With the skipper returning from holiday to take the reins from stand in Olly Harris, Melton lost the toss and were asked to field. With a green tinged wicket and signs of a little give in the surface, this decision suited the Melton captain as he intended to insert the visitors, considering they had made 3 scores of 250+ in row and Melton having been unable to bowl them out in the return fixture earlier in the season.
Pask and Rai shared the new ball at a windswept Melton park, and as expected the pitch offered good pace and bounce for the young opening bowlers, Rai in particular mixing aggression well with good length bowling in his opening 3 overs. Pask once again bowled good lines and length mixing in the odd well directed short delivery, but neither could find a break though with the Bradenham openers riding there luck at times and dispatching anything over pitched. Following a fruitless opening burst the skipper rang the changes introducing Greenslade and himself to the game, to no avail, Taylor was well into his stride by this time and Bradenham had clocked up 84 by the 18th over.
Again Waddell Rang the changes to the bowling attach looking to tie down the Bradenham openers and find some consistency from his bowlers. The Slow bowling Duet of Sims and Harris stepped in magnificently, stemming the scoring rate and picking up regular wickets. Sims struck first, Stagles mis-judging a rare Sims arm ball that castled straight into middle and off pole departing for 38.
This opened up an end and with Hunter and Bidwell looking to play aggressively against Sims, they were both out caught for 18 and 4 respectively. The opener, Taylor, then departed caught by Matt Clarke at cover for a brisk 57. Following his departure, Dewing (snr) and Dewing (Jnr) looked to stabilise the innings until Dewing (Snr) was bowled by Harris for 7.
The Bradenham Tail gave little resistance with Sims dismissing Dewing (jnr) his antagintor from the reverse fixture for 9 and Harris picking up Evans (7), Read(2) and Bates(0) in quick succession and Kieran Pask returning to bowl Caffyn for 12 leaving Mathews not out on 3, with Bradenham have collapsed from 84-0 to 173 all out in 44.5 overs. Harris finishing with a Melton Best 5-41 and Sims 4-33.
Following a glorious Pask tea and words of warning from the skipper regarding the pace and bounce Bates may find following his testing spell at Bradenham earlier in the season, Melton got underway briskly with Greenslade looking in good form once again, driving and cutting well. Bates, bowling with good pace, bounce and seam movement from left arm around the wicket, got a delivery to rise sharply and Whiddett (5) who was unable to keep the ball down and it looped to gully. This was followed up with a similar delivery that took the returning Clarke’s glove through to the wicket keeper for 0. Greenslade then fell to a delivery that cut back from Caffyn for 17 leaving Melton perilously poised on 30-3 from 8 overs.
Cook and Pask managed to ride the storm with watchful batting, pouncing on anything full and saw off the hardness of the new ball. As the ball softened and Bates tired, batting became easier and the pair moved the score along to 84 in the 16th over when Pask was undone in a similar manner to Greenslade, bowled by Caffyn for 25. This brought Harris to the crease promoted to help rotate the strike with the in-form Martyn Cook. Cook moved to a second consecutive 50 from 42 balls as Bradenham rotated their bowlers to try to find a break thorough, which came when Cook was bowled for a crucial 75 by Dewing (snr) taking only 59 balls, showing that when applying his brain to the game situation, he can change the course of a game.
With 20 more runs needed Waddell joined Harris at the crease but showed a lack of form having missed 2 weeks and departed caught at long on for 2. Harris and Godbold batted sensibly to take the scores to a tie at 173 when Bradenham decided to place all their fielders on the boundary to try to restrict Melton from gaining a critical batting point at 175. With all the boundaries covered it took Harris 4 balls to dispatch a full straight delivery, just evading the diving fielder for 6 to take Melton to victory and a hugely important 4th batting point which, with rivals Garboldisham taking 25points kept us level on points going into next weekend’s decisive game against top of the table Garby.
This was a highly entertaining game that ebbed and flowed in both directions as Bradenham started both innings strongly but Meltons strength in depth shone through in the end.
Stagles Bowled Sims 38, Taylor Ct Clarke Bld Harris 57, Hunter Ct Waddell Bld Sims 18, Bidewell Ct Cook Bld Sims 4, Dewing Bld Harris 7, Dewing (jnr) Bld Sims 9, Evans Ct Godbold Bld Harris 7, Read C & B Harris 2, Bates Bld Harris 0, Matthews Not Out 3, Caffyn Bld Pask 12. Extras 16 Total 173 All Out
Pask 1-18, Rai 0-36, Greenslade 0-20, Waddell 0-12, Sims 4-33, Harris 5-41, Godbold 0-2.
Great Melton (24Pts)
Greenslade Bld Caffyn 17, Whiddett Ct Read Bld Bates 5, Clarke Ct Matthews Bld Bates 0, Cook Bld Dewing (Snr) 75, Pask Bld Caffyn 25, Harris Not Out 28, Waddell Ct Hunter Bld Dewing (Snr) 2, Godbold Not Out 7. Extras 20. Total 179-6.
Bates 2-27, Caffyn 2-61, Dewing (Jnr) 0-29, Dewing (snr) 2-23, Evans 0-24