MIDDLETON CC can play a major part in deciding the Sussex Premier Division title this weekend when they head to in-form Eastbourne.
Sean Heather’s side have been much-improved in recent weeks, dragging themselves clear of the drop-zone.
A run of three matches undefeated was brought to an end last weekend after a 50-run home loss to Preston Nomads.
Only overseas player Mahesh Rawat (71*) showed his true form against the visiting Nomads, who have under-performed this season and currently sit mid-table.
But despite the defeat, Middleton are still comfortably above the drop-zone, sitting two spots and more than 60 points above the relegation places.
With just four matches of the season to go, Heather’s side know that one more victory should be enough to secure their Premier Division status for another season.
To secure that win tomorrow, though, at Saffrons (midday) against an Eastbourne side that has not lost in five, will require Middleton to rip up the form book.
Heather will be hoping his side can pick out the positives of a disappointing defeat to Preston Nomads at Sea Lane.
After losing the toss, Middleton wasted no time with the ball and reduced the visitors to 56-4 with Russell Talman (3-31) a particular nuisance.
But a 154 stand for the fifth wicket between Kashif Ibrahim (71*) and Tim Moses (89) took Nomads to a total of 231 for 6.
In reply, Middleton made a solid if not spectacular return. Josh Wood (19), Jack Dawling (25) and Heather (27) laid a strong foundation for the innings.
And after the fall of Patrick Colvin (27), the match was hanging in the balance with Middleton at 124-5.
But, even with Rawat anchoring the innings, the rest of the side collapsed and the home side lost their last six wickets for 57 runs.