Seniors: Weekend Round-Up (Saturday/Sunday 28th & 29th July)
Could a great escape be on the cards for Great Melton First Team? Bottom of the 2nd Division of the Norfolk Alliance all season and looking certainties for relegation Melton finally recorded their first victory – at Martham – last week but, like proverbial busses, you wait ages for one, then another comes along! Saturday’s second win, against third-placed Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers, suggests Melton can still avoid the inevitable but it’s a tall order as their main relegation rivals keep winning. Seamers Luke Marchant and Darshan Rai did the damage on Saturday. Marchant took 3-44 and Rai 3-16 in their 9 overs as Wanderers made 169-8 with the other wickets falling to spinners Aaron Garner (9-3-15-1) and Joe Bickel (7-2-24-1) who also played a major role in restricting the visitors for whom Bernie Everett made 35 and Devon Brannigan 37 not out. Ben Mann, promoted to opener, then scored 57 as he and Lohit Kannan (14) got Melton’s reply off to a good start with a fifty partnership before Richard Wood (32 not out), Matt Clarke (39) and Sam Mann (14) saw them to victory in the 42nd over.
The A Team posted 219-5 at Mundford with the Whiddett brothers, Jason (62) and Lee (24) adding 74 for the first wicket before Tim Hales scored 58 and Josh Wright 45 – his highest senior score. Michael Rickard (26) and Kyle Croucamp (19) started quite well for Mundford but, once Kyle Mason had removed Croucamp the Mundford resistance crumbled against the bowling of Tom Grant and Rob Sims. Grant, now back in Norfolk after a year in Hertfordshire, bowled a superb spell of 9-1-15-4 and, with the wily Rob Sims (9-3-39-4) proving no less effective at the other end, the home side were 115 all out in the 32nd over, Tom Moye taking the final wicket of Dan Grapes for a defiant 23. The win keeps the As in the promotion race behind runaway leaders Cromer A and 2nd placed Denver.
The Bs had several players unavailable for their trip to Gooderstone but were delighted to welcome back Aslam Mohammed who has returned to Melton after half a season with St Andrews. He top-scored with an explosive 69, including 10 fours and 3 sixes then took 5-23 but still finished on the losing side! Peter Graves (12) and Ryan Hayward (11) apart, no other Melton player was able to make double figures as Matt Rushton’s side were bowled out for just 112 in the 32nd over and, despite Aslam’s 9.1-4-23-5 and a decent spell of 10-1-41-1 from Caitlin Ellis, Melton’s total just wasn’t enough. Melton were in with a shout with Stephen Carter (25) back in the pavilion and Gooderstone struggling at 45-6 but Tony Wright (28 not out) and Matt Ward (23 not out) knocked off the 69 runs needed for victory with no further losses.
Duncan Greenslade captained the Cs to victory over Diss, contributing 37 but it was a day to remember for young wicket-keeper Ollie Leinster who fell just two runs short of his first-ever fifty. His 48 together with 37 from Clive Rennie, 21 from Jonathan Ellse and 21 also from Kyle Weston enabled Melton to post 184. Diss then tumbled to 37-7 as Gary Coulson (10-4-9-3), Ben Johnson (10-3-24-2), Weston (6-1-17-0) and Alice Greenslade (5-1-5-1) kept a stranglehold on the visitors. Colin Atkinson (28) and Jack Hammond (26 not out) showed some spirited resistance with an eighth wicket partnership of 65 before Diss were eventually bowled out for 104 with the final ball of the day.
Benn Mann continued his good form with the bat scoring 77 for the Sunday side against Swardeston and, with Connor Stearman (32), Matt Clarke (35) and Jon Moxon (46) all making telling contributions, a score of 240-8 looked challenging. Swardeston, however, made short work of it, winning with 7 wickets and nearly 5 overs to spare. Lewis Gooderham made an unbeaten 82, Ben Chapman 70 and Will Kidner 57 with Aslam Mohammed, Cassie Mawby and George Bunn the Melton wicket-takers.