It's another game, another thriller for Middleton

The game of cricket is rarely uninteresting when Middleton are involved these days '“ and Saturday's Sussex division three west trip to Henfield was no different.

Having lost the toss on a wicket drying out from overnight rain, the talk in the pavilion among the Middleton batters was about building an innings. Unfortunately none of them seemed to remember that when they were in the middle.

Henfield must have thought all of their Christmases had come at once as, in the space of 14 overs, the visitors gifted them six wickets.

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Only Ben Hansford can claim to have had little chance, with a good ball from Earp that lifted off a length.

At 79 for six things looked bleak for Middleton, but they have a lot of fight and Sean Rebbetts and Adam Rawstrone led the fightback with an excellent partnership of 45 before Rawstrone was snared by Warden.

Respectability had been restored and that was then turned into a match-winning position with a brilliant partnership of 94 between Bran Hanley and Rebbetts.

Both batted beautifully but Hanley was eventually out one short of a half-century. Rebbetts went on to an excellent unbeaten 76.

Some late blows helped Middleton declare early on 258 for eight, a score that had looked a pipedream 30 overs earlier. Henfield started positively, Chris Crampton hitting some elegant boundaries before he tried one shot too many and skied one to Tommy Davies off Seb Gallagher’s bowling.

It was the first of three quick wickets for the Australian, who also dismissed the dangerous Slaughter for a duck.

At the other end, Henfield skipper Brett Moore was anchoring the innings well and proved a thorn in Middleton’s side. When Rawstrone picked up Fuller, the home side were in trouble at 76 for five, but Plumstead and Moore built a 72-run partnership before Jamie Thompson returned to blast four quickfire wickets in two overs.

A Middleton victory looked a formality with 13 overs to go and just one wicket needed, but Henfield held firm, surviving through to stumps with skipper Moore making an excellent unbeaten 95.