Great Melton C (24 points) beat Beeston A (8 points) by 14 runs at Town Close in the Norfolk League Division 4SW
Great Melton C (158 all out) did just enough to hold back an impressive Beeston A side (144 all out) and consolidate their third place in the league.
Beeston won the toss and decided to put the home team in to bat on a slightly damp pitch which would look to spring up some surprises throughout the day. Regular opener Jamie Dutton and “former no. 11” Chris Wright were tasked with facing the pacey, left-arm seamer Nick Green and accurate right-armed Liam Wall. It was Wall who looked the more dangerous, beating the bat of both batsmen regularly. Green’s pace was also problematic with Wright wearing several balls on the gloves, one of which was dropped behind. Beeston’s indifferent fielding probably proved to be the difference on the day, dropping several catches throughout Melton’s innings. It was Wright who made the most of his luck, putting on an opening stand with 79 with Dutton (15) before being dismissed by change bowler Freddie Steward for 59.
Kyle Weston (9) was aggressive, but found the hands of the beanpole Steward with a lofted swipe and stand-in skipper Duncan Greenslade only managed 2 runs before being bowled by Wall. Dale Weston was the only one who managed to get any joy out of the bowling of Wall, smacking the ball on the leg-side for two fours before lofting a length ball over cow-corner for 6. However, he fell to the same fate as D. Greenslade. No one else in the youthful Melton XI managed to accrue any significant runs and extras proved to be a vital contribution to the home innings, totalling 44 including 18 byes and 15 wides. Once a miscued reverse sweep by Zef Ishtiaq found the hands of Charlie Green, Melton’s innings was over for 158.
Beeston started their reply with aggression, running hard and putting all the Melton fielders under pressure. However, Liam Wall miscued a slog and found the safe hands of Chris Wright at mid-wicket off the bowling of James Bridges. From there, Beeston struggled to develop any partnership of real substance but an impressive knock by number three Tom White was the highlight of the innings. It wasn’t plain sailing, however. Mark Swaby, fielding at point, got quickly down to a driven shot and hit the stumps with a great underarm throw and Melton looked like they had their man. Unfortunately, the umpire wasn’t certain and gave White the benefit of the doubt and went on to make 52, including five boundaries. It was the quick and alert running that was the order of the day for Beeston, but Melton picked up wickets regularly – Bridges bowling opener Nick Green (10), Ishtiaq bowling Bill Wiseman (8), Bridges taking a good low catch in the covers off the bowling of Dale Weston to dismiss Steward (9) and Chris Wright bowling wicketkeeper Robert Oldfield (4).
After 20 overs, Beeston were 87-5 – requiring another 72 runs for victory with half their wickets remaining. White was resolute and Symonds looked like he was capable of causing damage. However, after the two put on 25, Dale Weston bowled a beautiful delivery to number seven, Mike Symonds, and the ball ended up in Rebecca Greenslade’s gloves. Mark Swaby at point gave a shout and the umpire impishly raised the finger for caught behind. Bowler, batsman and most of the field bemused, Symonds was out for 9 and at 107-6, things were looking more positive for Melton. Things improved even more when Ishtiaq, bowling his final allotted over, induced a few uppish drives from White who looked in a hurry to finish the run chase. The first chance was high and the sprinting Dutton at wide mid-off managed to get a left hand on the leather, alas the ball fell back to earth and Tom White had another 2 runs to his name. The next shot was squarer and harder and Mark Swaby plucked the ball out of thin air, completing a backwards somersault in the process, and Tom White was finally dismissed for 52. The very next delivery, Matthew Macauley (9) also found the surprisingly assured hands of Bridges at cover, Beeston still 31 runs short at 128-8. A late charge was provided by the bat of Brian Parke (9) and the wild bowling of Kevin Ellis but Dale Weston beat the defence of Charlie Green (0), picking up his third wicket of the afternoon.
The game was finely poised, Beeston requiring another 22 runs for victory and Melton only requiring one wicket. Captain Greenslade retains his faith in Ellis for the 36th over of the innings. The first ball is knocked for 2 by the opposition skipper, Parke. The third ball is a beamer of spectacular proportions, flying over Parke’s and Rebecca Greenslade’s heads for 5 no balls. However, 14 runs short a low and straight full toss beat the defences of captain Parke and the game was over. Melton mightily relieved to stumble over the finishing line. It was a very spirited chase from the visitors but Dale Weston (8-1-14-3) and Ishtiaq (10-0-40-3) did the bulk of the damage to falter their efforts.
With three games remaining, the Cs will look to replicate their win over Garboldisham Cs earlier on in the season where they beat them by 135 runs! Melton sit in third place in the league, 5 points behind Mellis and 44 points ahead of Garboldisham themselves (though both teams have a game in hand over Melton). After this comes a tough away game to top-of-the-league Hingham and a home tie to Mellis who outclassed the Cs in the reverse fixture.