A 34 run victory against nearest rivals Sprowston ‘A’ gives Great Melton a 24 point advantage at the top of Alliance division 3 going in to the second half of the season.
Overnight rain meant a delayed start and with the home side winning the toss, Melton were invited to bat first. Good new ball bowling from Niblett and Biswas, who was making a rare appearance to the Sprowston ‘A’ side, made life difficult for Melton openers Alex Cooper and Richard Wood, but Sprowston did not help their cause when Ferguson put down a straightforward chance at gully to offer Cooper a reprieve. Scoring was slow against good bowling and on a large, damp outfield but Sprowston finally made the breakthrough in the 19th over when Wood (20) was adjudged lbw to Hossain. Martyn Cook (15) batting at 3 briefly threatened but when he was bowled by Williams Melton were 111 for 2 after 20 overs. However Cooper took on an attacking role and with Allum (26) for company they put on 53 together before Allum was caght at the wicket off young leg spinner, Evans. Marcus Godbold (22) scored quickly as did Chris Greenslade (17) although both lost their wickets in selfless pursuit of quick runs but it was Cooper (75) whose innings was the cornerstone of the Melton 228 for 7, a competitive total and one that saw 155 runs added in the last 23 overs.
Palmer and Glozier opened Sprowston’s innings. Richard Waddell and Darshan Rai took the new ball but were unable to make an impression early on. The introduction of Nick Gristwood gained Melton their first wicket as the tall seamer lured Glozier (8) in to a lazy drive that was well caught by Godbold at cover. Melton kept the pressure on and when Mark Scott bowled 2 successive wicket maidens to dismiss both Williams (3) and Palmer (18), the home side were 48 for 3 from 17 overs. Gristwood looked to have strengthened Melton’s grip on the game when he bowled Roff (4) but Ferguson and Biswas forged a partnership of 100 in just 11 overs to swing the momentum back in favour of the home side. Richard Waddell made the crucial breakthrough though when he returned for his second spell and bowled Biswas for 52 and then accounted for Robinson (0) in the same manner. Ferguson (38) continued to play his strokes but when he offered a steepling chance to deep square leg, Marcus Godbold held an excellent catch to firmly put Melton in the ascendancy and when Waddell bowled Niblett (0) Sprowston had collapsed and lost 5 wickets for 9 runs. Hossain (33) did his best to stave off defeat with some attractive stroke play, but Melton were not to be denied and when Mark Scott returned for a second spell, his first delivery found the edge of Hossain’s bat and Dave Allum took a simple catch in the gully to seal a 34 run win.
Waddell was the pick of the Melton bowlers taking 4 for 42 but it was Alex Cooper’s 75, comfortably the highest individual score from either side that was the difference between the two teams.
Great Melton. (25 points)
A Cooper ct Glozier b Niblett 75, R Wood lbwb Hossain 20, M Cook b Williams 15, D Allum ct Rush b Evans 26, M Godbold b Biswas 22, G Greenslade b Hossain 17, R Waddell run out 7, M Scott not out 1. Extras 45, Total 228 for 7 (S Niblett 11-0-51-1, P Biswas 11-3-22-1, U Hossain 10-0-59-2, R Williams 6-1-37-1, M Evans 8-0-53-1)
Sprowston ‘A’ (7 points)
L Palmer ct Cooper b Scott 18, J Glozier ct Godbold b Gristwood 8, R Williams b Scott 3, A Ferguson ct Godbold b Waddell 38, D Roff b Gristwood 4, P Biswas b Waddell 52, C Robinson b Waddell 0, M Rush lbw b Rai 0, U Hossain ct Allum b Scott 33, S Niblett b Waddell 0, M Evans not out 0. Extras 34. Total 194 for 10. (D Rai 12-0-33-1, R Waddell 12-2-42-4, N Gristwood 6-0-35-2, M Scott 5.1-2-25-3, O Harris 5-0-54-0)