GREAT MELTON 1st TEAM (23 Points) beat NORTH RUNCTON A (4 points) by 64 runs at Melton Park in the Norfolk Alliance Division 3
After being put into bat, Melton set up to score runs quickly in this reduced overs game, with the intent demonstrated early, as the usually destructive combination of Ben Mann and Clarke strode to the wicket. Both built solid starting platforms even with Runcton opener Skipper producing some decent line and lengths which tested the pairing. However, it was the slower and much more tempting deliveries from Lankfer which teased Mann into playing the usually effective illustrious strokes, but for him to mis-cue an infamous “hit it where you want” wicket ball straight to mid-on for 14. Garner joined Clarke at the crease, yet this partnership was short lived as Garner fell to the cutting delivery of Skipper for 1 and Clarke following, to change bowler Fisher, lbw for 14.
Having Sam Mann at the crease, was a dream for any captain to have this season, as he showed why he is the clubs leading run scorer at present moment, as he produced a composed and resilient performance that was needed after the fall of the first 3 batsman, as he made his way to a respectable 34. Even with this though, the loss of wickets around him continued. Greenslade was the first to fall, only making 5, as he also became victim of the “hit it where you want” wicket ball, where the only piece of wood the full toss hit was that of middle stump. Hales came and went for 2, however being dismissed in a much more professional manner with the ball from Skipper moving back in off the surface to take off stump.
At this point, it looked like Melton were truly missing the absent Richard Wood and Jason Whiddett, who usually bring calmness to any mayhem happening over 22 yards. But in their absence, the bowlers gave a masterclass in batting to see Melton to a respectable 186 at the end of the 40 overs. It began with a welcome return to Melton park for Aslam, who picked up where he left off, as he provided a quick 13. Mackenzie and captain Harris then took charge, as both mixed sharp running, big hitting and crease composure to allow Melton to reach the 180+ mark. Mackenzie topped of his innings, with a lovely straight drive down the ground for 4 to complete his 50* whilst Harris hit four 4s himself to produce a true Captain’s ‘leading by example’ innings of 35*.
Another returning face was that of Darshan Rai, who showed that talent will always be there, even with 2 years away from the game as his left arm bowling produced the same pace, length and line many remember, to finish with 8-3-16-0. His opening spell, in tandem with Aslam (8-1-38-1), brought everything but a wicket as openers Barrett (15) and Coote (13) flashed the bat hard and in hope rather than in technique, as the runs accumulated during the opening 10 overs. The breakthrough was made when spinner Rennie (8-0-26-1) set the perfect trap, as his short half tracker delivery – he will try to convince you it wasn’t!! – was too tempting for Barrett as he picked out Greenslade standing in cow corner. This turned out to be the end for North Runcton as Bunting joined Coote at the crease. Although Bunting ended on 51*, it could be deemed more of a hindrance to the Runcton innings as he gifted run outs to Harris and Garner – Coote the first to be sent down the river.
The combination of Harris and Garner then took control as Garner removed the dangerous Skipper for a duck, Johnson for 1 and then completed the middle order destruction with a caught and bowled – Mayes gone for 5 – Garner finishing with incredible figures of 8-4-8-3. Lankfer and Cross provided little resistance as captain Harris (6-1-19-2) got in on the action by bowling Lankfer and getting Cross to pick out the safe hands of Hales. Runcton’s number 10 Fisher provided some resilience, his slow 15 making the ever-present rain clouds creep up even faster. Melton got through the remaining overs in what seemed to be record time as North Runcton finished 9 down for only 122, before the rain was upon us.
After the earlier collapse of Melton’s middle order, the win, 23 points on the board and news that Bungay lost to Swardeston and we would finish the day in 2nd, made drinks at the Wig and Pen taste a whole lot better.
For scorecard click this link: http://greatmelton.play-cricket.com/website/results/3135535