GREAT MELTON C (25 points) beat OVERSTRAND (6 points) by 47 runs at Town Close in the Norfolk League Division 3 relying on a well-balanced mix of youth and experience to overcome seasoned opponents. Due to heavy rain and there still being no covers at Town Close the strip was very wet and the game looked unlikely to go ahead. However, both captains were keen to play so the decision to play was held over until 14:00. In bright sunshine and with no further signs of rain the captains decided to play a reduced 36 over game with winning the toss being particularly important on a drying, spongy pitch. Yet again Simon Carding lost the toss and Melton were unsurprisingly asked to bat. David Bunn and Connor Stearman opened the batting with some trepidation expecting the ball to deviate and swing with abandon. However, both openers dealt very well with the opening bowlers and in particular the probing accuracy and away swing of L. West. Overstrand started the game with ten players but were soon effectively down to nine as M. Jackson pulled up sharply with a painful groin strain after fielding a routine ball in the covers. With the scoring rate reaching four an over the pressure was now on the fielding team to make a breakthrough. David offered a hard chance to mid off from a full blooded drive but this wasn’t taken and they were to pay for it as David began to find the middle of the bat and gaps in the field with increasing ease. The breakthrough finally came at 46 runs when Connor missed time a pull shot and was caught at midwicket. Rob Smith came in at three and looked comfortable until he strayed from his crease once too often and was stumped very smartly by the Overstrand captain-wicketkeeper, D. Jackson. Steve Clarke came to the wicket and to both his and our surprise got off the mark with a boundary after facing less than a dozen balls! Steve unfortunately didn’t hang around too long and was out caught and bowled by R. West. Aimee Palmer came in at four and immediately took on the bowling hitting them to all corners of the ground. Having played in only four senior games Aimee looks completely at home in adult cricket and has both surprised and gained the respect of all of Meltons’ opponents to date. Having passed thirty runs for the first time as a C team player she succumbed to one too many aggressive shots and was out caught off the bowling of young Zelos who finally got his reward and a wicket for a fine spell of bowling. David by this time was starting to harshly punish any loose deliveries which were by now coming with increasing regularity as the Overstrand fielders started to fade in the heat and humidity, putting down a further two sharp chances. The Chairman for once failed to make an impact and departed for only three runs top-edging a looping ball from R West to the wicketkeeper in front of the wicket. Sam Carding came and went in the blink of an eye without troubling the scorers. David who by now had surpassed 80 runs saw out the innings with Emil Reay who hit a bright and breezy seven runs not out as Melton reached a total of 180-6 off the 36 overs – a formidable target and the highest batting total to date for the C team.
Taking the field in bright sunshine and high humidity Melton were quickly into their stride with a wicket in the captains first over, with the unfortunate Day playing on to a full length off-cutter that spat and turned into him at the crease. Marcus Mawby opening the bowling from the Pavilion end was unable to find his rhythm and the accurate line and length bowling that has been his trademark this season. Marcus’s concentration and self-confidence wasn’t helped by the umpire no balling his first delivery for failing to inform him of his action and some junior bowlers including Sam Carding and Aimee Parker were affected by what they thought was quite a harsh interpretation of the ‘wide ball’ law. Rob Smith did however account for the remaining opening batsman with a brilliant pick up, throw and direct hit with the J. Wilkins well short of his ground. Despite these early inroads and a further wicket for Connor Stearman after a smart catch at mid off by Rob Smith to dispose of R. Bidle further wickets were hard to come by with L. West and D. Jackson starting to plunder runs across the field off the Melton junior bowlers. With the Overstrand score seriously beginning to threaten the Melton target, the skipper turned to his seasoned pros’ Grenville, The Silver Fox, Ireland and David, Two Jumpers, Bunn to quell the flow of runs and get the much needed break through. It wasn’t too long in coming. After a spell of tight and accurate bowling the Overstrand skipper took one chance too many trying to sweep the ball to midwicket and was adjudged LBW to The Silver Fox. This was the key wicket, as others then started to fall with some regularity. Sam Carding took a fine diving catch at cover off Two Jumpers bowling to dispose of R. West and with the skipper returning to the attack to dismiss the increasingly threatening L. West and then young Zelos, the end of the Overstrand innings was finally in sight. The Silver Fox polished off a fine display of accurate seam bowling to dismiss the injured M Jackson thanks to another fine catch by Rob Smith at cow corner. The skipper and The Silver Fox in sharing six wickets between them clearly showed the value of using experience with youth and the juniors who for once misfired in the bowling department but excelled in the field: Another example of the effectiveness of the team selection policy of blending youth and experience in the C team, which so far is managing to hold its own in Division 3 of the NCL.
C. Stearman c.Skiggs b.Robinson 8, D. Bunn not out 88, R. Smith s.Jackson b.Robinson 4, S. Clarke cB.West b.R.West 5, A. Palmer c.Day b.Zelos 33, SJ Carding c.Jackson b.R.West 0, E. Reay not out 7, Extras 32, TOTAL 180-6. (J. Zelios 9-1-53-1, L. West 9-1-20-0, K. Robinson 9-0-45-2, R. West 9-0-57-3)
N. Day b.SR Carding 5, J. Wilkins run out (R Smith) 14, R. Biddle c.R Smith b.C Stearman 10, L. West c.SJ Carding b.SR Carding 35, D. Jackson lbw b.G Ireland 36, R. West c.SJ Carding b.D Bunn 2, P. Skiggs b.G Ireland 2, J. Zelos b.SR Carding 0, K. Robinson not out 0, M. Jackson c.R. Smith b. G Ireland 1 Extras 24, TOTAL 133-10 (M Mawby 4-0-22-0, SR Carding 8-3-15-3, SJ Carding 5-0-22-0, C Stearman 3-0-18-1, A. Palmer 2-0-17-0, G. Ireland 7.2-1-17-3, D. Bunn 4-0-17-1)