Great Melton B (26pts) beat Norwich Bystanders (2 pts) by 229 runs Dussindale in the Norfolk League Division 2E
A match of three 70’s and two retirements brought about an expected victory for the visitors, in a highly dominant display.
Good club availability, with students back and families yet to go away on holidays, meant that Beefy Alborough had an array of talent at his disposal, and on a typically hard and dry Dussindale deck had no hesitation in electing to bat.
Steve Clarke was to regret a morning of just one cup of tea, as, at about 2.45, in the middle of a delivery, he tucked his bat under his right arm and trudged wearily off the wicket and back to the pavilion. He had been given one mug of drink and a few Jelly Babies to replenish his sugar intake, but, despite the assured confidence that he could have walked his way to a first century for Melton, he succumbed to his lack of energy and retired. His 75, including one gloriously arcing 6-hit straight back over the bowlers head and into the breeze, had been a knock of rapier incision, beautifully guided dabs, and ambled sprints.
His partner, Nick Gristwood, playing potentially his last game for Melton, also eyed a speculative ton. His innings included 3 maximums, launched with long flowing levers, but foundered tamely in the 70’s with a return catch to the impressive, if ultimately unsuccessful, Obaid Shariq. Nick’s Melton career has often been one of misuse, with a succession of captains seeing a fast bowler as opposed to a cultured batsman. He leaves for a new career, initially based in Rugby, with his bat grasped firmly in his right hand.
Steve’s retirement – ‘tired’ – was based on the knowledge that Melton’s middle order boasted runs aplenty on paper, and that Aslam, fresh from a brutal knock in the Wicklewood Shield Final win, was stalking the boundary ropes licking his lips. It did not take long for him to get into his stride, swinging powerfully in an arc from 3rd slip to mid on, he bludgeoned his way past 50 and was all set for a first century on English soil, when he skied a Steve Andrews’ slower ball and was caught by Obaid Shariq.
Two wickets had fallen in two balls, but with the score on 244, Melton were out of sight and over the hill as far as the hosts were concerned.
George Ducker (13), Jon Moxon (29*) and Neal Clarke (8*) made the most of their time at the crease to push the visitors to nearly 300, the final total being 297-3.
Jon Spaxman, with 0/25 off his 10 overs at the start of the afternoon, bowled a highly impressive though almost forgotten spell before the carnage that followed.
Yet there was more to come. Between a few lusty slugs with the flailing willow, Marcus Mawby (1/19) struck some painful blows himself, hitting Andrew Huggins (15) on the shoulder, and sending Peter Wright off to hospital with a suspected broken wrist during his lively spell.
Kyle Mason (4/29) carried on from where he left off in Wednesday night’s final with another hugely impressive spell, and was only denied another 5 wicket haul by the Skipper’s decision to allow Leo de Salis the chance to do something. A wicket maiden was his only contribution to the proceedings.
Navin Sharma’s first ball was an extraordinary bouncer, which looped way over the batsman head. Once he had adjusted his length, the pace and bounce he generated was too much for the ill disciplined home batting line up, who cut, carved, pulled and swiped at everything, as they tumbled like dominoes. 3/11 was a tidy return for Navin.
There were 2 catches for Steve Clarke behind the stumps, and one each for Jon Moxon – parried by Neal Clarke, Aslam, George Ducker and Nick Gristwood as Melton wrapped up a comprehensive victory in 18.2 overs, Bystanders only reaching 69 to lose by 229 runs.