Great Melton A (21 Points) beat Winterton (5) by 6 wickets at Melton Park in Norfolk Cricket Alliance Division Four
L Chapman b Mann 6
M Bester b Mann 30
R Edmonds c Woods b Sims 52
P Tilbrook c Woods b Sims 0
F Playford Run Out (B Mann) 26
J Stanhope-Smith Run Out (Farmer) 23
G Hudson Run Out (B Mann 3)
B Utting Not Out 0
Total (7 Wickets, 46 Overs) 167
B Mann 12-4-15-2, L De Salis 12-2-37-0, M Farmer 11-1-48-0, R Sims 11-1-58-2
Great Melton A:
J Pearse c Lockhard b Tilbrook 76
M Clarke b Lockhart 4
G Ducker b Snowling 24
S Mann ct b Chapman 10
B Mann Not Out 26
P Stearman Not Out 5
Total (4 Wickets, 35 Overs) 171
C Lockhart 8-1-25-1, G Hudson 9-1-37-0, B Utting 4-0-19-0, D Snowling 6-1-35-1, P Tilbrook 6-0-34-1, L Chapman 2-0-13-1
Great Melton A all but sealed promotion to Division Three as a fine all-round bowling display, including superb figures of 12-4-15-2 from Ben Mann restricted Winterton to 167 before Jack Pearse smashed an imperious 76 .
Lee Whiddett’s side featured several changes from last week’s win at Sheringham as Nick Mackenzie’s 7 wicket haul saw him rewarded with a first team place. Promising keeper batsman Joey Greenslade also replaced Matt Clarke in Richard Waddell’s side, and Joe Heather also returned to first team duty, with Rob Sims, Ben Mann and Pearse, who has been short of runs at first team level, moving in the opposite direction to give an indication of the strength in depth that the Club now possesses.
Whiddett won the toss and inserted the visitors, themselves on an impressive run, but the confident home side immediately applied pressure with Ben Mann and player-of-the-season elect Leo De Salis conceding just 1 run in 3 overs. The breakthrough came in the 5th over when Chapman was bowled by Mann.
Remarkably, a further breakthrough did not come until the 27th over as M Bester and Ryan Edmonds looked to build steadily for the visitors. But Melton simply sat in and applied enormous pressure as Bester found the only way to score was via the risky aerial route, and Edmonds scored just 1 run from his first 35 balls. With Mann’s first spell of 6 overs going for just 2 runs, and then Michael Farmer’s 7 overs conceding only 15, the score stuttered from 13-1 from 9 overs to just 54-1 at 23 overs.
It was the returning Mann who finally broke the partnership when Bester was bowled through the gate, and then Rob Sims began to twirl away and was rewarded when Simon Woods took a fantastic catch to cling onto a thick edge from Tilbrook (0), and at 70-3 from 30 overs Winterton really looked some way behind the game.
The visitors middle order did attempt to inject some momentum as Fred Playford and then Jonno Stanhope-Smith both made breezy 20’s. Sims took some punishment though it was not entirely of his own making as Pearse dropped a simple catch at deep mid-wicket and then saw two balls sail past him moments later. Edmonds still could not find any timing but did manage to find some scoring shots as he passed his 50 having batted for around 40 overs. Still, however, Winterton could not get away from the home side and though they did make 80 runs in the last 11 overs to finish on 167-7, that score still looked well below par.
So it proved, as whilst after a solid start Matt Clarke went cheaply, bowled by Charles Lockhart with Melton 20-1 from 7 overs, Jack Pearse and George Ducker added 83 runs for the second wicket. Pearse has had his struggles this season with only one half-century to his name, but he doubled that statistic as, after a circumspect start he unfurled the powerful drives that are the trademark of the former Swardeston first team man. Ducker looked less secure but improved as his innings progressed and with Pearse now in full flow the score rattled along to 68-1 from 18 overs, and then 101 from 26 when visiting skipper Danny Snowling finally removed Ducker for 24.
By now it was the Pearse show as the rangy opener struck 14 boundaries, finalling holing out for 76 with the score on 135. Sam Mann (10) soon after departed, but his brother Ben, looking to find some late season touch with the bat, hammered a quickfire 26 not out as, along with Paul Stearman, the Winterton total was overhauled with 6 wickets and 11 overs to spare.
The victory gives Melton a 35 point advantage over Winterton with two games remaining, which looks insurmountable. However, Brooke A look favourites to take the title with victory over Rocklands giving them a 31 point lead at the top, albeit with Melton having an extra game to play. Brooke will, however, know that 20pts in their last game at Mundford next week will hand them the Division Four crown, though both sides will almost certainly be meeting again next year, in Division Three.