Having spent the last two weeks watching and playing baseball and proving to be a useful pinch hitter, the skipper was welcomed back to cricket and the C team with a fixture against the unbeaten league leaders on their home ground on a hot and sunny day in Costessey. Having won the toss for only the second time this season the skipper invited the opposition to bat, much to the annoyance of one or two GMCC players who fancied a bit of sunbathing while watching their team mates bat. The decision looked like the right one however as the openers, Mather (10) and Secret (6), were soon back in the pavilion after some accurate and penetrating bowling by Zef Ishtiaq and the skipper. The Costessey number three and four batsmen, Silvester and Horner, found scoring runs difficult on an unpredictable pitch of variable bounce, reaching 56 for 2 after 20 overs. The introduction of Jake Mardell and Ben Carding led to important breakthroughs with Ben removing the dangerous and increasingly aggressive Silvester (22) and later, the more defensive minded Clarke (8) with Jake taking the wicket of Horner (24) who was also beginning to find the middle of the bat with some big hits. Liam Hughes was then introduced to the attack and immediately found his line and length pinning down the batsmen and eventually trapping a frustrated Blaxter (0) leg before to leave Cossy on 80 for 6 after 27 overs. Father and son Taylor then came together to rebuild the innings playing with considerable caution but hitting any loose balls over the boundary. One or two missed chances in the field would prove costly as the score moved onto 144 in the 41st over before the younger Taylor (34) was finally snapped up at fly slip by Fawad off Liam’s bowling. The elder Taylor (29) soon after holed out to long on and a rather theatrical catch by Beefy (for which he was later fined) off the bowling of Ben who was the pick of the Melton bowlers and also ran out Sickelmore (11) with a direct hit from mid off. Two additional dropped catches and some lusty blows from Ballong (8no) and Pollard (2no) allowed Costessey to reach the respectable score of 168-9.
SR Carding 10-2-31-1, Z Ishtaiq 7-1-18-1, J Mardell 8-0-24-1, B Carding 8-0-26-3, L Hughes 11-2-34-2, C White 4-0-27-0.
After a refreshing tea and in bright sunshine the Melton innings sort of started but then quickly stalled with both Beefy and Woody back in the pavilion after only 5 overs; with a very disgruntled Beefy (for which he was also later fined) disputing a “plumb” LBW decision. Woody was probably a victim of the pitch in being bowled by a ball that refused to rise above ankle height which he played over and was bowled. Steve Clarke and Fawad then began the task of rebuilding the innings playing cautiously against the opening pair of Pollard and young Taylor, but hitting anything wide or over pitched with aggression. Fawad in particular had some impressive hits dispatching one ball high over mid wicket and into the trees around the tennis courts. Having reached 58 off 20 overs Melton were still in the match. However, the loss of both Steve and Fawad in quick succession stalled the innings, with runs becoming increasingly difficult to come by and wickets falling with alarming regularity. Both Fergus Hughes (4) and Ben Carding (0) failed to resuscitate the innings with only Liam (21) being able to counter attack and test the accurate bowling of Secret and Sickelmore who had replaced the opening pair. Connor White (4) and Jake Mardell (2) came and went without making much impact on the scoreboard leaving the last pair of the skipper and Zef at the wicket with 9 overs to go. However, any thoughts of reaching a three figure score or attaining an additional batting point soon vanished as Zef was dismissed first ball by a smart catch by Taylor senior at short square leg to end the Melton innings on 97 and a loss by 71 runs; an improvement on last weekend’s game on the same ground. Overall, the C’s put in a good performance against a strong and experienced Costessey team, particularly in the field where Melton were on top or still in the game for most of the first innings. For a brief spell in the second innings when Steve and Fawad were batting it also looked to be an evenly balanced game although Costessey’s excellent bowling attack and at times very vocal but effective fielding proved just too good in the end.
D Pollard 12-5-24-3, J Taylor 12-4-34-2, A Secret 6-1-9-2, D Sickelmore 6-1-21-3.