Middleton, who was sidelined with a broken finger for a period last season, possibly feared the worst when he was struck on the right/bottom hand while batting by teenager Academy speedster Dom Kelly.
He immediately threw off his glove, but continued batting and made 30 of Totton’s 145 all out. He was later able to field – and run out Jude Wright before the Academy clinched their victory.
It is understood Middleton (left) had a precautionary X-ray after the match, but fortunately suffered only bruising.
He clearly had few ill effects as he made an unbeaten 108 for Hampshire IIs, who closed 197-1 at the end of a rain shortened opening day on the Nursery Ground.
Facing the pacey 16-year Kelly was no fun for the Totton batsmen – the Millfield speedster scattering Bothwell Chapungu’s stumps in the fifth over after the powerful Zimbabwean left-hander had thudded him for consecutive fours.
Middleton braved Kelly’s pace and went on to make 30 before Totton suffered a horrendous collapse, losing five wickets – Jude Wright (2-26) and the fast-emerging Oli Cordery (2-12 off eight overs) got two each – in plunging from 63-1 to 86-6.
The downfall brought together a fascinating father and son batting combination of James and Leo Taylor (22), who added 41 for the seventh wicket.
The Taylors are made of stern stuff and the Academy had to work to shift them before 16-year old Leo, having hit four boundaries, became the first of three victims for Archie Fairfax-Ross (3-21) at 127 whereupon three more wickets fell for five runs.
Taylor senior went for 31, trapped leg before – the Academy’s accurate bowling being underlined by three Totton batsmen being bowled, two trapped leg before and two caught behind by Charlie Mumford.
Academy openers Tom Cheater (35) and Mumford (15) traded in boundaries, 40 of the initial 46 runs crossing the rope – the Southern Gardens raised Cheater hitting Brighton Mugochi’s left-arm spin to the line off three successive deliveries of the sixth over.
The pair exited to consecutive deliveries with the Academy reply at 46, but Kelly (38) and Millfield team-mate Joe Eckland (37 not out) soon got things back on course with a 62-run stand.
Teenage left-arm spinner Toby Green (2-25) combined with gloveman James Taylor to squeeze out a bowling bonus point before Eckland completed the formalities.