Matchday 3 saw us entertain Chichester at home and the conditions were again excellent with the temperature in the late 20’s. For the third time this week, we lost the toss but this time we were asked to bat first.
Opening today were Marcus and Rocco and the Chichester bowlers were on top from the start and restricted the flow of runs with stump to stump bowling. Marcus was timing the ball well but hitting the fielders with too much regularity and Rocco was in ‘Boycott-esque’ defensive mode, so after 10 overs we were on 27. There was an obvious need to increase the run rate and Marcus started to hit some nice cover drives to the boundary and Rocco pulled 2 cracking shots for four but then went for one big shot too many and was bowled. This brought Sam to the wicket and Middletons two in-form batsman soon quickened the run rate so that in the next 10 overs another 75 runs were added. The shot-making from Marcus and Sam was excellent with cover drives, straight drives and late cuts as well as quick singles that pressurised the Chichester bowlers and fielders. Marcus eventually retired not out for a superb chance less 53 after 105 mins at the crease, his 2nd fifty of the week, and Sam made a brilliant 49 not out. Dill added a quick fire 15 and after a few quick wickets for Chichester, Middleton finished on 153-3 off of 32 overs, gaining maximum batting points. A great effort after a slow start.
The boys were in exuberant mood on taking to the field and Dill raced in from the Club end, bowling some tidy in-swingers that took out the top order. The attacking field placements set by Captain Kate aimed to tempt the Chichester batsmen into one big shot too many and although they were able to hit some boundaries and keep the score ticking over, they were giving Middleton chances. The 5th wicket batsman were hanging around though and we needed a breakthrough so Marcus came on and a sharply spinning googly broke the partnership. Dill came back and took another wicket finishing his 5 over spell with great figures of 1 maiden 4 wickets for 10 runs…well bowled! Rocco bowled brilliant left arm off spin and his flight and guile claimed 2 wickets for 2 runs (both bowled). The overs however were being eaten up, and the home crowd were getting concerned as although there was no chance of a Middleton defeat, we needed to claim a further 2 wickets with only 3 overs remaining. The senior players and Captain convened to discuss who to employ to bowl the last overs….they remembered the inspired bowling of the previous day, and thought that they needed pace again. There was only one boy for the job…..Fergus Kenyon (aka Whispering Death), although earlier in the innings, his Bob Willis style curved run-up had not helped him take any wickets, and he had wanted to ditch his bowling for a stint of keeping today!!, he went back to the tried and tested smooth run-up…what a ball first up…seeming away he hit the top of off stump and was mobbed by the rest of the team….a few more balls and it was all over with the final batsman clean bowled. Great bowling Fergus, the Chichester tail had not ‘wagged’ and it was another Middleton victory!
There was some excellent stroke play and good calling whilst batting today but we missed opportunities to take more ‘quick singles’ and in general our ground fielding was not as good as the previous days but overall, it was another solid team performance with top individual performances from Marcus, Sam, Rocco, Dill and Fergus! Well done the whole team…
Middleton: 153-3 (32 overs) Marcus 53ret no, Sam 49 no
Chichester: 104 all out (29 overs) Dill 5overs, 4 for 10. Rocco 3 overs 2 for 2. Fergus 2-17. Marcus 1-9
Man of the Match: Marcus
Matchday 4 – Arundel (away) tomorrow
See you there!