Cricket: Middleton win last game thriller

Date published: 13 September 2019

Middleton ended the season with a 10-point win against Littleborough on Sunday 8 September to cap off a fine season for Dale Highton's team after gaining promotion the previous week.

Highton won the toss and elected to bat on a beautiful autumn day at Towncroft.

The usual partnership of professional Chris Williams and Leighton Le Carpentier opened the batting and had taken the score to 32 before Williams was caught behind by Matthew Hernon off the bowling of Joe Smith Butler for 13.

James Tierney joined Le Carpentier and the pair added 20 before Tierney was adjudged lbw for 9 to a ball that looked a touch high off Joe Kershaw. On 71 Le Carpentier (22) to lobbed one up to Smith Butler off Gary Nash.

Grant Jones had made 30 with three 4s and a 6 when Littleborough professional Travis Townsend had him caught by Lewis Willman with the score on 99.

Richard Dempster and Rhys Tierney hit an enterprising partnership of 33 before Tierney (20) became Townsend's 2nd wicket courtesy of a catch by Nash. Another 30 plus partnership by Dempster and Tom Rutter pushed Middleton up to 173 before Rutter was caught by Zac Perren off Townsend for 15.

Dempster (33) went one run later bowled by Willman and Reece Jones was bowled by Willman for 1 off the last ball has Middleton finished on 177-9 with Richard Fitton ending on 2 not out.

Middleton got off to the start they wanted with Dempster bowling Smith Butler for 4 with the score on 6 and without addition to the score Williams picked up his 50th wicket of the season when he had Perren lbw for 1.

Townsend and Hernon took the score to 37 before Hernon was caught behind by Le Carpentier off Dempster for 17 and one run later it got even better for Middleton when Williams had Ryan Miskella lbw without troubling the scorers.

When Townsend was caught by Fitton off Rutter for 24 with the score on 55 it looked all over for Littlebrough but a magnificent stand of 71 by Tom Pye and Nash brought them back into the game before Nash was bowled by Fitton for 27 and 3 balls later Fitton had Shazam Reeza lbw for 0.

If Middleton thought it was over, Pye and Willman had other ideas, and a stand of 45 brought Littlebrough to within 7 of the target when the returning Dempster had Willman caught by James Tierney for 14 with the last ball of the 49th over. The batters had crossed, leaving Pye at the non-strikers end at the start of the last over and after a dot ball, Kershaw squeezed a single to get Pye back on strike and in his attempt to keep the strike he attempted to run a second run that was probably never on. He was run out by James Tierney for a superb 79 off 94 balls with eight 4s.

Littlebrough couldn't score a run off the last ball and Middleton had won by 4 runs to cap a fine season which ended in the target of promotion being achieved.

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