Heathens happy at Hove: Cup win is dream end to cricket team’s season

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After tasting league success a few weeks earlier, Mid Sussex Heathens were hungry for more silverware as they ventured to Hove for T20 finals day.

As the atmosphere began to build and the fans trickled into the County ground, the groundstaff prepared the immaculately kept wicket and outfield for the three fixtures of the day.

Mid Sussex Heathens and Middleton threes were first on and Heathens captain Will Glenn won the toss and chose to bowl, a decision that would prove costly for the opposition.

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A lightning opening spell from Jamie Wilkes and Ryan Jackson saw Middleton 23/1 off of the first four overs. Middleton responded well with a second wicket partnership of 43. However, shrewd bowling in the middle overs from Glenn, Grady Pummell and Mark Enticknap put the pressure back on to Middleton who found themselves five down with 100 on the board after the 16th over.

Mid Sussex Heathens ar Hove for their T20 final | Contributed pictureMid Sussex Heathens ar Hove for their T20 final | Contributed picture
Mid Sussex Heathens ar Hove for their T20 final | Contributed picture

The pressure built and the return of opening bowlers Wilkes and Jackson meant no respite for the batsmen.

Quick and accurate bowling and energised fielding efforts saw the Heathens go into the break inspired to chase down the target that Middleton had set - 126-8. Wickets went to Wilkes (2), Jackson (2), Pummell (2), Glenn and Enticknap.

On the back of an unbeaten 156 in the semi final, it was no surprise to see Glenn open the bat with Pummell.

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Before long the Heathens supporters had reason to cheer as the ball crashed over the boundary time and time again - both Pummell and Glenn hitting devastating sixes.Middleton broke the partnership in the ninth over but the score had raced to 71-1.

Glenn reached his half century with an imperious six straight back over the bowler’s head. Soon after his wicket fell.

One brought another as Middleton fought back - 88-3. But with time on their side Joe Russell and Jack Wilkins batted sensibly, picking up runs and capitalising on loose bowling.

Jamie Weller replaced Wilkins after a late Middletown wicket and he played his part as vice-captain.

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Out of nowhere and seemingly full of confidence, Russell perfectly picked up the line and length of the next delivery and pulled out a Joe Root-esque scoop over his head to score the match-winning runs.

The celebrations quickly ensued as the Heathens players flooded on to the pitch to mob the match-winning batsman.

After commiserating the Middleton team, the cup winners celebrated with friends and family. Chairman George Barnes could not contain his delight when asked about the occasion: “A league and cup double in just our third season as an established club, what next?

"I suppose we are going to have to do it all over again next year!

“I couldn’t believe the amount of support for the club. Being the smallest and youngest club to appear at Hove on the day we brought the most supporters with us. It sums up what the club’s about.”

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