Monday, 19 August 2019
Monday, 05 June 2017

Young Tommy Rutter, Middleton born and bred gave a man of the match performance for the Moonrakers in their top of the table clash against Moorside. With three wickets and a sixty run partnership with teenager Rhys Tierney, Tommy proved he has all the credentials to become a great all rounder. The victory capped a great week for Middleton, with the three wins keeping up their unbeaten start to the season. On bank holiday Monday a fine three wickets for Tierney enabled a one run win against Shaw whilst Friday evening a magnificent 67 from the hard hitting Grant Jones sealed an emphatic win versus Werneth. Both these wins were in the T20 competition.

The Saturday fixture was a return to league duties for the youthful Middleton side where the average age is 23, with nine of the players local Middletonians. The sun was shining and Moorside Captain Rick Harrington was relieved to win the toss and send out his openers Jack Gartside and Danny Anchor, who both walked onto a magnificent looking square. Middleton skipper George Walker gave the new ball to his twin speed attack of Pro Chris Williams and Mike Pritchard. These two are forming a great partnership as they are approaching 50 wickets between them and with the score on 27 Williams took the first wicket lbw. The Moorside openers had been settling in well in ideal batting conditions and finding the boundaries quite regularly, so this was a good breakthrough. Moorside Captain Harrington didn't last long as he was neatly caught behind by wicket-keeper Pete Foden. Pete together with brother Matt has a safe pair of hands and each can always be relied upon to take any chance proffered in their direction.

With two wickets down this meant the arrival of South African professional Gerrie Snyman to the wicket. The League's leading run scorer only two years ago Gerrie is capable of winning any match single handedly and you don't want him getting into his stride. Bowling to Gerrie was Mike Pritchard who claimed the prize wicket of Gerrie the previous week in the Wood Cup match and was looking to repeat the same today. Snyman was soon into his stride with a couple of well taken boundaries taking his score into the twenties, meanwhile Gartside had now amassed 30 runs and in glorious sunshine a score of over 200 was looking likely. However Pritchard had other ideas. Building up some pace and a little movement Mike was determined to break this partnership, and with the score on 93 he claimed the prize wicket of Snyman who tried to lift Pritchard over cover to the boundary.

The pace of the ball was quicker than Snyman expected and Matt Foden took an excellent catch in the covers to enormous celebration from the Middleton fielders who gathered in mass celebration. To get Snyman for 23 is a great result and a potential game changer. Pritchard and the Pro were both bowling well and ended up with five wickets between them off 25 overs at less than four an over. Walker wisely brought spinner Mcguiness into the attack and he removed top scorer Gartside caught behind for 36 and had dangerous batter Imran Khan lbw for 8. The Moorside middle order was still capable of taking the total to around 200 however the introduction of middle pacer Tommy Rutter would be key. His ability to place the ball on the required spot over and over again, leaves the batsmen with little room for manoeuvre and often ends up with them taking an unnecessary risk. This proved to be the case with Tommy ripping out the middle order of both Phil and Craig Taylor plus the dangerous Overseas player Ruan Havenga. Moorside managed to get 165 runs on the board before Midd Professional Williams mopped up the tail enders.

As tea was taken Moorside South African Pro Snyden reflected on a missed opportunity and no doubt relished the forthcoming international match for Namibia against Scotland for him to make amends. Indeed these Middleton youngsters are competing with players of absolute quality, be it England's ex Saj Mahmood or the 85 mile per hour Barbadian quickie Jameel Stuart. A great achievement for the town that local Moonrakers can take on the best and beat them.

A shower during tea meant that the Middleton opening pair walked out in overcast conditions not ideal for batting. However Chris Williams was soon into his stride finding the boundary with a glorious cut followed up by a perfect drive. There has not been a game where Chris has not impacted in one way or another and today he was to follow up his 3 wickets with a superb 62 including 11 fours as he expertly found the gaps in the field to great advantage. Williams was to be one of Havenga's four victims as he had Williams caught by Khan with the score on 82, however Middleton were well placed for the loss of only two wickets. There then followed a mini collapse of four wickets, with only a 21 from Walker adding to the score significantly. McGuiness can consider himself unlucky to be given out lbw when he appeared to get a touch on the ball. At 108-6 it was game on and Moorside smelt victory with two youngsters at the wicket and key batters departed. The pressure was applied by Moorside in all manner, with the fielders geeing each other up with talk of an imminent further Middleton wicket. However, batters Rhys Tierney and Tom Rutter have heard it all before and such banter would not disturb their concentration.

With spinners Harenga and Khan taking advantage of the conditions it was not easy to bat out there, however Tom and Rhys proved they have what it takes. Pinching the singles whenever possible they began to chip away at the 57 runs required giving no chances whatsoever to the Moorside bowlers and fielders. Singles soon turned into two's and fours with the boundary reached on six occasions by this pair. Tierney in particular relished anything on the leg side as he cracked a couple of sweet fours off his legs and into the Pavilion fence, much to the delight of the massed Middleton support. Rhys as always was up for the battle, as he was on the Monday, when he turned the match in Middleton's favour against Shaw. Each run deflated the Moorside team and the winning run was hit with six overs remaining, with Tierney on 26 and Rutter on 27 to add to his three earlier wickets. A great performance from these two, both products of the Middleton youth system. Indeed the great work done by the coaches of the six junior teams deserves real recognition.

Home of the Moonrakers

Middleton C.C. currently compete in the Lancashire Cricket League.

Senior matches take place on the majority of Saturday and Sundays.

The Junior sides play on various nights throughout the week, as well as the Under 13s playing on Sunday mornings.

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The Club hold a weekly draw. The cost is £5 per month, and the weekly prize is £50. Anybody interested should contact Peter Collinson.
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