Great Melton A (6 Points) secured a losing draw against Thetford (18) at Mundford Road in Norfolk Cricket Alliance Division Four
It was almost perverse that, on a day when all three other senior sides were left kicking their heels, Melton A took on a strong Thetford side with a side shorn of many of their regular, and key, performers. It was to prove decisive as, despite winning a good toss and bowling well, Melton A lacked the firepower with the bat to challenge Thetford’s total of 205-8, settling for a losing draw that does at least keep them in the battle for second place since all other Division Four fixtures were called off. Margin for error is now gone though, and Melton will need a positive result in next week’s trip to Winterton.
Putting the opposition into bat on a very damp wicket, Melton made life very difficult for Thetford openers Conroy and Smeed. Adam Thompson in particular looked a real threat, conceding just 12 runs in his first 9 overs. Michael Farmer proved just as difficult to get away on the pudding wicket but the Thetford batsmen took a very sensible and pragmatic approach. Although the score was just 36-0 from 20 overs, with Oliver Harris replacing Farmer and proving just as economical, the two batsmen finally began to find the middle of the bat, and Chris Wright (0-41) replacing Thompson (12-4-28-0) took the brunt of the punishment as the excellent Conroy (62) began to do some real damage.
The score suddenly began to progress swiftly, moving to 95-0 from 29 overs before Harris dismissed both openers, to smart catches from Chris Elliott and Michael Farmer, the latter atoning for dropping a similar chance a few overs before.
The Thetford middle order came in determined to play their shots with the platform set and both runs and wickets began to come quickly. Lee Whiddett replaced Wright and he had the talented R Conroy (11) caught on the drive by Harris and then had Dennis (25) well caught on the long-on fence by Damian Loines. M Fowler (36no) punished any bad balls from the skipper but he went on to remove Baulch and Kerling to record figures of 6-0-46-4. At the other end, Farmer returned for the excellent Harris (2-35) and grabbed two wickets in the final over, including a superb one-handed caught and bowled as Thetford finished on 205-8.
The Melton reply got off to a solid start but in the 7th Over Simon Brett (2) was caught off the bowling of Smeed. Martin Bunn survived a regulation catch opportunity but couldn’t make it pay as he looped up a ball which was brilliantly caught by Liam Conroy. Damian Loines (23) and Lee Whiddett took the score to 61-2 at drinks but from the first ball after, Whiddett (8) hit a full toss straight back to the bowler and then Loines soon after chipped a similar ball to mid-off and any thoughts of a run chase were over.
Tim Hales looked good in making 17 and after Chris Elliott (2) was perhaps unfortunate to be given out caught at slip, Oliver Harris (26) joined Hales and they snuffed out any realistic prospect of Thetford getting the 10 wickets they sought. When Hales was bowled by skipper Conroy, Simon Woods joined Harris and took the score to 117 in the 44th Over before Woods was trapped lbw by a ball that kept low.
Although Harris was dismissed and then Farmer off the very last ball of the match as he tried to hit the 6 required to get Melton to 125, leaving the Melton innings completed on 120-9, there was no real danger of them getting bowled out, but it was disappointing that they were unable to make a better fist of the run chase and pick up valuable batting points. It makes next week’s game at Winterton a ‘must-win’.
L Conroy c Farmer b Harris 62
R Smeed c Elliott b Harris 34
R Conroy c Harris b Whiddett 11
A Dennis c Loines b Whiddett 25
M Fowler Not Out 36
C Baulch b Whiddett 4
A Kerling c Harris b Whiddett 10
M Terry c Elliott b Farmer 0
D Phelps c & b Farmer 0
G Siriwardena Not Out 4
Extras 18 (9w, 3b, 6lb)
Total (8 Wickets, 46 Overs) 205
A Thompson 12-4-28-0, M Farmer 11-1-44-2, O Harris 12-1-35-2, C Wright 5-0-41-0, L Whiddett 6-0-46-4
Great Melton A:
M Bunn c L Conroy b Phelps 19
S Brett c Kerling b Smeed 2
D Loines c Smeed b Phelps 23
L Whiddett c & b Baulch 8
T Hales b L Conroy 17
C Elliott c Terry b L Conroy 2
O Harris ct b Conroy 26
S Woods lbw b Terry 4
M Farmer st R Conroy b L Conroy 2
A Thompson Not Out 1
Extras 26 (21w, 2b, 3lb)
Total (9 Wickets, 46 Overs) 120
R Smeed 10-4-30-1, L Grayson 9-1-22-0, D Phelps 12-4-18-2, C Baulch 6-0-22-1, L Conroy 6-1-18-4, G Siriwardena 2-0-3-0, M Terry 1-0-2-1