The last day of the season was a fitting time for the battle of the titans in the South Norfolk Community League between the two unbeaten sides, Great Melton and Rocklands and, after an excellent game of cricket, it was all-conquering Melton that came out on top, winning by 13 runs to make it a hat-trick of South Norfolk League titles for Melton’s juniors.
It didn’t start well when Oli Leinster lost the toss and was asked to bat and things got even worse when Jack Gorman (0) and Josh Wright (1) were dismissed inside the first 3 overs by Rocklands’ opening pair Daisy Peake and Andrew Thresh. At 6-2, with two of the ‘bigger hitters’ gone, it needed other players to take responsibility. Melton’s teamwork has been tested numerous times this season and never found wanting and, on this occasion Melton’s saviours came in the shape of Charlie Green and Oli Leinster. Deciding to block the straight deliveries, push singles and hope for the occasional boundary , the pair batted very well for 10 overs, adding 69 valuable runs. When Melton’s skipper was out in the 13th over for an impressive 17, the score had moved to something approaching ‘defendable’. James Bridges (0) came and went before Green was eventually bowled by Peake for an really excellent 32 leaving Mark Attfield (3 not out) and Ben Johnson (1 not out) to scramble a few late runs. Rocklands’ bowling and fielding was really good with Daisy Peake (3-1-6-3), Andrew Thresh (3-1-5-1) and Luke Webster (2-0-6-0) extremely economical but, after the start they had, Melton’s 87-4 represented a good recovery.
Melton knew they had to bowl and field well and really earn the title against a good Rocklands’ side but Thresh and James Atkin got them off to a good start against Bridges and Green with 23 off the first 4 overs. Excellent spells of bowling in the middle part of the innings by, first Wright (3-1-7-0) and Attfield (3-0-9-0), then by Johnson (2-0-9-0) slowed then down and, when Leinster (1-0-5-1) broke the partnership by having Atkin well caught by Bridges at mid-on for 6, Rocklands were on 41 and the run-rate had crept up to nearly 7 an over. James Ketteridge (1-0-3-1) then bowled another very good over and took a diving return catch to dismiss Webster (5). The final 2 overs came with the home side still needing 27 to win and, with the field spread and Green and Bridges to bowl, it was too much. Thresh was brilliantly caught by wicket-keeper Jack Gorman off Bridges for 22 and, although Peake tried hard and remained unbeaten on 10, Melton won by 13 runs. Green (3-0-11-0) and Bridges (3-0-14-1), like the other Melton bowlers, returned tidy figures and Melton celebrated a notable ‘double’.
With the Terry Moore Trophy and the South Norfolk Community League Cup in the trophy cabinet and a record of Played 24, Won 22 Lost 1, Abandoned 1, it represents an absolutely brilliant season. The team’s only defeat came in the final of the Gresham’s Tournament when Melton lost to a Taverham Hall team that included Oli Leinster and Saxon Earley! The fact that they were able to defeat previously unbeaten Rocklands without Lohit Kannan, Saxon Earley, Sam Johnson or Beth Harmer, shows the strength-in-depth of the U11s squad. Well done to everyone who has represented the U11s this season. It’s been a great team effort!
And a big thank-you to Clive Gristwood (Manager, Assistant Coach and Scorer) and all the parents for your valuable support.