The second half of the season officially began last Saturday and Great Melton First Team are still looking for their first win. The local derby with Hethersett & Tas Valley continued in much the same way as the rest of Melton’s season with the batsmen again failing to make an impact. Richard Waddell’s decision to bat first after winning the toss looked a good one on a hot afternoon, with the Melton Park wicket hard and true and a lightning fast outfield but only Aaron Garner, with 55, and Joe Bickel, with 34, showed any real resistance. Melton’s brittle top order was swept away by Hethersett & Tas Valley’s Indika Nanayakkara who took 4-23 as Melton were dismissed for just 155. Luke Marchant’s 4-19 ensured the visitors wouldn’t have things all their own way but Tas skipper Ian Bryce hit 58 to see the visitors to victory by 4 wickets.
There were no batting problems for the A Team, however, as they scored 245-9 at Horsford with no-one getting a fifty but Tim Hales (24), Woody Loines (38), Martin Bunn (46), James Robb (33) and Matt Henderson (35) all making good contributions. The Horsford scorecard had a similar look about it as Ben Collinson (43), Chris Browne (35), Sam Lincoln (24), Ethan Metcalf (24) and Adrian Gilbert (22 not out) all got ‘starts’ but an excellent spell of 9-3-18-3 from Chris Wright, 2 wickets for Henderson and one each for Kyle Mason, Josh Wright and James Robb ensured Horsford finished on 224-8, 21 runs short. The win keeps Melton in 3rd place in Alliance Division 5.
Melton’s other two Saturday sides just fell short after very close games against Great Ellingham and Bystanders A respectively. The Bs lost by just one run to give bottom-of-the-table Ellingham their first win of the season. Despite 42 from John Mills, Ellingham were struggling a bit on 157-8 but a late partnership between Robert George (54) and Richard Smith (18) took the home side to a challenging 205 all out. Youngsters Saxon Earley (3-16) and Caitlin Ellis (2-56) were again among the wickets with the others going to Matt Rushton (2-33) and Kevin Ellis (2-45) but Kyle Weston, with figures of 10-2-25-0, was Melton’s most impressive bowler. Lee Whiddett (24), Phil Bugg (33), Nick Gristwood (30) and Matt Rushton (19) all got in, then got out to leave Melton on 162-8 before a 9th wicket stand between Weston and 12-year-old wicketkeeper Corey Rushton very nearly brought Melton victory. With the score on 204, Rushton was run out for 25 leaving with Melton just 2 runs short of their victory target and leaving Weston unbeaten on 25.
Dropped catches undoubtedly cost the C Team the match against Bystanders. At least 6 fairly straightforward chances were put down, allowing Bystanders Yuvarah Sukumar (37), Sam Stead (28), Darren Bunn (31) and Andy Kay (58 not out) to go on to get bigger scores than they, perhaps, should have done. Skipper Steve Phoenix’s 2-14 off 4 overs left the visitors on 147-5 but Kay made Melton pay for missed opportunities in the last few overs, hitting 4 sixes and 5 fours and taking 14 off Phoenix’s final over of the innings to enable Bystanders to post 211-5. Melton’s reply got off to a slowish start with Michael Wormstone scoring a patient 35 before being revived by young Sam Johnson who hit some excellent shots in an impressive 57, his maiden half century. Ollie Leinster (11) and Clive Rennie (14 not out) tried hard to maintain a run rate of 9 an over off the last 5 but it was just too much for Melton who lost by 15 runs, finishing on 196-9. It was good to see Melton’s President, Nick Evans-Lombe, playing his first game for the club.
Ben Mann scored 75, George Bunn 58 and Connor Stearman 26 as the Sunday ‘Funday’ side made 207 against Barney & Fulmodeston then, despite Jacob Seed’s 82, Melton dismissed the home side for 192 to win by 15 runs. Skipper James Robb took 4-31, Kyle Mason 2-25, Kyle Weston 2-17 and Bunn 2-34.