With Liam Hughes on call, Gary Coulson captained a much changed B team, but all he was able to win was the toss. Electing to bowl first on the hottest day of the year, despite last week’s performance, seemed a strange decision.
Gary opened up with himself, and took a stumble first ball, sending down a rare wide. It was to be a harbinger. A Howes and P Wight looked to develop a good early stand for the hosts, and despite Rob Smith’s best efforts to support his skipper, the Drayton pair moved serenely to 35 without loss after 10 untroubled overs.
De Salis was introduced to the action, and made the ball swing from the start, enough to turn you inside out. This caused the downfall of P Wright (13) rapped in front. J Bhasavar (27) slapped a few lusty blows across the line before becoming de Salis’ 2nd victim, cleverly bowled by a really slow delivery, and Drayton suddenly looked vulnerable.
Realistically all hope of making further in-roads into the batting line up diminished in controversial fashion when G Allard, facing a consecutive duck, snicked behind to deSalis and failed to walk. Thereafter there was an undertow of dissatisfaction amongst the visitors who felt aggrieved by the non-decision. Leo did pick up his 600th Melton wicket soon after though, suitably trapping opener Howes in front for well crafted 34.
His departure brought K Hunt to the crease, and he and Allard set about the Melton bowling, looking to accelerate the run rate. Many a delivery started to disappear over the boundary rope with all bowlers suffering the same punishment. Connor Stearman eventually made the break through, bowling Allard for 56 during a very tidy spell. One of Fawad’s darts accounted for Hunt (44), but only after te home batsman had launched 4 monster hits, one out of the ground. Satish joined the bandwagon, clubbing a quick fire 22 before being stumped off Fawad. James (Buddha) Robb bowled a probing spell without success, as did Rob Smith, who returned when the bat was swinging, the field spread and the fielders flagging.
Damien Loines and Kev Fraser both held superb catches in the deep, and latter one handed behind his head to claim the champagne moment, to make Gary’s figures respectable as the onslaught continued. Aided by 34 extras, Drayton posted a daunting 258, half a world away from the tea time total Melton desired.
Ravi Sharma, playing just his 2nd game of the season, zipped his first delivery past Steve Clarke’s waist before he knew what was happening. He was unfortunate enough to get an edge to the second and deflect the ball onto his stumps. Tim Hales scampered a quick single to get off strike, but Rob Smith could only tamely lob the 6th ball to point, and the visitor’s reply was 1-2 at the end of the first over. Fawad leant imperiously into one from Sharma for a lovely drive for the first boundary of the innings; then stood and watched as Tim was bowled. 5-3 in 4 overs soon became 9-4 when Tony Alborough was bowled by Pointer by one that nipped back and hit the top of off. Woody Loines looked to play an aggressive counter attacking game, driving and cutting his way to 21. Fawad seemed in no trouble until a ball from Pointer followed him and he edged to 1st slip.
James Robb (3) was beaten by Sharma’s pace, and Kev Fraser was undone by one which kept low. Satish replaced the tall Pointer, and almost immediately bowled Loines. The visitors could almost see the end game, and whilst everybody hurts, the departure of Connor for 8 off Sharma’s last delivery meant they were almost out of time. The last rites being called with Gary cutting Soanes’ 2nd legitimate ball to point, to leave de Salis stranded on 8 not out, and Melton 194 runs in arrears.
A Hawes lbw de Salis 34; P Wright lbw de Salis 13; J Bhasavar b de Salis 27; G Allard b Stearman 56; K Hunt lbw Fawad 44; Satish st Clarke B Fawad 22; Munish ct D Loines b Coulson 12; R Sharma ct Fraser b Coulson 2; P Spoanes not out 9; N Chmaberlain lbw Fawad 0; R Pointer run out 5. Extras 34 TOTAL 258 (G Coulson 10-1-41-2; R Smith 8-1-45-0; L de Salis 10-0-62-3; Fawad 7.5-0-45-3; J Robb 5-0-33-0; C Stearman 4-0-25-1.)
Great Melton B
S Clarke b Sharma 0; R Smith ct Munish b Sharma 0; T Hales b Sharma 1; F Kaiser ct Hunt b Pointer 11; A Alborough b Pointer 1; D Loines b Satish 21; J Robb b Sharma 3; K Fraser b Satish 0; C Stearman ct Munish b Sharma 8; L de Salis not out 8; G Coulson ct Wright b Soanes 0. Extras 11. TOTAL 64 (R Sharma 12-5-25-5; R Pointer 9-2-15-2; Satish 3-0-16-2; P Soanes 0.2 -0-1-1).