As the scarecrow continues along the yellow brick road the Division one pressure cooker heats up and the first XI implode.
As Beccles visited the sun drenched Melton Park a determined Melton side took to the field following the skipper winning the toss and asking the opposition to make first use of a slightly green and damp track.
Pask opened from the pavilion end and was quickly into his rhythm bowling a good line and length with considerable swing and seem movement to aid him. Pask made the initial break through Bowling R.J Porter for 13 with a beauty that left the batsman, evaded his defensive prod and clipped his off stump.
He then followed up that up with the wicket of Milton, again bowled before the skipper finally managed to take a wicket in the second half of the season, getting a length delivery to hold its line and it took the top of Wrights (0) off stump. At this point the home side had managed to gain the upper hand with the score reading 47-3 after 11 over’s. R.C Porter had batted sensibly, punishing anything short of length in this period and he continued in that vein as Melton’s slow bowlers started to apply some pressure.
Opposition captain D George was smartly stumped by Clarke for 4 off the bowling of Sims as he over balanced and he lifted his foot, and when Sims spectacularly (diving/ rolling) caught and bowled D Mirner for 8 Melton had turned the screw significantly as the 5th wicket fell after drinks for 97.
J Mirner started with intent sweeping sims for 6 but as Melton controlled the runs, Porter, anchoring the innings was reduced to taking singles, 15 in a row before nicking off to Harris for a workman like 64. Mirner and Fisher continued watchfully rotating the strike with ones and twos as Melton protected the boundaries and having milked the bowling without too much alarm for a few over’s the skipper decided to change the bowling with Mann replacing Sims and Harris finishing his allotted 13 over’s, Pask returned from the Hall end.
Mann bowled a good full line outside off stump proving difficult to get away while Pask took on the Joe Heather role and blew away the tail bowling Mirner for a well made 27, having Fisher well caught at long for 16 by Whiddett and then bowling Norman (11) and Johnson for a duck to finish off the Beccles innings inside 48overs. Pask leading the home side off with a Melton personal best, claiming 6 victims, 5 of whom were bowled in 10.5 over’s for a miserly 32 runs. A fantastic effort from a young fast bowler.
After a plentiful tea Melton started their innings with Bunn and Whiddett taking the score to 44-0 after 10 over’s without too much trouble. The opposition then changed the bowling and D Mirner, who had changed the game in the reverse fixture earlier in the season (with 2wickets in his first 3 balls) struck first ball having Whiddett caught behind for 13. Pearse joined Bunn but only lasted 6 Deliveries when a lapse in concentration led to an awful (untypical) shot across the line of the ball and being out plumb LBW to J Mirner for 1.
Godbold steadied the ship with Bunn and they batted very well, running hard between the wickets and putting away the bad deliveries until Godbold played a lose defensive shot to D Mirner and was castled for 18 the over before drinks. Score reading 101-3, with Melton nicely on target.
What happened then can only be described as an abolition, as on 125 Bunn (55) played and missed and was subsequently “stumped” by the wicket keeper standing back having not returned to his ground quickly enough.
This was the turning point in the game as Melton crumbled under the pressure of, not only this game, as the opposition became more vocal but also a result of weeks past when we had thrown away games that normally a side batting with confidence would have eaten up with ease.
Cook joined Pask but was bowled by Wright for 0 and When Pask attempted to sweep a shin high full toss off Norman to the short boundary and missed it, being adjudged LBW for 4, Melton had slipped to 125-6. Losing 3 wickets for no runs.
Worse was still to come as Wright set up Clarke with 2 away swingers then bringing the ball back as Clarke offered no shot, again plumb in front for 0, the skipper stared on in disbelief as the score was now 126-7. 4 wickets lost for 1 run, 5 wickets lost for 25 runs.
Mann joined the captain at the wickets and under instruction to bat sensibly seemed to be listening as he was put under a lot of pressure by Wright and Norman, both having loud appeals turned down for LBW. Mann(8) then having taken 4 from a loose delivery from Wright then inexplicably hit the next delivery straight to mid off, having checked his drive. 147-8.
Having hit Norman out of the attack, D Mirner returned and castled Harris first ball with a delivery that seemed in and perhaps stayed a little low for 0 and when he then bounced Sims first ball and gloving it, narrowly evading short leg, things were looking pretty dire at 151-9, still 25 runs short of victory.
Mirner decided to give the home side a sporting chance by bowling 5 wides, then when the skipper took consecutive maximums off Wright the impossible looked possible. Waddell and Sims Exchanged singles from the next D Mirner over leaving Waddell on strike with 4 required for victory.
The Beccles skipper made a big call to recall off spinner J Mirner back to the attack and set a strong legside field with the boundaries protected. Mirner then bowled a wide first ball and when he served up an easy single to Waddell second ball, Waddell decided to take it, believing that if no extras or freebies were received, then at least Sims would be untroubled and would take it to the next over.
What a costly decision the captain had made as Sims attempted to clear the rope with the 4th ball of the over and was easily caught by D Mirner at mid on, and the game was lost by 1run, Waddell left high and dry 31not out.
Waddell may have left the field in disbelief of what had gone on, livid being an understatement, however once the shouting was done, and with hindsight the result can be dissected a million different ways, if this… and only we had done that, the blame once again lies at the batters feet. In a game where Melton were sailing to victory, a calamitous collapse losing 6 wickets for 49 runs doesn’t do justice to how well the side Bowled and fielded.
Beccles (22pts) 175 all out. R. C Porter 64, Pask 6-32
Great Melton (7Pts) 174 All out. G Bunn 55, R Waddell 31*. A Wright 4-46, D Mirner 3-35.