Billingshurst run leaders close

Billingshurst were missing three players including Scott Sratton but still ran a talented Middleton side close
Billingshurst were missing three players including Scott Sratton but still ran a talented Middleton side close

Billingshurst skipper Ben Williams is in positive mood about the rest of the season after running a hotly tipped Middleton side close on Saturday.

Batting first hosts ‘Hurst were bowled out for 157 on a damp track, and a good effort in the field then saw them take seven wickets before Middleton squeezed home to a fourth straight win to extend their lead at the top of Division Two.

Williams said: “We were missing three key players but I don’t want to dwell on that but focus on the fact that we pushed a really good side close and probably should have won the game.”

On a tricky wicket for batting, ‘Hurst were stuck in and Dhanushka Mitipolaarachi batted well to top score with 46, while Andy Barr continued to impress with 33. 16-year-old Jake Chadwick put on some useful late runs to get them close to 160, for the visitors off spinner Rob Willway impressed taking 6-60.

In reply Barr trapped familiar foe Sean Heath plum LBW the very first ball and a great start from the hosts had Middleton knotted at 18-4. “Andy has worked hard to improve his fitness, he’s an opening bowler I can really rely on and he’s turned into a proper all-rounder as well,” Williams praised.

Opener Will Burrows survived some nervy moments to hang around for his 35, and talented Sussex 2nd XI player Jofra Archer struck a classy 44. When both departed the visitors were 122-7 but George Holman (21 not out) and James Rufey (20 not out) guided them home.

The result made it two wins and two defeats since promotion last season and Williams added: “When we were last in this league we hadn’t won a game and only had three points at this stage so I’m happy with where we are after four games, I think we can try to finish in the top four. The club is in a really good place at the moment.”