The final game of the season against 3rd placed Hethersett and Tas Valley was played under clear blue skies at Melton Park, with the first team needing a win of 22pts to guarantee promotion ahead of closest rivals Garbolidsham who were playing at 3rd from bottom Bradenham.
At the toss, the wicket looked hard and a little green and winning the toss the home skipper didn’t hesitate in inserting the visitors – who needed to take 25pts and hope Garby slipped up to have any chance of taking the title for themselves.
Waddell and Greenslade shared the new ball with the key danger man Paul Reeve and Robbie Matthews opening the innings for the opposition. Following a quite opening exchange Matthews came out of his shell dispatching anything over pitched by Waddell to the Boundary, Reeve soon joined in again looking to throw his hands through anything full. Waddell and Greenslade failed to bowl with enough control to create much pressure on the batsmen allowing them to score freely. Matthews then fell in the 12th over for 26, caught behind by Woods to a good length delivery off the bowling of Greenslade however the score had moved onto 66-1. Ellis joined Reeve at the crease and both played positively against the opening bowlers and then the 1st change bowlers Sims and Harris, Moving the score along to 143-1after 25 overs.
The momentum of the game then shifted slightly as leading wicket taker Rob Sims struck, first removing Reeve LBW for 65 after the ball struck pad before hitting his bat and then 2 balls later have Fahy caught by Cook at mid off for 0 after inexplicably trying to launch his 2nd ball for 6.
2 overs later Melton looked on top when Sims had Ellis caught and bowled for 30 leaving Tas on 147-4, however this was Melton’s last success for 10 overs as new batsmen Wyatt and Coyle dug in and took the score to 203-4 after 36 overs at almost a run a ball. Wyatt was finally removed by the returning Greenslade for 41bowled by a Yorker, but Coyle and Curtis then managed to keep rotating the strike and putting away the bad deliveries.
3 late wickets for Michael Farmer who bowled good lines and length at the death, having Curtis caught behind for 8 by Woods, Bowling Hipperson for 10 and bowling Smith first ball for 0 didn’t stem the flow of runs with Coyle batting to the end of the innings making 75 Not Out and H&TV finishing on 291-8.
The Melton reply got off to the best possible start Melton being 9-0 from 1 legitimate delivery however the in form Martyn Cook was then bowled by Reeve for 4. Chris Greenslade came to the wicket at number 3 and played positively playing some exquisite drives, but his innings came to an abrupt end on 29 in the 9th over with Melton up at the required run rate on 55-2 from 9 overs. Unfortunately the next 3 wickets all fell in quick succession, Clarke falling LBW for 0, Bunn bowled for 0 and Waddell out LBW for 0 all to Reeve leaving Melton under pressure to save the game let alone win on 58-5 from 13 Overs.
Whiddett and Harris steadied the ship, with 292 a long way off, they played sensibly, Whiddett playing some glorious drives and trademark cut shots and Harris continuing to keep it simple and played through the ‘V’. With a draw Melton’s best chance of keeping promotion hopes alive calculators came out and it was decided 175-5 would see us home. It appeared though that H&TV were not on the same page as they continued to ring the field as oppose to setting attacking fields to take the remaining 5 wickets. Whiddett batting through with an excellent knock (75 not out) and Harris with a huge average to keep in tact (56 Not Out) took Melton to the 175 mark with the loss of 5 wickets ensuring that Melton took enough points to remain above the opposition in the league by 2 points.
This was a disappointing result for Melton having led the way for most of the season, on a day when big performances were required, not everyone fired, but looking back we have had a fine season and can be proud of what we have achieved with some outstanding individual and collective team performances.
Matthews Ct Woods Bld Greenslade 26, Reeve LBW Sims 65, Ellis Ct & Bld Sims 30, Fahy Ct Cook Bld Sims 0, Wyatt Bld Greenslade 41, Coyle Not Out 76, Curtis Ct Woods Bld Farmer 8, Hipperson Bld Farmer 10, Smith Bld Farmer 0, Hayes Not Out 2. Extras 33. Total 291-8
Waddell 0-50, Greenslade 2-65, Harris 0-38, Sims 3-69. Farmer 3-52.
Great Melton (9 Pts)
Cook Bld Reeve 4, Whiddett Not Out 75, Greenslade Ct Fahy Bld Emeny 29, Clarke LBW Reeve 0, Bunn Bld Reeve 0, Waddell LBW Reeve 0, Harris Not Out 56. Extras 14 Total 175-5
Reeve 4-54, Emeny 1-43, Coyle 0-24, Smith 0-5, Matthews 0-27, Hipperson 0-9, Wyatt 0-13.