Stu Middleton on synthetic, it’s every Orange District Cricket Association team’s worst nightmare and the celebrated Cavaliers all-rounder proved exactly why on Saturday afternoon.
On the small Max Stewart Oval, Middleton smashed 11 fours and 11 sixes – 110 of his runs, for those counting – on his way to an incredible, 85-ball 159, scoring the bulk of his outfit’s total in their victory over Orange City.
After opening the batting Middleton was Cavaliers’ last wicket to fall, caught off Ben Harris’ bowling in the 34th over, bringing the maroons’ innings to a close at 210, the hard-hitting notched his century frm just 51 balls and took care of more than 75 per cent of the total.
Naturally, the Warriors would’ve viewed the 211 needed – at a tick over five an over – for victory as doable, but the maroons’ attack strangled them from the beginning of the chase.
Troy O’Keeffe (26) and Shaun Churchill (21) did make inroads at the top of the order but runs simply weren't coming quick enough.
By the 15-over mark the Warriors had nine wickets in hand but with the score at 57 the required run rate had jumped to more than a run-a-ball.
With that scoreboard pressure wickets began falling quicker, the greens limping to 5-83 before Nick Warburton (18) and Dylan Caughlan (31) added 54 for the sixth wicket.
Harry Edwards (26) tried hard at the end too, but Orange City could only muster 9-169 in reply. Will McLean (3-25) was Cavaliers’ best bowler while Middleton also snared 2-11.
In Saturday’s other second grade fixture Centrals (9-175) took down Kinross (100) by 75 runs, thanks largely to Hamish McIntyre’s well-compiled 43 and then Roshan Eiseman taking 3-20 with the new ball.
The results leave Cavaliers and Centrals locked at the top of the standings, with the former taking the upper hand with a tiny advantage on quotient.
In last weekend’s third grade Twenty20 fixtures Spring Hill took down Kinross via forfeit, Waratahs knocked off CYMS and Orange City took down Cavaliers, with the other game’s result not available at time of publication.
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Waratahs held CYMS to 7-89 and made light work of the chase, with Harpreet Singh (34) and Manu Mohan (29 not out) ensuring the sky blues’ victory with five overs and five wickets in hand.
Jamie Stedman (41 not out), Mitch Maker (28) and Sam Wasil (28) were Orange City’s best as they compiled 2-141, before restricting Cavaliers to 6-123 in reply.
Steve Nean (64) batted well to notch a half-ton for the maroons, with Wasil backing up his efforts with the bat by taking 2-6 from two overs.
The second grade competition’s one-day rounds continue this week, while third grade has more T20 round this week.
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