Beneath empty skies giving reason to believe in better days to come with every wish for a long hot summer, Narborough overcame a fierce challenge from Great Melton in this Premier Division Mid Norfolk Sunday League encounter. Both sides decided to take one step up the leagues over the winter having finished in the promotions places in League One, to take on the big guns. After meagre returns in the opening fixtures, a first win for both seemed a long time coming.
Recalling the aging de Salis to the starting line up seemed perhaps a desperate roll of the dice by Captain Bunn. Four very good LBW shouts from balls which were ramrod straight and would have been given out via DRS, set the scene for what proved another miserly spell. His lack of pace causing the Narborough batsmen problems, and induced both Crisp (9) and Hill (16) into loose shots. Bowling into the wind, the rusty Ryan Hayward found consistency a struggle, enabling Coe (69*) to lay the foundations for a lengthy stay at the crease.
S King (11) was caught by a sharp catch by Woolridge off Mike Farmer, before N King (44) matched Coe run for run as they set about rebuilding the innings. Joe Bickel got a good rhythm going with his leg spin, and despite one expensive over from Jed Ducker, Narborough were unable to fully breakaway. George Bunn finally introduced himself with a dozen overs left, and a mixture brilliant disguise and magic from the twin spinners bamboozled the middle order, allowing Narborough to post only a half decent score of 184 on a decent track with short boundaries.
The reposte called for a local hero. Matt Clarke (0) and debutant Jon ‘Ernie’ Ellse (7) were unable to set the tone at the top of the order in the face of tight, fast bowling from D King and Lovelock, and it was left to Martyn Cook (61) to do a man’s job. Slashing, swiping, bludgeoning his way to a typically quick fire half century, he needed to not only lay the platform, but build the entire innings. One march down the wicket too many led to a long walk home.
Si Woolridge (8) came and went, as did Liam Hughes (29*) with a pulled hamstring. George Bunn (49) showed no surrender, punishing anything short and off line, and with Mike Farmer (6) scampered some quick singles. Jed Ducker (2) perished in the frantic run chase, before the gallant Hughes returned to the fray to play the role of the hitter. It was to prove no rekindling of his glory days as Melton were now counting on a miracle as much as a leap of faith to overcome their hosts, and fell 8 runs short with Bunn bowled off the penultimate delivery.
This opposition ought to prove no tougher than the rest this season, and a Sunday league win should not be a long time coming.
P Crisp ct Cook b de Salis 9; M Coe 69*; C Hill ct Bickel b de Salis 16; S King ct Woolridge b Farmer 11; N King ct Clarke b Bickel 44; D King b Bickel 5; J Coe b Bunn 8; J Crisp 5* TOTAL (6 wickets) 184 (L de Salis – 10-3-21-2; R Hayward 6-1-3-0; M Farmer 7-1-25-1; J Bickel 10-1-52-2; G Ducker 1-0-17-0; G Bunn 6-0-36-1)
M Clarke ct N King b D King 0; J Ellse b Lovelock 7; M Cook st N King b Crisp 61; S Woolridge b Williamson 8; L Hughes 29*; G Bunn b D King 49; M Farmer b D King 6; G Ducker ct N King b M Coe 2; J Bickel 0* TOTAL (7 wickets) 178 (A Loverock 10-2-26-1; D King 10-3-39-3; J Crisp 8-0-47-1; A Williamson 10-2-41-1; M Coe 2-0-16-1)