Cricket: Middleton made to work for 10 points

Date published: 10 July 2019

Middleton Cricket Club travelled to The Cliffe ground at Great Harwood on Saturday 6 July, searching for the points to get back in to the top two places in their quest for promotion, and they came away with 10 points, but they were made to work hard for them.

Great Harwood Captain, Matthew Oddie, won the toss and elected to bat. Zain Ali opened alongside his Skipper.

Runs were hard to come by under once again some excellent bowling from Middleton professional Chris Williams and Richard Dempster.

The first wicket fell in the 15th over with the score on 24 when Ali, who hadn't scored a run for 32 balls, attempted a quick single and was run out by Middleton skipper Dale Highton.

The score had moved to 33 when Middleton struck a double blow. Dempster had Oddie caught by James Tierney for 18 and Williams bowled Great Harwood's Sri Lankans professional, Thikshila De Silva, lbw for six, a decision he was not happy with.

Middleton were now in the ascendency and, with the score on 50, James Tierney took his second catch to get rid of Kasir Masood for 11 off the bowling of Highton. Four runs later, Highton had his second wicket when he had Nazakat Hussain excellently caught by Danny Royle for two.

Tom Rutter was the next to strike when he had Ethan Holdsworth (14) caught by Rhys Tierney with the score on 68.

Only 19 more runs were added when Great Harwood were reduced to 87-9 with Highton having Danny Briggs caught by Dempster for two, Rutter getting Paul Newton without scoring to another excellent catch by Royle and the returning Dempster getting Paul Clifford caught behind by Leighton Le Carpentier for 12, with the batsman claiming it had come off his pad.

Middleton strived for the final wicket which would give them two bowling points, but it was not to be, as Great Harwood finished on 102-9 with Faheem Basharat on 15 not out and wicketkeeper Ben Rogers on 3 not out.

It was a very attainable target, but Middleton would have to work hard for it on a very dry pitch.

Williams and Le Carpentier opened and had taken the score to 26 in the 8th over without much trouble when Newton had Le Carpentier stumped by Rogers for 14. Ten runs later James Tierney was bowled off his pads by De Silva for one.

When Great Harwood struck a double blow with the score on 48, Middleton knew they were in a game. Firstly, Williams was well caught by De Silva off Newton for a top score in the match of 21, and in the next over De Silva bowled Rhys Tierney for nil.

Dempster and Mo Shadid took the score to 62 when Dempster (6) was caught by Hussain off Newton and two runs later De Silva picked up his third wicket when he bowled Rutter for nil.

Shadid and Reece Jones battled to put Middleton in sight of the winning post with a battling stand of 27 before Shadid was caught at the second attempt by Briggs off Masood for 18, and two runs later Royle was bowled by Masood for one.

Jones and Richard Fitton got the scores level before Fitton was out lbw for five to Basharat.

Basharat changed to bowl round the wicket, but he bowled a wide and Middleton had scraped through by one wicket and they have moved up to second in the league.

Jones finished unbeaten on 11 off 37 balls in an invaluable knock for his team and Highton was nil not out.

It will be interesting to see how valuable these points will be at the end of the season.

Credit must be given to Great Harwood for battling away and making it so hard for Middleton.

Next week sees Middleton at home to Rishton.

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