Norris hits 66 as Ifield hold leaders Middleton

JPCT 160612 Cricket, Roffey v East Grinstead. Roffey batsman Mike Norris ENGSUS00220120618171100
JPCT 160612 Cricket, Roffey v East Grinstead. Roffey batsman Mike Norris ENGSUS00220120618171100
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Ifield and league leaders Middleton battled out a hard fought draw with Ifield just coming out on top on points.

Ifield won the toss and chose to bat first and they made a solid enough start with Joe Cooke and Dan Smith looking comfortable enough against the Middleton opening attack.

Smith was the first to go when he was LBW to Thompson for 12 and then last week’s centurion Cooke was bowled for 16 to leave the home aside on 34 for 2 and this became 48 for 3 when Paul Clifford was slightly unlucky to be given LBW for 14.

Mike Norris and Ed Sykes put together an excellent partnership of 101 for the fourth wicket with Sykes playing the anchor role allowing Norris to play his shots but it was Sykes who went first for a solid 33 when he was bowled by Hemmingway.

Skipper Jack Groves joined Norris but was caught behind off the spinner Reynolds for 9 but at 164 for 5 Ifield had a decent platform with plenty of batting still to come. Salunkhe and Norris took the score to 173 before Norris misjudged a drive and was caught at deep mid -off for a well-made 66.

Daniel Groves was pushed up the order to give the innings a late injection of pace and he duly did so with an unbeaten 24 off 16 balls allowing Ifield to collect maximum batting points and the innings was declared on 210 for 7 after 51 overs.

Middleton arguably has the strongest batting line-up in the division and they started well against the Ifield opening seam attack but on a turning pitch skipper Groves quickly turned to spin and it did the trick when Hansford was caught behind off Salunkhe for 18 to leave the visitors at 34 for 1.

Middleton skipper Sean Heather joined Hemmingway and they progressed the score to 71 before Ifield struck again, this time Jigar Parekh picking up the wicket when Hemmingway rather unluckily played on for 30.

Ferbrache, another centurion from last week, needlessly ran himself out when attempting an unlikely second run off the bowling of Parekh and then just one run later Salunkhe caught and bowled Burrows for 1.

New batsman Colvin survived a few early scares particularly against Salunkhe but he and the patient Heather managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Groves turned to the off spin of Clifford to ty and break the partnership and the move worked when straight after a drinks break Heather was adjudged LBW to Clifford for 34.

At 116 for 5 the game was still in the balance with Ifield probably feeling slightly the more confident but Colvin by now was settled and looking dangerous and in Reynolds he found another partner able to stick around but Ifield were continuing to set attacking fields trying to make further in-roads.

As the overs ticked by the required run rate was getting higher and higher and finally Middleton decided that maybe on the day a draw was the most they could get from the game and the chase was called off.

Clifford picked up the late wicket of Reynolds for 13 but in the end the visitors finished on 178 for 6 and the game was drawn.

This was another good performance by Ifield and they finished with 13 points to Middleton’s 9 and it keeps them very much in the shake-up in the top half of the table and with a game in hand over all of the teams above them they go into the final third of the season in good spirits.

Next week Ifield travel to second place Eastbourne.

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