Great Melton Sunday A Team beat South Walsham by 1 wicket at South Walsham in a Friendly
20 overs from half six. A timed game; a throw back to halcyon days. No limit to how many overs a bowler can operate; a gentle pursuit turning into a T20 type helter-skelter; and glorious home baked coffee buns and jam tarts washed down with refreshing cups of tea. This was proper cricket, and a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon for all involved.
The hosts wafted the willow first, facing up to the long limbed and lithe framed Darshan, playing his first game of the season. With his radar well adjusted from the very start, the pace bowler relished the chance to be let loose. Neal Clarke was less happy, as the ball thudded into his gloves some 20 yards back from the crease. At the other end, a trim and lean Kyle looked equally menacing, displaying the pace and accuracy his teenage persona yearned for. The first team and A team are weaker without these two. Just 16 runs came off the bat in their 12 over spell. 14 though were added in byes. Liam and Fergus were offered the chance to duel for the next dozen overs, Father conceding just 19 as son made the break through, with A Scales stumped for 22, with 68 on the shed wall.
Leo trapped the other opener R Whiteside in front for his obligatory wicket, before feeling the force of P Woods’ swirling blade as the home side looked to post a more than competitive total before deciding to take tea. One of the joys of a timed game, is the floating tea, which is taken when the batting side decide they have sufficient runs to defend, and wickets tumble in the pursuit.
Peter Frazer mixed extravagant flight with exaggerated bounce as his leg spin claimed Woods (32) bowled and Belton (10) caught in the deep by Joey. Father Kev also claimed a brace in his 4 over spell, with R Bean (40) also bowled and S Corcoran suffering from a second stumping. Joey Greenslade, bowling with pace and aggression, and Tim Hales, just bowling, finished things off before the declaration came with 224 posted, though only 184 came off the bat, despite the hard fast out field. Melton’s ground fielding, expertly led by Clive with his large frame, stopping most aimed anywhere near them.
And then came the delicious offerings in the village hall, making the visitors glad they were batting second.
Judging the run chase is an art in this forma. Watching the clock and trying to leave roughly 6 an over for the last 20, but with wickets in hand, adds a dimension the set limited over format can never replicate. Joey and Tim lead the riposte in the face of a very good spell from the south-paw pair of the quick D Scales of Sprowston A , and C Pyer with his round the wicket spin. Tim reached double figures before mistiming to Belton for a simple catch. Joey followed 2 runs later for the lowest number unachievable with a single dart, also caught.
Fergus, fresh from gutsing it out against Mallards A , also reached double figures, before offering a third simple catch, with the score on 72 in the 24th over with the small hand pointing to 6.27pm. Neal and Kev took drinks with 135 required in the final chase. The skipper hit 4 fours off his first 5 balls faced. He doubled that score in the next 5 overs, as Neal steadily accelerated, knocking himself into form with a well crafted 50 then stepping aside to allow others to bat. Clive sparkled to reach double figures, with one glorious cover drive. Liam took on the responsibility of guiding the side to the target with some aggressive batting, A Scales and J Belton in particular on the receiving end, both going at almost 8 an over.
Kyle, with a three boundary flourish, ensured Liam did not need to follow Neal and retire upon reaching his half century, and that Fergus would score more runs across the weekend.
It was left to Darshan in his own inimitable style, to dance down the track to whoever is bowling and slap them back over their head. His third contact arched beautifully to land beyond the ropes, and put the seal on a remarkable game.