It was a great effort all round, particularly from the captains, as Great Melton overcame a severe player shortage to field 4 teams for the season’s opening league matches. With unprecedented unavailability Olly Harris faced Norwich with a first team that included A Team skipper Lee Whiddett and many of last year’s 2nd team squad. That meant a virtual B Team took the A Team fixture at Hardingham while Simon Carding’s usual C Team played as a B Team against Bystanders in Norfolk League Division 2. The actual C team that played Rackheath was cobbled together from whoever else was available. Mally Howard captained a side that was made up of stalwarts, Chris Brook, Duncan Greenslade and Graeme Button alongside several younger juniors that included 3 girls, Hannah Brook, Becky Greenslade and Holly Marchant.
It meant the club did not have to call off any games resulting in disappointment for opponents and deduction of points – anything else was a bonus!
The bonus came with the B Team beating Bystanders at Town Close by 70 runs. Put into bat by the visitors, Melton lost Fergus Hughes early on for 2 but Steve Clarke (30) and Grenville Ireland (12) took the score to 46 before Ireland became the first of Steve Andrew’s 5 wickets. That brought Fawad Kaiser to the crease and, after a slow start, he began to find the boundary with a series of powerful drives. Clarke, Aimee Palmer (13), James Robb (5) and Steve Phoenix (6) came and went but Fawad took the score past 3 figures. Andrews seemed to cause problems for all the Melton batsmen with his slower-than-expected pace and loop bringing him 5-26 from his 12 overs including the wicket of Fawad for 45. Young Tom Moye (19) and skipper Carding (14) batted well at the end and but the Wilson brothers’ last ditch efforts just failed to bring Melton a 4th batting point, the innings ending on 157-9, a competitive total on a slow pitch.
Robb and Stuart Wilson then ensured the visitors would be hard pressed to get anywhere near the Melton total with an excellent opening spell. Robb bowled with good pace and took 2-8 in 7 overs while Wilson’s excellent line and length brought him 2-12 from 8. Sunil, with 28, and Kartic, with 25, briefly threatened but Carding’s 2-19 ended any middle-order resistance leaving 14-year-olds Moye (1-21) and Craig Wilson (2-4) to mop up the tail as Bystanders – who were in Division 1 last season – were dismissed for 87 in the 30th over.
The other 3 games predictably, considering Melton’s plight and the strength of the opposition, resulted in defeats. The First Team made 143 all out against Norwich A and it was never likely to be enough at Melton Park as the visitors reached their total for the loss of just 2 wickets.
The A Team, at Hardingham, struggled to 109-9 and Hardingham won by 9 wickets while the C Team were bowled out for just 57 by Rackheath who reached their total in less than 7 overs without losing a wicket. Apologies to Rackheath who were understanding of the club’s position and played the game in the right spirit despite its non-competitive nature. Melton gained just 1 point – much better than a 24 point deduction!
Many thanks to all the players – young and old – who helped out on Saturday. Hopefully availability will be better next week although games will undoubtedly be affected by Norwich City’s play-off semi-finals against Ipswich.
B Team card:
Great Melton B
S.Clarke c.Dean b.Sharma 30, F.Hughes b.Sharma 2, G.Ireland c.Borade b.Andrews 12, F.Kaiser b.Andrews 45, A.Palmer c.Spaxman b.Andrews 13, J.Robb c.Sunil b.Andrews 5, S.Phoenix b.Andrews 6, T.Moye c.Kartick b.Borade 19, S.Carding Run Out 14, C.Wilson Not Out 1, S.Wilson Not Out 1, Extras 9. TOTAL (9 wickets) 157 (A.Sharma 12-4-40-2; J.Spaxman 6-2-16-0; Kartick 9-1-37-0; S.Andrews 12-3-26-5; Sunil 4-1-17-0; N.Borade 2-0-11-1)
Dhanasaka b.Robb 0, A.Sharma b.Robb 8, O.Shariq lbw S.Wilson 1, R.DeSilva b.S.Wilson 1, Sunil c.Phoenix b.Carding 28, W.Dean b.Carding 5, Kartick c.Hughes b.C.Wilson 25, N.Borade b.Moye 8, J.Spaxman Not Out 1, S.Andrews lbw C.Wilson 1, Extras 9. TOTAL 87 (J.Robb 7-3-8-2; S.Wilson 8-3-12-2; A.Palmer 1-0-18-0; S.Carding 7-2-19-2; T.Moye 5-0-21-1; C.Wilson 1.1-0-4-2)