Steve Phoenix scored 88 and Ben Johnson, 39, in a fifth wicket stand of 113, but their efforts still weren’t enough to bring the C’s their first win of the season. With Manager Duncan Greenslade struggling with only 2 senior players, the injured Jim Wimhurst and first team scorer, Clive Melhuish were pressed into service but it left the Cs a bit short of bowling options. Phoenix used 8 different bowlers in an attempt to defend 187-6 and nearly achieved it but Hardingham skipper Jamie Fowle scored an unbeaten 66 to steer his side to victory with just 2 overs to spare.
Having won the toss and decided to bat on a warm day, Melton were soon in trouble, Harry Ryan (5), Nat Buxton (13), Greenslade (3) and Oli Leinster (3) were all dismissed cheaply to leave the visitors on 47-4. Phoenix was then joined by his great-nephew Ben Johnson and together they set about repairing the damage. Sound defence, particularly from Johnson, some good running and a flurry of boundaries including a six from the Chairman that broke a few tiles on the pavilion roof, saw Melton move to a respectable 160 before Phoenix was caught at mid-on. The captain’s innings included 12 fours as well as the six. Johnson soon followed for his highest senior score leaving father and daughter Jim (11 not out) and Millie (8 not out) Wimhurst to add some valuable runs in the final overs.
The impressive Carl Nelson (10-3-20-1) kept things tight for Hardingham but wickets went to Shamim Ahmed (2-30), Keith Palmer (1-30) and Tom Harvey (1-12)
Melton needed an early breakthrough and young spinner, Liam Stevens, got it when he had opener Michael Britten caught by Phoenix for 2. Ben Johnson bowled a good opening spell but, at the other end, there was always a four-ball per over as Jamie Fowle and Will Foster scored quickly. At 78-1, Alice Greenslade (5-0-23-1) bowled Foster for 33 and saw Fowle dropped but Duncan Greenslade produced a superb spell of 10-1-20-0 to slow the run rate. Keith Martin scored 25 before becoming Nat Buxton’s first senior victim, caught behind by Leinster but Kyle Shaw then joined his captain and was quick to punish the bad ball in a lively 32 not out. With Fowle content to play the anchor and, despite the best efforts of Johnson (9.5-1-39-0), the remaining young bowlers were not quite able to match Greenslade’s economy and Hardingham squeezed home with 13 balls and 6 wickets to spare.
It was the third time in three completed games that the C team has lost a match that’s gone virtually the full distance and, although there were fears of a mis-match, it was another good display by a largely young team against a team of adults. Full credit to Hardingham who played what was an excellent match in exactly the right spirit.
To view the scorecard on Play-Cricket click this link: http://greatmelton.play-cricket.com/website/results/3912359