It was perhaps inevitable that the 2012 league season would end as it started – wet – but with rain not arriving until late on Saturday the game was well advanced and Melton looked strong favourites to win needing just 11 runs to pass Tas’ total of 150, with 3 wickets and 18 overs remaining.
Melton won the toss and elected to bowl first on what looked like a good surface that belied recent wet weather. Darshan Rai, who had returned from India the day before and was more than a little jet lagged, shared the new ball with Nick Gristwood but against the opening pair of Matthews and Shelley who were aggressive from the off, runs flowed with some ease. Gristwood made the breakthrough when he removed Matthews (22) thanks a tumbling catch by Marcus Godbold at cover. Burrett joined Shelly at the crease and they built a partnership of 50 in 10 overs before Shelley (25) became the first of 4 wickets for Daryl Godbold when he mis-timed a pull and was caught by Jason Whiddett at mid-wicket. All of the Tas batsman seemed intent on playing their shots, which whilst it kept the run rate healthy it brought risks so Melton were always very much in the game. David Coyle continued with the expansive trend, crashing a six and 2 fours in a brief stay at the crease, but Melton did not help their cause dropping both him and Burrett, which could have proved very expensive. Straight after the drinks break however, Coyle (25) hit one straight up in the air and Godbold took the catch off his own bowling and then when Burrett (20) fell in the same vain as Shelley earlier, Tas were 132 for 4 which worsened when Fahy (8) was adjudged lbw to Mark Scott and Curtis (18) was caught on the boundary by Dave Allum. Darshan Rai returned to dismiss both Hipperson (5) and Steward (5) and when Scott removed both Emeny and Bellchamber both for 0, the Tas innings folded to 150 all out. Daryl Godbold was the pick of the bowlers taking 4 for 42, but there were 3 wickets for Mark Scott and 2 for Darshan Rai.
Melton had 60 overs to reach the total and tea was taken after 15 overs of their reply, with them handily placed at 44 for 1; Martyn Cook the man out for 21. There followed a collapse though as Whiddett, Marcus Godbold and Dave Allum were all dismissed in quick succession as Melton slipped to 66 for 4. Matt Clarke stood firm against disciplined bowling from, in particular, Coyle and both he and Shipley (10), playing just his third game of the season looked comfortable until the latter miscued a drive and was caught. Scott (14) and Clarke pushed Melton ever closer to the total and when Scott took 11 from a Bellchamber over, the visitors started to look back in control. His dismissal to Coyle however was followed by Daryl Godbold’s run out for 6, so the momentum swung back to Tas. Nick Gristwood joined Clarke and hit some sweet drives moving quickly to 20 and with Clarke upping the pace too, Melton were just 11 runs short of victory before a storm blew over to end play and with it their chances of ending the season with an outright victory, which they surely would have achieved given the amount of time left in the game and 3 wickets in hand.
Despite a poor start to the season, Melton finish their campaign with 189 points, which places them 4th although with Fakenham “A” just a point behind and a game in hand, the strong likelihood is a 5th place finish but on the back of 2 previous promotions it represents a fine consolidating effort.
Hethersett & Tas Valley
R Matthews ct M Godbold b Gristwood 22, T Shelley ct Whiddett b D Godbold 25, N Burrett ct Whiddett b Godbold 20, D Coyle ct & B Godbold 25, D Fahy lbw b Scott 8, J Curtis ct Allum b Godbold 18, J Hipperson ct Clarke b Rai5, M Steward b Rai 5, J Emeny lbw b Scott 0, D Bellchamber lbw b Scott 0, P Walmsley not out 0. Extras 22. Total 150 for 10. ( N Gristwood 6-1-29-1, D Rai 7.3-0-28-2, M Scott 9-1-44-3, D Godbold 7-1-42-4)
J Whiddett, M Cook ct Fahy b Coyle 21, M Godbold ct Shelley b Emeny 3, D Allum lbw b Emeny 0, J Shipley ct Emeny b Bellchamber 10, M Clarke not out 33, M Scott ct Steward b Coyle 14, D Godbold run out 6, N Gristwood not out 20. Extras 18. Total 140 for 7 (rain stopped play). (J Curtis 5-0-27-0, P Walmsley 5-3-5-0, J Emeny 8-0-32-3, D Coyle 16-5-42-2, D Bellchamber 9-2-29-1, M Steward .2-0-2-0)