Evening All (or probably morning by the time you read this)
Well make no bones about it today saw our guys record a victory of the highest order over an Eastergate team fielding a team of in the main 16 year olds of which most appeared physically to be 20 plus!
Not only was the most impressive of victories secured by a team averaging 14 years of age but Middleton now lead the U16 SJCF league with 2 wins from 2 games after Arundel failed to record a victory today.
Result: Middleton won by 17 runs.
Middleton 163-8: Jack Dawling 79, Ben Peach 13.
Eastergate 146 all out: George Fountain 5-25, Lewis Faint 3-32.
On another hot summer’s afternoon again on a decent wicket, winning the toss, Middleton decided to bat first.
A pumped up Eastergate opening bowling partnership, attempting to impose themselves, were swiftly countered by Jack Dawling and Ben Peach (13) who recorded a 45 partnership only for Ben to be dismissed by an excellent diving catch in the covers.
In his current form Jack’s mission was to build an innings score for Middleton to defend, which was made difficult by a wicket which stayed low and Eastergate’s cunning tactic to take any pace off the ball.
That said Jack began to put the opposition’s attack to the sword and was eventually caught attempting to force the run rate for 79.
Finishing their allocated 42 overs on 163-8 it was clear that Middleton had some work to do to defend that total.
Eastergate commenced their run chase strongly – however once Ben Taylor had their opener caught behind enter George Fountain!
Having been hit for 16 off his first over George, who appeared to be bowling at opposition twice his age and 3 times his size, proceeded to take the opposition apart!
The 6 overs that followed saw him record figures of 5-9 – 3 clean bowled and 2 LBW’s – both of which were given by the home umpire not me I hasten to add!
I have seldom witnessed a fielding / bowling performance of this ilk before with fielding and catching of the highest order – WASP with 30 runs required and 5 wickets remaining would probably have had a 90% swing to an Eastergate victory – but not a single head dropped in Middleton’s young team and their belief that they could still win the game never disappeared.
I nearly forgot to mention that we played most of the game with 10 players due to injury, suffered further injuries during the game, and had Will Fountain make his festival debut at the age of 11 as a replacement fielder.
Ably supported by Charlie Maginnis (1-11) , Lewis Faint took 3 wickets in 5 balls to finish off any attempt by Eastergate’s lower order to overturn our 1st innings score of 163.
Not only was this an incredible advert for colts cricket, played in the most wonderful spirit on the pitch by both teams, but likewise on the boundary where parents / supporters of both teams enjoyed each other’s company and indeed a beer or two!
We look forward to hosting Littlehampton at Middleton tomorrow for what will be our first home game of the festival and to hopefully being able to report similar success on the field of play.