On a chilly overcast evening Middleton U13s, with only 10 players, faced Arundel in a ECB Cup Match. Hopes were high of a flying start after a fantastic festival showing last summer and Middleton U13s welcomed two new faces in the form of Ozzy Rishman, who had been recruited from Pagham, and Hugo Ormerod, who was playing his first match in this older age group.
There was a welcome return to the fold for Christian Bellamy who was made captain for the day and he duly obliged by winning the toss and with his manager leaning on him elected to field, much to the apparent delight of the Arundel coach who was claiming a perfect outcome as Middleton would be batting in fading light.
Christian took his place behind the stumps and we were off and running. Charlie & Ozzy opened the bowling and both bowled nicely ensuring the Arundel run rate started slowly and they set a precedent for the remaining bowlers to follow. Sam & Kate ensured the run rate was jogging along slowly during their spell, and even though Sam gave away a few runs he was particularly unlucky not to claim a wicket or 2 with some tough chances not being taken in the field. The opening batsmen were proving difficult to shift but with the scoring slow there was no concern showing from the Middleton management. Harry & Alex were then introduced into the match and they proved to be the pick of the bunch. The openers both soon fell to run outs due to smart fielding from Ozzy Rishman and Marcus Nelmes, and Alex picked up a clean bowled. Alex returned figures of 4 overs, 1-13 and although Harry didnt take any wickets he bowled a fantastic spell going for only 2 runs off 3 overs (2 Maidens). Ben and Marcus finished off the innings, both bowling nicely, and Ben took a wicket courtesy of a well taken catch from Hugo.
The highlight of the Arundel innings was probably the performance of their umpire/coach who took every opportunity to take centre stage with his theatrical signals. Arundel finished on a rather paltry 83 runs and special mention to the quality of the fielding from Middleton and in particular Alex and Kate who made a number of great stops on the boundary that saved a number of runs.
Middleton took to the field in the clearing conditions (much to the Arundel coaches dismay) expecting to wrap the game up quickly but things never go to plan! By the time Charlie, Hugo and Harry had dismissed the score had only just moved into double figures and the mood started to get a little tense. Marcus was sent in to partner Christian and the pair started to ease the nerves of the crowd and by the time Marcus was smartly stumped the score had move on from 11-3 to 33-4 after 6 overs, so the run rate was not an issue but perhaps the quickly diminishing wickets might be. Ozzy came out to join Christian, who was beginning to enjoy himself at the crease, and the pair struck up a very nice partnership, Ozzy picking off some nice quick singles and Christian starting to find the boundary more regularly. With Christian finding a 6 and a 4 in quick succession he was retired for 30. Ben came out to join Ozzy and he picked up where Christian left off before Ozzy was rather unluckily run out for 9 runs. The match position showed Middleton on 67-5, 14 runs shy of victory. Kate and Ben then formed the partnership that steered us to victory and Ben punished some poor Arundel bowling to hit 4 quick boundaries and get Middleton past the winning post with only 12.1 overs played.
A few lessons learned, but a great performance in the field laid the foundations for a well deserved victory. Chichester will be our opponents in the next round and decent progress into the competition is a real possibility.
Bowler of the Match: Alex Morley
Batsman of the Match: Christian Bellamy