Firsts final-day victory Secures 6th Place
The first team’s season ended on a high note with victory at Great Witchingham and a climb up to 6th place in the final NCA Division 2 table. A combination of bad weather, Covid and erratic form has meant a frustrating summer for the firsts but it all ended well at Walcis Park. Asked to bat after losing the toss, it was a century partnership between Dom Evans and Matt Clarke that provided the platform for victory. Their second-wicket stand came after Lohit Kannan had been bowled by Liam Healey for 15 and featured an excellent 71 that included 6 fours and 4 sixes, from the Welshman who has shown excellent form in the final few weeks of his debut season for the club. Clarke contributed 44 before Nick Aston took up the challenge of getting the score past 200. Adding 46 with Connor Stearman (11) and 49 with Martyn Cook (22), Aston was unbeaten on 62 (9 fours, 2 sixes) as Melton totalled 247-6.
The normal A Team opening bowlers, Dale and Kyle Weston began Melton’s defence of their total with Dale conceding just 8 runs in his 8 overs, 6 of them maidens. Kyle was a little more expensive but claimed the important wicket of opener Pradeep Munidasa for 7. Oliver Hubbard was batting well for Witchingham but, with a catch by Corey Rushton off skipper Rich Waddell, accounting for Troy Allen (15) Jonathan Spelman (15) bowled by Evans and Joey Greenslade dismissing Witchingham captain Ryan Symonds (2), the home side slipped behind the run rate. Hubbard reached his century, eventually finishing on 113 not out, and he received good support from Tom Blythe-Bartram (42 not out) in an unbroken stand of 111 but it was not enough as Witchingham finished 39 runs short on 208-4.
Waddell took 1-29 in his 7 overs to finish as leading wicket-taker with 20 while Greenslade’s 1-58 took him to a creditable 16 wickets considering he was never previously used as a bowler. Evans’ 1-43 completed a good match for him. An extra 3 points would have taken Melton above Witchingham into 5th place and, despite the frustrations caused by a few batting collapses there have been many bright spots to the season. Training sessions have been well-attended, the squad has been strengthened by the likes of the Greenslade brothers, Martyn Cook and Dom Evans while Evans emergence as an opening batter and Greenslade’s as a useful left-arm seam bowler have been notable plus points. Chris Greenslade’s three centuries and total of 534 runs make him the stand-out player but the summer has also seen the emergence of youngsters Kyle Weston, Rob Mackintosh, Joseph Graves and Corey Rushton as players with genuine first team pedigree.
Certainly plenty to build on as we make the transition to ‘One-League’.