SWAFFHAM (25 points) beat GREAT MELTON A (0 points) by 10 Wickets at Swaffham in the Norfolk Alliance Division 3.
From being the only Alliance side to remain unbeaten in 2014, Great Melton A have suffered a tough season, culminating in this heavy defeat at the hands of third placed Swaffham, and are the only side not to have registered a win this summer. Fielding 4 players who have spent most of the season in the Norfolk League, this was always likely to be a case of damage limitation for Melton.
Invited to bat first on a hard green deck was initially a surprise, with their hosts hunting a maximum points haul to keep their chances of promotion alive. When Lee Whiddett (0) was caught behind off Payne at the end of the second over, that decision was clearly justified, with the ball seaming and swinging about with pace. Damien Loines manfully attacked Puckey’s second over with a couple of boundaries, followed by George Ducker pulling Payne for a four. The aging Maurice Dye replaced Puckey, and his loop almost caught Loines out as what he thought was a full toss dipped, gripped and turned to the off side, and he was fortunate to get enough on it to turn to into a single. Ducker typically pulled for a 2 at the end of the over to keep the score board ticking. At 22 for 1 off 7 overs, it looked as if a decent platform was being established. Loines (13) then lifted a gentle forward defensive to Mills in the covers. Simon Woolridge (5), playing his first game in 4 weeks, clipped his first ball beautifully through mid wicket for the last boundary of the innings. Eleven balls and one run later he became Payne’s third victim, with the score on 29.
Two wickets fell on 31, as first Tony Alborough (2), bowled by Payne, and Ducker(9), stumped off Dye, departed the sorry scene. Left handers Dan Hayward (1) and Rob Sims (2) – playing his final Saturday league game – pushed the score to 37, and then 40 before both returned to the pavilion to allow Marcus Mawby (5), minus spikes, to have a swing with another C Team regular Leo de Salis (4). Their 7 run partnership was the second best of the innings, before both fell with 47 on the board. Stu Wilson (1*) was joined by Gary Coulson (0), but they were unable to push the total beyond the half century as the senior partner was stumped, to bring the innings to a close on 48 off 23 overs. Leg spinner Maurice Dye finished with 5 for 18, with young Payne taking 4 for 15.
A quick turn round was the order of the afternoon, giving the tea girls a chance to set out the feed. Twenty Five deliveries later, hands were shaken and the game was over!
Rob Sims opened up, and after a good looking dot ball, was clubbed back over his head on the next two for consecutive boundaries. His 6th delivery followed suit, and Swaffham were ¼ of their way to victory. Marcus also opened up with a dot ball. His second clattered into the pavilion roof, and the next two were pulled into the pavilion walls, as the hosts marched on imperiously to 29 off 2. This was feeling more like a 6 a side game than an Alliance fixture. Rob was pummelled for a further 14 off the third over, which turned out to be the retiree’s final one in a long and winding career as he concentrates on playing bass and manning the lighthouse.
Marcus kept the hosts to single figures off his second over, but with the scores level after 4 overs, Eagle was able to clip the necessary single off Stu Wilson’s only delivery, past short fine leg, for undoubtedly one of the quickest victories in Alliance history. Eagle finished unbeaten on 15, whilst Payne followed up his 4 wickets with 6 x 4’s and the 1 x 6 in his 34. On a positive note, Melton did not concede any extras.