Weekend Round-Up: 21st-22nd July

Victory at last!  Fourteen weeks into the season and that elusive first win finally arrived for Great Melton 1st Team and it was even more satisfying that it came against 2nd-placed Martham.  In a low-scoring game Richard Waddell’s strugglers successfully defended 158 to win by 20 runs with Waddell himself claiming 4-31, James Robb 3-21 and Luke Marchant 2-42 as the normally high-scoring Martham were dismissed for 138.  With his side boosted by a rare appearance by the Greenslade brothers, Chris and Joey, up from London, Waddell elected to bat first but it was a familiar story as Melton slumped to 26-2 with George Bunn (8) and Chris Greenslade (5) both out to Kieran Spencer (6-0-30-2).  Richard Wood (28) and Matt Clarke (35) then launched a recovery that took the visitors to 72 only for 4 wickets to fall for the addition of only 20 runs as Melton plummeted to 92-6.  Once again it was left to the lower order’ batsmen, notably Luke Marchant (15), James Robb (12 not out) and Joe Bickel (14), to scramble some much-needed runs as Melton were finally all out for 158 in the final over, Harish Chanchalani taking 3-14 and Jack Whatmough 2-30.

Melton needed to bowl and field well and they did!  A brilliant catch by Richard Wood dismissed the dangerous Whatmough (18) and the seam bowlers just kept taking wickets.  Opener Louis Smith made 28 and wicketkeeper Joseph Oakey 37 but Robb came on to dismiss both batsmen and the tail, for once, didn’t wag.  Martham were all out for 138 in the 38th over with spinner Aaron Garner claiming the final wicket.  He and Joe Bickel had played a part in controlling the free-scoring home batsmen but it was the seamers who took the plaudits, especially Waddell who returned figures of 9-0-31-4 and Robb (9-2-21-3).  The victory makes little difference to Melton’s position at the bottom of Division 2 but it does wonders for morale.

The  A Team also sneaked home in a very tight game against a side 2nd in the table when they beat Denver by 17 runs at Melton Park.  Like the Firsts, their score of 180 all out didn’t look enough but the bowlers had other ideas.  Young Josh Wright took 4-35 in his 7-over spell to put the Denver batsmen under pressure and, when Tom Moye (6-0-23-1) bowled Gilbert for nought, Denver were 80-5, still with some way to go.  Neil Gromett (33), Joe Manning (19) and Martyn Wardle (18) edged the visitors ever-closer to their target but the Melton bowlers stuck to their task with James Bridges (6.4-1-17-2) bowling particularly well, Kyle Mason (2-40) and Matt Henderson (1-9) weighing in with vital wickets and skipper Simon Woods snaffling 5 victims behind the stumps as Denver were dismissed for 163 in the 35th over.  It made Jason Whiddett’s 55 the stand-out innings of the match with the ‘double-figure’ scores of Tim Hales (18), Lohit Kannan (19), Bridges (16), Henderson (13) and Wright (20 not out) all valuable contributions to a real team effort.

With the Cs having no game, the B Team failed to make it a hat-trick of wins, losing at home to Castle Acre by 3 wickets. Eusha Fawad, batting at eight, was the top scorer in Melton’s innings of 188 all out with father-and-son partnership of Matt and Corey Rushton scoring 26 and 24 respectively.  Elliott Whiting (3-39) and Jimmy Thompson (3-33) both took 3 wickets apiece for the visitors.  However, they were eclipsed by Caitlin Ellis who took 4-49 for Melton but her efforts couldn’t contain the visitors who comfortably reached their target with 14 overs and 3 wickets to spare.  Sam Molyneax led the way with 48 and fellow-opener Steven Piper scored 39 to get their side off to a good start with a partnership of 87 while Chris Woods’ 23 and Robbie Thompson’s  26 not out steered Castle Acre to victory. Matt Rushton (1-36), Chris McKay (1-21) and Nick Gristwood (1-11) were the other Melton wicket-takers.

Michael Farmer made a rare and welcome appearance for the Sunday ‘funday’ side, bowling former Melton player, Josh Wilson (47) first ball and going on to take 3-9 and score 23 not out as Melton won by 3 wickets.  Wilson was the top-scorer, and there were 2-fers from James Robb (2-20), Kyle Mason (2-37) and Chris Wright (2-11) in Acle’s 175 but the visitors’ total was boosted by a half-century last-wicket stand between Jack Patterson (30 not out) and Craig Press (30).  Matt Clarke then scored 59 and Ben Mann 36 to help Melton to victory in 35.4 overs.

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