On a day of cloud, mist and heavy rainfall, Great Melton 1st XI travelled to joint top of the table side Garboldisham in what could have been and may still be a season defining game.
Arriving at Garbolisham, Melton were greeted by the covers protecting the wicket and a light drizzle in the air. However, the Garbolisham Wicket and Outfield had not been subject to the heavy rainfall that many Norfolk sides had been over night and in the early hours.
When the rain finally stopped at 12.55, Waddell managed to lose another toss and Melton were promptly asked to bat on a green tinged but dry and hard wicket. The innings started in a positive manner with Martyn Cook promoted to open the batting alongside Jason Whiddett. Cook playing his natural game produced some lusty hits and also rode his luck at times whilst Whiddett started more watchfully.
Whiddett then fell in the 11th over, caught behind from the bowling of Shepard for 3 with the score on 48. Jack Pearse came to the Crease as Chefy continued to mix the sublime with the outrageous until he was caught in two minds and instead of playing full blooded or leaving the ball he hit a short wide delivery straight to point for a 3rd consecutive half century departing for 59 off the bowling of Rackham however Melton had scored at a good rate making 78 off 16 overs.
Richard Wood Joined Pearse at the crease but shortly later Pearse mis-timed the ball trying to work it to leg from the bowling of Hogg, being caught at short midwicket for 11.
Woody was joined by Kieran Pask, and a period of consolidation ensued, as both played cautiously on a tricky surface. Wood looking in good form driving and cutting anything wide. Pask was out in the 25th over for 8 caught in a similar manner to Pearse off the bowling of Hogg who bowled a very tight spell of 12 overs 4 Maidens 2-19. George Bunn was the next man to the crease and he again batted steadily with Wood taking the score to 139 before wood departed in the 40th over.
Looking to increase the scoring the skipper came to the wicket but his current form continued making 2 before attempting to slog sweep a Yorker, being clean bowled by Shepard for 2. Harris came in making 7 before being stumped off the bowling of Fuller, selflessly chopping his average to 45 for the season. Bunn was caught off the bowling of fuller for 22 and it was left to Sims and Godbold to see out the remaining over and attempt to get to the 175 batting point, this was denied by some good death bowling.
Following the interval and a small rain delay, Melton took to the field maybe slight underdogs but the top order batsmen were confident the wicket would be difficult and if we bowled good lengths the score would be defendable.
Waddell took the new ball with Pask, both bowling good lines and length restricting the Garbolisham openers Leech and Williman. Waddell made the initial breakthrough having Leech well caught at square leg for 0 by Bunn. This was followed up with Pask taking the wicket of Phoenix, LBW for 6. The score being 19-2 after 10 overs. This brought opposition captain Danny Cash to the wicket. Cash looked to play positively, hitting Waddell over square leg for 4 then hitting a sharp chance straight back to the bowler who could not take the opportunity, this was however between playing and missing at a number of deliveries that just evaded the stumps and the edge of the bat. Waddell made the 3rd breakthrough in the 13th over, having danger man Williman well caught by the diving Bunn at square leg for 16, having beaten the edge of the bat on numerous occasions, getting the wicket with one of the poorer deliveries straying onto leg stump.
With Melton having had the better of the opening 14overs, form Bowler Harris joined the game replacing Pask and was straight into a good rhythm, he and Waddell continued to restrict scoring opportunities. With the pressure mounting on the opposition captain he was deceived by a good length delivery from Harris and was stumped for 12.
Sims replaced the tiring Waddell at the pavilion end, continuing the theme of good length bowling, showing excellent control and maintaining the pressure that the other bowlers had created. Harris then bowled Hogg with a good length delivery that the batsman should have been forward too but instead played back and missed the ball.
Mann and Jackson offered some resistance and looked to score of anything loose, Jackson making 26 before falling in a similar manner to Hogg. Rackham did not last long, holing out when he should have been playing for his team, caught in the deep by Cook off the bowling of Sims for 0. Mann then succumbed to Harris in a similar manner to his team mates, Bowled middle stump for 17.
With the light fading, rumours circulated that the umpires had suggest that only slow bowlers could bowl, and that we may only have 2 or 3 overs left to take the remaining 2 wickets.
As a dramatic finale climaxed, Harris took the 9th Garboldisham wicket of Shepard for 6. The light, remaining gloomy as it had done for the previous 6/7 overs. During the wicket break in the 34th over Waddell was informed by the standing umpire that Melton would be given 2 more overs to take the remaining wicket of the game due to the deteriorating light (even thought it had been the same for 8 overs according to many of the players and spectators).
In a tense finale, batsmen surrounded by fielders, Sims and Harris were unable to claim the last wicket in the allotted 2 overs, and in the light as it had been for approximately 20mins or so, the bails were removed and the game abandoned. The end of the game did not do justice to the bowling and fielding performance that had been witnessed by a healthy crowd.
Did Garbolidisham have a get out of jail free card? Certainly. Were Great Melton Robbed of a fine victory? Most definitely. What impact will the desicions made on this day have on the destiny of our season? We shall find out next week.
Great Melton (12pts)
M Cook Ct Hogg Bld Rackham 59, J Whiddett Ct Bld Shepard 3, J Pearse Ct Bld Hogg 11, R Wood Ct Bld Shepard 35, Pask Ct Bld Hogg 8, G Bunn Ct Bld Fuller 22, R Waddell Bld Shepard 2, O Harris St Bld Fuller 7, D Godbold Ct Jones Bld Fuller 7, R Sims Not Out 1, S Woods DNB. Extras 12 Total 168-9
Shepard 3-42 Jones 0-33 Rackham 1-42 Hogg 2-19 Fuller 3-28
Leech Ct Bunn Bld Waddell 0, Williman Ct Bunn Bld Waddell 16, Phoenix LBW Pask 6, Cash St Woods Bld Harris 12, Jackson Bld Harris 26, Hogg Bld Harris 3, Mann Bld Harris 17, Rackham Ct Cook Bld Sims 0, Shepard Ct Bunn Bld Harris 6, Fuller Not out 0, Jones not out 0. Extras 8. Total 95-9
Waddell 10-3-21-2, Pask 7-1-11-1, Harris 11-6-14-5, Sims 9-1-31-1