bell (3-32) and Matt Pearce (2-61).

Liam Hick posted a brave 46 and Jonny Knapp contributed 27 but it was not enough as they were bowled out for 165 in 36 overs.

Aldwick IIs have slipped to fifth place but hope to end the season on a high away to Bognor III.