Littleborough ran into trouble at Middleton , which was mostly of their own making as victory turned to defeat.
While Dexter Fitton and Chris Dearden were at the crease, victory seemed highly likely. However, when they were separated panic crept in and the last eight wickets fell for just 32 runs as Littleborough succumbed to an 11 run defeat. With four of the last five wickets being run outs. At times it looked like a scene from the Keystone Cops.
Chasing an extremely manageable total of 236 on the superb Towncroft wicket which was based around a superb 170 run partnership between Mark Gardner 79 and David Brown 93. But despite this, Littleborough seemed to have the matter well in hand.
Mark Whiteley and Peter Shimwell gave them a solid if not spectacular start against openers Kelvin Williams and Paul Sale. Middleton captain Williams made a tactical decision and it was successful as Whiteley 20 edged a Barry Hamilton delivery’s into the hands of Astley and Shimwell 29 dismissed shortly afterwards giving Williams a return catch and it was now 68-2.
However Fitton was quietly laying the foundations for a long innings and Dearden joined him and the tempo was raised. On a perfect batting strip Hamilton was punished with his figures of 17.4-2-91-4 . Fitton weighed in with an entertaining 78 and Dearden hit three sixes but unfortunately perished going for a fourth as he was caught by Mike Gillibrand for 57 ending a 125 run partnership.
Fitton was dismissed by a returning Williams giving him his second return catch. With them both gone in quick succession it was a tall order for the remaining batsmen and Hamilton took advantage of this to remove both Hunter 6 and Schofield 10. The last four dismissals Hernon 0, Jones 10, Lee Kelly 0 and David Thewlis 2 were all run out to gift Middleton the game, as Littleborough were dismissed for 225
Brown 101 and Gardner 79 were responsible for Middleton’s impressive total with their aforementioned 125 run partnership. Middleton didn’t get off to the best of starts as Mike Gillibrand was bowled by Fitton for a duck.
Brown played and missed early on in his innings but gradually found his touch to score his maiden first team century. Gavin Deakin remained 18* and Lee Wolstenholme 0* as Middleton finished on 236-6 to win by 11 runs