Richard Wood’s 9th century in Melton colours was not enough to prevent Melton sliding to a 6 wicket defeat against Hethersett and Tas Valley in division 2 as, once more, ill disciplined bowling allowed the visitors relatively easy passage to the home side’s total of 204 for 4.
Hethersett won the toss and as is common place in Alliance cricket, elected to field. Alex Cooper playing in his first game of the summer since returning from University opened with Richard Wood and the pair built a solid platform albeit Cooper rode his luck and was dropped several times as Tas appeared a little careless in the field. Eventually though Cooper offered a chance that was taken and was dismissed for 25. Dave Allum found scoring freely difficult and Melton’s run rate was low in comparison to the wickets in hand, so some risks were taken in pursuit of upping the rate. Wood was solid as ever and although survived an appeal for lbw early in his innings, looked untroubled against the accurate Tas attack but the same could not be said of Allum who eventually perished for 29, to some accurate bowling from Bellchamber. Jonny Howard was sent in to up the scoring but that plan failed as he lasted just 4 balls before being deceived by Bellchamber’s quicker delivery but 15 year old Chris Greenslade showed his promise with a flamboyant knock of 33 not out – scoring at more than a run a ball, he found the fence with ease and made batting look easy and with Wood for company, the pair put on 70 in the last 10 overs to push Melton past 200 – Wood was out to the last ball of the innings but his century was testament to a strong technique and fine concentration.
Tas’ reply was agressive as Burrett punishing anything full with a series of powerful drives. His partner Robbie Matthews was more circumspect but the Melton bowling offered too much width so the scoring rate rattled along at 5 an over. Burret was fortunate to survive 2 strong appeals for lbw but played well for his 58 before hitting Greenslade’s first ball of his spell to Alex Cooper at point, and was caught. Gristwood removed the obdurate Matthews for 17 but Shelley and Fahy played agressively to keep Tas on track for a comfortable victory before the former inexplicably charged down the wicket to Rai and was bowled for 37. Tas had plenty of wickets in hand though and John Curtis played a fine knock to keep momentum to the innings and, by the time he was well caught at long on by Marcus Godbold, the game was virtually up. Fahy played freely and with no pressure on him, struck a couple of firm drives through the covers to see his side to victory.
Melton played well for 60% of the game but loose bowling cost them the chance of building pressure on the Tas batsman, but credit goes to the visitors whose positive style of batting on an awkward wicket simply didn’t allow the Melton bowling to settle.
R Wood ct & b King 100, A Cooper ct Curtis b Walmsley 25, D Allum ct Walmsley b Bellchamber 29, J Howard b Bellchamber 0, C Greensalde not out 33, M Clarke not out 0. Extras 18. Total 204 for 4. (P Walmsley 12-1-20-1, J Emeny 12-0-47-0, D Bellchamber 11-1-59-2, J Howard 4-0-20-0, 7-0-50-1)
Hethersett & Tas Valley
N Burrett ct Cooper b Greenslade 58, R Mitchell b Gristwood 17, T Shelley b Rai 37, D Fahy not out 47, J Curtis ct Godbold b Howard 33, J Emeny not out 0. Extras 12. Total 205 for 4. ( D Rai 6.3-1-51-1, M Scott 8-1-39-0, A Thompson 4-0-29-0, 8-3-34-1, 5-0-32-1, J Howard 5-0-26-1)