Cricket: Nelson beat Middleton

Date published: 22 July 2019

Middleton travelled to the Seedhill ground at Nelson on Sunday 21 July hoping to consolidate their position in the top two and despite losing to Nelson, they managed to pick up four bowling points.

They are now one point above Haslingden going into next week's crunch clash at Towncroft.

Middleton skipper Dale Highton won the toss and chose to bat with Martin Roberts promoted to opener with Pro Chris Williams, together they got Middleton off to a steady start facing Nelson skipper, Neil Thompson and Elliott Bradley, before the introduction of Nelson's Sri Lankan professional Sanjika Ridma.

Ridma struck in the 10th over with the score on 27 when he bowled Williams for 22 and six runs, later he had James Tierney lbw for nil.

Grant Jones joined Roberts, but when on 10 he became Ridma's third victim bowled and Middleton were 45 for 3.

It did not get any better as Thompson picked up the wickets of Roberts (16) caught by Jack Bradley and Rhys Tierney lbw for nil.

54-5 soon became 66-7 as Khurram Nasir picked up the wickets of Richard Dempster (5) and Tom Rutter (2) both caught at slip by Lewis Bradley.

Middleton managed to take the score to 84 mainly due to Reece Jones' unbeaten 19 after Richard Fitton was caught by Nasir off Ridma for two.

Highton was caught by Jack Bradley for one and Tommy Astley was bowled by Jamie Randall for one to wrap up the innings.

Middleton had to get early wickets to have a chance and that's just how they started with Nelson struggling on 5-3 after five overs.

Williams struck in his second over when he had Jack Bradley brilliantly caught at second slip by Tom Rutter for 0 and in the next over (without addition to the score) Williams ran out Chris Gildea (0).

It got even better three runs later when Russell Bradley couldn't get his bat out of the way in time and Astley took the catch to give Williams his second wicket.

Dempster was once again doing a sterling job alongside Williams. He only had two runs scored in his first six overs, and he got his just reward when he had Thompson caught behind by Astley for four with the score on 20.

Lewis Bradley joined Ridma at the crease and they had taken the score to 31 when Astley picked up his third catch when he caught Bradley off Williams for 10.

A crucial partnership of 22 between Ridma and Nick Burton seemed to be swaying it back in Nelson's favour when Williams picked up his fourth wicket when he bowled Burton lbw for three.

The score was slowly creeping up but with overs not being a problem Middleton knew they had to take wickets and mainly Nelson's professional, Ridma.

With the score on 69 Highton struck to get rid of Ridma for 31 when he top edged one and the injured Rhys Tierney hobbled round to take the catch. Two balls later it was 69-8 when Highton had Elliott Bradley lbw without troubling the scorers.

Middleton were now right back in the game, but unfortunately it was not to be as Nelson crawled home. Nasir and Michael Bradley both being unbeaten on 10.

A special mention for Williams who finished up with figures of 15-3-25-4.

Middleton picked up four vital bowling points to keep themselves in second place, but it will have to be a lot better batting performance if they are going to pick up a win next Saturday at home to Haslingden.

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