Great Melton B (6 points) lost to Drayton (22 points) by 4 wickets at Town Close in the Norfolk League Division 2 East
Despite a gallant effort from the bowlers, Great Melton B’s total of 129-6 proved to not be enough as a strong Drayton side – surely contenders for one of Division 2E’s promotion spots – won with 4 overs and 4 wickets to spare. Defending such a small total was never going to be easy even allowing for the slowness of the wicket and the outfield but Kyle Mason and Hadi Kashif in particular ensured Drayton had to work really hard for their runs. Mason’s 9-over opening spell, his best in a Melton shirt, yielded figures of 9-2-20-2 while Kashif, who has returned to the club a much-improved cricketer after a couple of seasons at Swardeston, took 3-26 from his 7 overs. Backed up well by Chris Wright (6.2-1-21-1) and Craig Wilson (5-1-13-0) Melton’s seam bowlers ensured to result was always in the balance but useful contributions from Philip Wright (29) and Keith Hunt (24) kept the Drayton score ticking along. When Kashif bowled the dangerous Michael Mario-Ghae for 17 to leave the visitors at 90-5 with 10 overs left, Melton were still very much in with a chance but Robert Raven (19 not out) took 16 runs off Fawad Kaiser’s last 2 overs and he and Drayton skipper, James Kay, saw Drayton over the line.
Earlier stand-in skipper, Steve Phoenix, had lost the toss and been invited to bat with the teams agreeing on a 40-overs-per-side match because of the forecast of rain later in the day. The wicket at Town Close looked in excellent condition, despite the wet April weather and so it was to prove but Phoenix’s assertion that his side needed to post 140 to give themselves a chance certainly proved to be correct. Steve Clarke (22) and Mally Howard (26) gave Melton a solid start with partnership of 50 in 18 overs but, despite the best efforts of Matt Rushton (12), Fawad Kaiser (26) and Phoenix (18) the score never got much above 3 an over. The later batsmen just couldn’t find the boundary enough as that early-season lack of timing allowed the bowlers to dominate. Kumar (9-2-24-0), Pointer (9-1-32-1), Carpenter (8-1-28-0), Mario (9-1-16-2) and Thomas (5-1-24-1) all kept things relatively tight and Kyle Weston and Josh Wright were unfortunately run out for nought in the final over as Melton finished on 129-6 – 15-20 runs short.
Mason struck with the fourth ball of Melton’s reply, removing Hawes for a duck and he and Wright’s tight opening spell was just what Melton needed. Wilson kept up the good work and, after a 30-minute rain break, Kashif’s 3 wickets kept the result in the balance for a time.
Although an opening-day victory eluded them, a weakened Melton B can take heart from a good performance in a competitive but very enjoyable and sporting encounter. Both teams earned 10/10 for ‘Spirit of Cricket’ and there were some very good performances, especially from some of Melton’s young players. Apart from Mason, Kashif and Wilson, Kyle Weston and Josh Wright were both outstanding in the field so, considering the first-weekend-of-the-season/Bank holiday player availability problems it was a good day all round.
Great Melton B
Steven Clarke† b Michael Mario-Ghae 22, Malcolm Howard b Michael Mario-Ghae 26, Matthew Rushton ct Unsure b Linto Thomas 12, Fawad Kaiser not out 26, Steve Phoenix* run out (Rob Raven) 18, Kyle Weston ct Linto Thomas b Ryan Pointer, Josh Wright run out (Rob Raven) 0, Extras b (4), lb (1), w (20) 25. Total 129-6 (Rohan Kumar 9-2o-24-0, Ryan Pointer 9-1-32-1, Roger Carpenter 8-1-28-0, Michael Mario-Ghae 9-1-16-2, Linto Thomas 5-1-24-1)
Andy Hawes b Kyle Mason 0, Philip Wright ct Matthew Rushton b Hadi Kashif 29, Rohan Kumar b Kyle Mason 9, Keith Hunt ct Steven Clarke b Hadi Kashif 24, Michael Mario-Ghae b Hadi Kashif 17, Rob Raven not out 19, Roger Carpenter ct Josh Wright b Chris Wright 6, James Kay* not out 12, Extras b (3), lb (4), w (10) 17 Total 133-6. (Kyle Mason 9-2-20-2, Chris Wright 6.2-1-21-1, Craig Wilson 5-1-13-0, Fawad Kaiser 8-0-43-0, Hadi Kashif 7-2-26-3)