The usual early-season availability problems made the first two weeks difficult for Great Melton’s 5 senior team captains but much of their hard work was to no avail as 4 of the club’s first 7 matches fell victim to the weather. The Sunday side did get the season off to a flying start by beating Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers by 10 runs at Barton Turf. George Bunn scored 90, Kai Wilkinson-Loines 21 and young Corey Rushton 17 as Melton totalled 210-7. Then, despite the best efforts of Joe Everett (48), the home side were restricted to 200-8. The wickets were shared around with new skipper Aslam Mohammed taking 2-22, Nick Mackenzie 2-44, Ben Johnson 1-15, Matt Rushton 1-28, Imran Mohammed 1-31and Bunn 1-39. The catching and general fielding was good with the youngsters, Johnson and Rushton, particularly impressive.
Last Saturday the first team kicked off their Alliance Division 3 campaign with a 7-wicket win over Bungay. In a match disrupted by showers of rain and hail and in bitterly cold conditions Melton dismissed the visitors for 101, skipper Chris Fuller top scoring with 28. There were wickets for Tom Grant (1-15), Aslam Mohammed (3-21) and Nick Mackenzie (2-18) but Melton captain Richard Waddell took top honours with 4-16 before opening the batting in effort to finish the match before the weather deteriorated further. The plan worked with Waddell scoring 41 as he and Lohit Kannan (23), with help from Matt Clarke (12 not out) and Aslam (19), won the game for Melton in the 19th over.
With the A & C Team games called off by Mundford and Diss B by mid-morning, the B Team were the only other Melton side to see any action, losing to Drayton by 7 wickets. With skipper Matt Rushton having lost the toss, a talented but very young Melton side were always up against it facing a Drayton team of experienced adults. Rushton proved the mainstay of the Melton innings with 36 but 13-year-olds Corey Rushton (12) and Harrison Cunningham (18) showed much promise. However, Melton’s 118 all out was unlikely to be enough and so it proved as Tim Woods’ patient unbeaten 47 and Andy Hawes 34 saw Drayton to victory in the 36th over despite excellent bowling by Caitlin Ellis (7-4-15-1), Fawad Kaiser (7-3-13-1), Leo DeSalis (7-1-17-1) and Cunningham (6-0-22-0)
On Sunday Melton entertained Yorkshire touring side Bradfield Village Fellowship who batted first and scored 152 all out in 34.5 overs. James Shepherd top-scored for Bradfield with exactly 50 and Sam Mann took 3-9 as skipper Aslam Mohammed used 11 bowlers. Sam and brother Ben then starred with the bat, Sam scoring 51 before retiring and Ben 38. It was left to youngsters Corey Rushton (20 not out) and Ben Johnson to finish the match with Ben Johnson hitting the winning boundary in the 32nd over. In 4 weeks time Melton will play a return game at Bradfield’s picturesque ground as part of their own tour.