Halvergate 227/3 (23pts) beat Great Melton B 167 / 4 (6pts) by 60 runs.
Despite succumbing to their fifth league defeat on the trot, Great Melton’s B youthful side showed considerable resilience against an unbeaten Halvergate side. Midweek concerns of players arriving late enabled the hosts to be allowed to bat first in perfect conditions. It was Melton who got caught in heavy holiday traffic though, and nearly started a man short.
Craig Wilson (2/49) had J Howley caught behind in the second over, but that was Melton’s only success for the first 2/3rds of the innings, as L Hannant (88) and home captain P Kelf (100*) put on 140 for the second wicket. Both survived genuine LBW shouts, and missed catches, Hannant especially riding his luck. Debutante Lohit Kannan (0/48) bowled with immense control throughout his spell, ably supported by an eager fielding unit. He deserves further selection at this level. Kevin Ellis (1/37) had done for Hannant with his second ball, but was unable to make another break through as Halvergate compiled their highest score of the season. Even though the sun blazed down, the visitors maintained good ground fielding standards, Kai Wilkinson-Loines especially covering lots of ground in the outfield to good effect. Caitlin Ellis (0/34) also bowled tidily on debut.
A Pitchers’ left arm line into the body caused Tony Alborough (12) trouble and the erstwhile first teamer struggled to get going. With Connor Stearman (44) looking to be aggressive at the other end, Melton though were always up with the rate. Phil Bugg (42) kept things ticking along nicely, being severely brutal on anything pitched vaguely short or leg side. With the score at 104 /1 off 23, the home side had gone quiet in the field. All their initial chirping and sledging long since replaced with long faces and slumped shoulders. The game was well and truly in the balance.
T Daynes (3/20) changed it all with the first ball of his second over, as a momentary loss of concentration saw Connor bowled. The whoops of delight and celebrations which followed clearly demonstrated how concerned Halvergate had become. Three balls later, Phil could only fend to short mid wicket as the ball rose into him, and the impetus had switched. Kai (9) demonstrated more than enough style and composure in his brief spell at the crease to show that he too is more than comfortable batting at this level, one sumptuous cover drive claiming the champagne moment.
As the sun set over the bowlers arm, making seeing the ball difficult, Steve Clarke (22*) and Lohit (12*) then saw out the remaining overs in a 46run partnership, to take Melton once again past 160 and deny the home side any more bowling points.
Whilst doubts remain over the validity of Halvergate’s insistence of either a late start or needing to bat first, Melton proved themselves both stubborn and capable at this level. Fielding the youngsters need not be seen as a gamble, and could prove the step in the right direction for next season and beyond.