Ben Stars in Close Win
GREAT MELTON C (25pts) beat Rackheath (9) pts by 5 runs at Town Close in the Norfolk League Division 3W
A man of the match performance by 16yr old Ben Carding, hot on the heels of his match winning knock at Mattishall for the u17’s, saw Melton’s C team edge out overnight league leaders Rackheath at the picturesque Town Close. Whilst Norwich City FC start celebrating 80 years at Carrow Road, this is where the then nick named ‘Citizens’ first kicked a ball in anger. It was the sound of leather on willow that brought in the crowds after the Lord Mayor’s procession. As temperatures soared, Rackheath’s skipper invited the hosts to bat. A decision he would rue, but only after a run chase that fell agonisingly short.
Steve Clarke (11) and Imaad (12) put on 30 in the first 8 overs for another quick start before both fell victim to the left arm seam of Chris Rymarz (4/32). Chris McKay (34), taking his C team bow, looked to steady the ship combining stoic defence with controlled counter attacking. He found a superb foil in young Ben (39), who brought a bit of aggression to the proceedings. Initially watchful, taking three overs to settle in, he unleashed a blistering onslaught on the weary O’Beirne’s 9th over, striking three boundaries and a maximum, and followed that with 10 off Rymarz. Both were immediately replaced in the attack. This was not a wild attack though. It was timing and clean striking of which England’s Butler would be proud. Pace off the ball from Banham was his undoing though. Eusha (19) sought to assist Chris in maintaining momentum, with a maximum in his breezy knock before gloving behind with the score on 123 off 28.
The inform Leo de Salis (28) was sent in to push the scoring along, to rotate the strike and punish the wilting fielders. Chris, however, missed a low one from Banham and then Fawad picked our Brown, both in the 33rd over, changing the approach to one of simply guiding the innings to its conclusion. Craig Wilson (8) provided a modicum of support as Melton garnered a total of 172 which looked below par if competitive.
And so it was to prove. Rackheath punished anything short or loose, even chasing wide ones, to rush to 29 off 5 before Steve Clarke took the first of 3 smart catches at the wickets to remove Jo Jo (24) off Stu Wilson (1/23). Leo (2/29) shared the new ball, and though struggling initially he claimed 2 more victims, Holmes (4) at the wicket, and Brown (4) off what can only kindly be described as a rank long hop, juggled and held by Eusha at mid on. The visitors were reeling at 3/38 off 12. Yet despite the loss of these early wickets, they pressed on, taking 20 off Imaad’s three overs, with Thacker (24) being particularly brutal. He and Patrick (27) looked to be steering the game Rackheath’s way before Patrick got underneath a slow off cutter from Si Carding. McKay provided the assured palms at mid off. 91 off 26 became 104 off 31 when Melton’s skipper bowled O’Beirne.
18 off the next 2 overs swung the pendulum back in the visitors favour as Lake (32) wielded the blade. Melton’s fielding was becoming ragged, with boundaries conceded and sloppy ground fielding allowing the strike to be rotated with ease. Changing the bowlers ceased to stem the flow, as Leo went for 13 off 2, Craig Wilson 16 off 3, before Fawad was thrown the ball. 2/16 off 5 helped stem the flow from one end, though the 5 an over needed was not proving too difficult for the batsmen, as the visitors edged ever closer to the target. That was whittled down to just 6 off the final 2 overs. Ben held his nerve and skittled Banham (12) to help the C team to a remarkable victory, aided in no small part to Rackheath’s Williams non appearance as a batsman.
As the Lord Mayor’s celebrations boomed out in the City Centre, Melton joined in with a rousing rendition of Delilah.