Anguish for McKay as Melton chase formidable target at Garboldisham
Great Melton C (24 points) beat Garboldisham C (8 points) at Garboldisham in the Norfolk League Division 4SW
Great Melton C successfully chased a target of 287 set for them by an impressive Garboldisham side, with Melton’s Chris McKay falling short of a century by 1 run.
A run festival arrived at Garboldisham cricket ground on Saturday with a total of 577 runs being hit in 88.2 overs between the two teams. Melton C skipper Clive Rennie won the toss and decided to let the home team have a bat. However, it would prove that conditions would much favour batsmen with a flat pitch, short boundaries around the ground and a rapid outfield.
Oliver Campbell and Joe Baker were tasked with opening the innings for Garboldisham. Dale Weston held his end well, charging up the slope, and conceding only 8 runs off his first spell of 7 overs. A combination of a probing length and the slope proved difficult for the young opening pair and the edge of the bat was found regularly. A gilded chance was spilled in the slips by the Chairman, but otherwise true chances were few and far between. Other bowlers toiled at the other end. James Bridges took the first over but struggled to find a consistent line and length on a scorching summer day. Anything down the leg side was nudged to the boundary with ease and anything wide of off was expertly cut across the fast outfield. Sam Carding came on for Bridges but also found consistency difficult to achieve, eventually conceding 28 off his 3 overs.
No matter where skipper Rennie turned, luck was just not with Melton’s bowlers. Both Campbell and Baker eased to half-centuries. Dale Weston grassed a chance to dismiss Campbell at mid-on but it would be his son Kyle Weston who would eventually make the breakthrough, smartly catching a well driven shot off the bat of Baker off his own bowling. It took 22 overs but the damage had been done, Baker had 64 to his name and Garboldisham had 130 on the board. Rennie and David Bunn bowled lengthy spells to try and stem the flow of runs and pick up much needed wickets. Rennie bowled a tight line and reaped the rewards, eventually picking up 4 wickets (3 in his last over, Edward Fenby successfully defending the hat-trick ball). Bunn also had some success, importantly bowling Campbell for 63 and Finlay Penrose for 21 (who had dispatched Rennie for two maximums in the previous over). Garboldisham found themselves slipping from 218-3 to 229-7 but Fenby and Howard Goodman played with freedom, and with some lacklustre and tired fielding all round from the away side, Garboldisham finished on 287 from their 45 overs, setting Melton a chase of 288 at 6.4 runs per over.
Jamie Dutton opened with Steve Phoenix and the away side’s reply started very shakily. Dutton (10) chipped the ball to the safe hands of bowler Lydia Raven, and Phoenix (15) fell into the opposition’s trap by guiding the ball into the assured hands of John Hogg at fly slip off the bowling of Angus Pringle. Chris McKay and Duncan Greenslade were able to put on 40 runs before Greenslade (11) was adjudged LBW off the bowling of Robbie Starling. Off-spinner Penrose beat the defence of James Bridges (3) and Melton had stuttered to 101-4 off the first 19 overs. 187 runs were still required but Melton still had plenty of overs in the evening sunshine.
David Bunn joined McKay in the middle and it would be this pair that would make a vital partnership. McKay was keen to not let bad balls unpunished, pummelling the ball into the adjacent wheat field twice off the bowling of Penrose. Bunn started sensibly, happy to nudge singles early on before peppering the boundary all around the ground. Much like Melton’s innings, the field became deflated and it looked like neither man had any ideas about not getting the job done. Four overthrows frustrated bowler Campbell but the very next ball, McKay lost his concentration and also chipped the ball back to the bowler, one short of what would have been an excellent century. More importantly, Melton were still 85 short of their target.
Both Sam Carding (14) and Dale Weston (17) played decent cameos, both managing to clear the boundary but both ended up being bowled by the experienced Robbie Starling. Still 20 runs short with 30 balls remaining, both Bunn and number 9 Kyle Weston kept their head. In overs 42 and 43 Bunn had plenty of trust in Weston, nudging singles promptly. The field tightened and Weston punished Campbell Starling, finding pulling and driving for boundaries. It would be Bunn who would hit the winning runs, driving Goodman over the top for four, ending on 57 not out – Weston ending on 12 not out. Melton had fantastically completed the chase with 10 balls to spare.
A tough day for the bowlers ended with Melton consolidating third place (247 points) over their opponents who still sit in fourth (187 points with a game in hand). Next up is a visit from Mellis (second place with 254 points and a game in hand) who gave the Cs a day to forget in the reverse fixture.