Richard Wood and Jason Whiddett both hit centuries in Great Melton’s winning draw at Downham in Division 2. Their stand of 242 for the 3rd wicket is a new club record eclipsing the 154 made by Eddie Shaw and Chris Elliott against Gressenhall in 1997 and is actually the highest stand for any wicket in first team cricket, but putting milestones and records to one side the partnership was crucial to another good performance ensuring Melton move up the table and away from the relegation zone.
Downham won the toss and elected to field and Melton got off to the worst possible start losing Alex Cooper (5) and Dave Allum (0) in quick succession and so at 7 for 2 things looked bleak for the visitors, but Wood and Whiddett are probably Melton’s most dependable and calm batsman and both were unmoved by the pressure of the situation. The wicket was a fine one to bat on too and with the ball coming on nicely and some untidy fielding from the home side, runs started to flow; Whiddett struck 13 fours and 2 sixes in his innings of 102 and Wood 18 boundaries of his own, similarly including 2 maximums in his fine knock of 107 – it is his second century of the summer and his 10th for the club overall putting him just 2 behind Alan Ely and few would bet against him passing that milestone; a remarkable effort given that this is just his fifth season at the club. Both centurians were dimissed looking for quick late runs but some strong hitting from Marcus Godbold and Nigel Young took the visitors to 261 for 6, comfortably their highest score of the season.
Donwham’s reply was aggressive, despite losing Nicol early to the bowling of Gristwood. Crisp (36) played some handsome shots before inexplicably holing out to long off who had been moved their just moments before, but Townsely (42) was stoic and with Sharp (12), Coe (43) and Grady (34), Downham kept in touch with the required run rate albeit wickets fell at fairly regular intervals. Daryl Godbold and Nigel Young both bowled good spells, but perhaps the turning point was the brilliant run out by Dave Allum whose direct hit accounted for Townsley and then when Coe fell in the same fashion after some excellent work by Marcus Godbold who fielded superbly all afternoon, Downham’s progress was checked. Grady hit several big blows and looked as if he might take his side within reach of 90%, but when he was well caught by Mark Scott in the gully off the bowling of Daryl Godbold, Melton looked favourites and with Alex Cooper bowling an excellent spell at the death and taking 2 wickets Downham were reduced to 9 down and blocked out the last over.
This was a fine performance by Melton; their fielding was excellent and more displays of this quality will see a steady climb up the divisional table.
A Cooper ct C Sharp b S Sharp 5, J Whiddett b Sandell 102, D Allum lbw b Crisp 0, R Wood ct Coe b Chaunan 107, N Young ct Chaunan Sandell 8, M Godbold not out 7, G Bunn run out 6. Extras 26. Total 261 for 6. (M Crisp 8-0-47-1, S Sharp 8-0-47-1, J Sandell 8-1-46-2, D Grady 12-1-57-0, J Chaunan 10-1-59-1)
T Townsley run out (Allum) 42, A Nicol b Gristwood 4. M Crisp ct Cooper b Gristwood 36, C Sharp ct Wood b Young 12, J Coe run out (M Godbold) 43, D Grady ct Scott b D Godbold 34, J Chaunan not out 22, A Corbett ct Bunn b Cooper 6, N Grommett b Cooper 5, J Sandell run out (M Godbold) 11, S Sharp not out 0. Extras 14. Total 229 for 9. (N Gristwood 11-2-40-2, M Scott 5-1-35-0, N Young 12-1-50-1, D Godbold 12-0-57-1, A Thompson 3-0-28-0, A Cooper 3-0-15-2)