After gaining 39 points on Matchday 1, Matchday 2 was at home match against Stirlands and the Middleton boys were in confident mood. The match, commonly known as ‘the Westbourne House Derby’ was played at our idyllic home ground, the outfield had been cut in the morning, the pitch was dry, the sun was out, it was hot and humid, and ideal for batting. Stirlands won the toss and it was no surprise that they elected bat.
Dill opened the bowling from the Club end, there was a slight sea breeze that he used well to keep runs to a minimum and he bowled 4 tight overs conceding only 11 runs. His normal bowling partner (Will) was not available so after a consistent performance yesterday, Fergus was promoted from first change to opener and what a performance he produced! Bowling from the Sea End, he obviously used the Pagham match to hone his run up and delivery, as today he was smooth and economical, just like a very, very, very young Michael Holding, and he was just as unplayable as Holding in his prime. Each ball he delivered was accurate, bowled with great pace and most would have hit the wickets. None of the Stirlands top order had any answer to the paceman. Batsman came and went, time after time, and Fergus finished his 4 overs with the remarkable figures of 1 maiden, 5 wickets for 3 runs…..4 clean bowled, what a performance! Thoroughly demoralised, the remaining Stirlands batsmen were kept under pressure by excellent bowling from Kate de Lilis and Sam Green who took 1 and 2 wickets respectively, and some good team fielding with a run out by Marcus and a good wicket for Tom. Stirlands were all out for 43 inside 65 minutes.
An already confident Middleton team were talking between innings of knocking off the 44 runs inside 10 overs, however ‘cricket is a funny old game’ as someone once said and Stirlands had other ideas, and especially their Sussex bowler Zach Gadsby who opened from the club end. He bowled very fast and soon had Dill caught at short mid on, and Sam Green for a ‘dubious’ lbw (” I definitely nicked it”). Next to go was the inform Marcus who was bowled with a quick one that nipped off the seam for 5 and Hugo and Fergus. Although he was bowling fast, he was also very erratic and even the 2 ‘backstops’ were struggling to keep the byes from continuing to tick along. Any ball that was on target was capable of getting a wicket but many were fired wide down leg or over head height, so the runs continued to accrue. More wickets were falling and the Middleton crowd were getting nervous, surely we couldn’t lose a game where we had 30 overs to get 44…. we needed someone to stick around as we were 6 wickets down and only required a further 10 runs to win. Gadsby had only 1 over left and Rocco and Kate had to see him off. A late cut by Kate for 3 runs, got Rocco on strike and he was stoic in his defence….he was ‘NOT’ getting out and playing with a straight bat kept Gadsby at bay and then more byes got him up the other end. Gadsby was off after a quick and erratic display of 4 overs, 5 for 24 (16 extras). Calm was restored and the remaining few runs were knocked off. Middleton had crawled over the line for their 2nd victory of the week and are top of the table going into Matchday 3 at home to Chichester. Total runs scored by the team 22, extras 23
Once more a fine individual performance backed up by a good team ethic was the key to this success. It also showed how important it is to keep the extras to a minimum.
The boys (and quite a few adults) then had a great tea (thanks Liza, Julie and all the other mums for organising) and we were all finished by 4pm!
Stirlands: 43 all out – Fergus 4 overs 5 for 3
Middleton: 45-7 M Nelmes 5, R Gamblin 5 no…extras 23!
Middleton win by 3 wickets
Man of the Match: Fergus Kenyon – fast and accurate pace bowling, taking 5 wickets for only 3 runs! Superb…