Great Melton A (7 points) drew with Stow A (17 points) at Melton Park in the Norfolk Alliance Division 4
A benign straw-coloured track produced nearly 500 runs as Melton Park was bathed in glorious midsummer sun shine. The spectators sipped their collective beverages, and the swallows swooped, as the groundsman looked on with a contented smile, sitting back chatting and listening to the sound of leather on willow.
Will Denny made his second trip to Melton in 2 weeks, having swapped places with the in-form Mike Broad, and was licking his lips after the coin fell and heard that he was being asked to make first use of the perfect batting surface. Such is the balance of the league ruling, and Melton’s recent record chasing, that the home skipper has no qualms in inviting the visitors to bat.
5 wides off the first ball, however, set the early tone, and suggested a long hot day for the hosts.
Denny’s unbeaten innings of 165 included 26 boundaries, and one maximum, as he found the gaps in the field, and exploited the quick outfield. It could all have been so different though as the ever reliable de Salis found his outside edge first ball and a tough chance went begging low to the keeper’s right hand. T Marshall was also given a life, Nick Gristwood seeing another edge fly past the keeper’s despairing grab for 4 more.
Left handed Marshall survived a very good lbw shout before becoming de Salis’ obligatory victim, top edging a sweep to Mike Farmer at short fine leg. The wily seamer uncharacteristically conceded 10 boundaries in his 9 over spell, as was glad to be asked to step aside for a young protégé.
Chris Greenslade struck twice in 2 balls, to give the home side some hope at 154 for 3 in the 28th over, but with Mike Farmer and the returning Nick Gristwood unable to stem the flow, the skipper turned to Alex Rennie, and the young spinner bowled impressively, and to glowing post match comments, though he too found the fielding wilting, and the batting flourishing.
Melton needed a big innings from one of their big game players. 35 extras (22wides) did not help the home cause, nor did some, at times, poor ground fielding, leaving the hosts a formidable target to chase, and the visitors wondering whether they should have declared to give themselves more opportunity to force a win.
George Ducker snicked his first ball for 0, and Martin Bunn looped a simple catch for 10, and at 15 for 2 in the 3rd over the chase seemed almost doomed from inception. Chris Greenslade and Sam Mann set about restoring the damage, patiently and watchfully constructing their combined innings, and a partnership of 90 in 20 overs ensued before the teenager clipped up a simple catch for 24. At 118 for 3 at drinks, with 136 needed for a 90% draw and bonus points, with a run rate of less than 6 an over, prospects appeared good.
The chase stalled and stuttered however as J Ring, also released from Stow’s first team, slowly strangled the middle order which contributed just 27 between them, leaving Sam to notch his 2nd Melton ton, and the game to end in a tame draw. It was a chanceless knock, with 20 boundaries from 51 scoring shots, full of sumptuous cover drives and wristy on drives, and drew plaudits from the on looking crowd.
Great Melton remain second in the table, 4 points ahead of their west county rivals, and 15 points behind Brooke, with a game in hand, at Rocklands next Saturday.
T Marshall – ct Farmer b de Salis 32; W Denny not out 165; W Bowman ct S Mann b Greenslade 13; J Sargent b Greenslade 0; M Blowers not out 37. Extras 35- 282/ 3 (N Gristwood – 9 – 0 – 50 – 0; L de Salis – 9 – 1 – 43 – 1; M Farmer- 10 – 0 – 78 – 0; C Greenslade – 7 – 1 – 30 – 2; A Rennie 11 – 0 – 70 – 0).
Great Melton A
M Bunn ct b Manning 10; G Ducker ct b Morgan 0; C Greenslade ct b Cooke 24; S Mann not out 119; P Stearman b Ring 0; L Whiddett lbw Ring 20; J Moxon ct b Morgan 0; N Gristwood run out 7; M Farmer not out 0. Extras 33. (C Manning – 6 – 0 – 73 – 1; S Morgan – 12 – 3 – 45 – 2; A Webb – 5- 1 – 26 – 0; S Cooke – 11 – 0 – 59 – 1; J Ring – 12 – 2 – 33 – 2.)