Clarke and Whiddett take A’s to verge of promotion
Great Melton A (16 Points) achieved a winning draw against Swardeston/CEYMS (8) at Hilltops in Frankly Digital Norfolk Cricket Alliance Division Five.
Great Melton A:
J Whiddett c & b Snelling 66
M Cook c O Ebbage b Levinson 2
M Clarke Not Out 81
P Stearman c Bridgstock b Levinson 8
L Whiddett c Randall b Levinson 9
D Godbold c Chatland b Levinson 31
G Bunn Not Out 2
Total (5 Wickets, 35 Overs) 231
J Chatland 9-0-43-0, A Levinson 9-0-55-4, L Randell 4-0-17-0, O Ebbage 6-0-33-0, R Olpin 4-0-43-0, T Snelling 3-0-23-1
J Olpin b D Bunn 16
R Ebbage st Woods b G Bunn 53
L Gooderham c Cook b Sims 23
O Ebbage lbw b Stearman 17
M Austin Not Out 5
T Snelling st Woods b G Bunn 0
L Randell Not Out 17
Total (5 Wickets, 35 Overs) 142
I Bettridge 9-3-23-0, D Bunn 7-1-28-1, R Sims 6-1-25-1, D Godbold 4-0-19-0, G Bunn 5-0-31-2, P Stearman 4-0-11-1
Great Melton A took another step towards promotion to Division Four as they dominated proceedings against a youthful Swardeston side at Hilltops, outscoring their opponents by some 89 runs.
With persistent rain during the morning the start was delayed by more than an hour and the two sides agreed a 35 overs per side match. Swardeston skipper Tom Snelling then won the toss and duly inserted the visitors.
First team regular Martyn Cook opened with Jason Whiddett, hoping to find some form after a lean patch at the club's top level, but unfortunately could only muster two runs before hitting a ball from 13 year old Levinson high into the air which was well caught by Ebbage at mid-off. But this proved to be Swardeston's only moment of control as Whiddett and Matt Clarke dominated proceedings thereafter.
Both batsmen played sensibly early but from a solid if slow 55-1 from 16 overs the two in-form players went after the hosts' youthful attack, with Clarke in particular sweeping the spinners very well and producing his most controlled innings of the summer. Whiddett once again scored heavily through backward point and third man in a knock of 66 containing seven fours and when he finally chipped a ball back to the bowler, Melton had reached 147-2 from 27 overs.
Brief, if entertaining cameos from Paul Stearman (8) and Lee Whiddett (9) helped maintain the momentum before Daryl Godbold blasted 31 off around 15 balls as he and Clarke took the score to 228. Clarke finished on 81 not out including 13 fours and he and George Bunn (2no) took the score to a handsome 231-5 at the break.
Given the shortened format and flat Hilltops wicket, it looked a tough task to bowl out the home side and so it proved. Ian Bettridge (9-3-23-0) was as economical as ever but was unfortunate to beat the bat without taking the edge, and although David Bunn (1-28) dismissed Jon Olpin (16) with a fine yorker, that was to be the only breakthrough in the first 22 overs as Swardeston seemed content to accumulate batting bonus points and made no attempt to chase their target.
R Ebbage (53) played a useful knock for the hosts as did Gooderham (23) who eventually chipped a catch off Rob Sims (1-25) to Martyn Cook. As Melton attacked George Bunn found considerable turn and he grabbed two wickets in two balls as Simon Woods continued his outstanding form behind the stumps with consecutive stumpings of Ebbage and Snelling.
Paul Stearman also had O Ebbage (17) out lbw but Melton were unable to make further in-roads as the hosts innings fizzled out at 142-5.
The result takes Melton 27 points ahead of third placed Rocklands with two games remaining and so promotion now looks to be just one win away, although the battle for the title appears much tighter, with in-form Winterton just 11 points adrift with a game in hand.