Firsts Go Top of the Table
There was something beautifully nostalgic about Melton’s trip to Brooke at the weekend. Maybe it was the beautiful surroundings, or perhaps the glorious weather. Whatever the reason, it was a closely fought game that went down to the last over. It may be fair to say that the batman will look back on the game more fondly than the bowlers for who it was, at times, very hard work. Skipper Waddell won the toss yet again and chose to field on a small ground and what looked like being a good wicket. The home hitters batted like they knew a large total was necessary. There was some ferocious hitting assisted by some sloppy fielding but although a Ben Prentice and Sam Clabburn reached good half centuries, Melton seemed to keep a check on proceedings by taking wicket just often enough. Tom Moye and Ben Mann (2-37) bowled well-disciplined spells when carnage threatened to ensue. Luke Marchant was the pick of the bowlers all day and beat the bat on numerous occasion without reward and Richard Waddell took 3-58 from his 9 overs.
The home total of 253 seemed obtainable and this was confirmed as Melton’s openers, Ben Mann (30) and Lohit Kannan (17) got off to a flier scoring at 10 per over in the first 5 overs. However, the loss of three quick wickets pegged the visitors back, and it was left to Hales and Wood to make sure the middle overs were put to profitable use. The score ticked over at the required rate of 5 an over with both scoring good half centuries, but it was left to Wood (99 not out) to knock off the winning runs with Connor Stearman (30 not out) as things got a little tight towards the end. There was much relief as Melton won their fourth game in a row with a just a ball to spare to go top of Alliance Division 3.
The As picked up their first win of the season, by 33 runs at home to Horsford B. Chris Greenslade scored 63, Matt Henderson 45 and Martyn Cook 26 as Melton were bowled out for 213 with 3 wickets apiece for Tom Gardiner (3-27) and Chris Browne (3-50). Tight bowling, particularly from Dale Weston (9-5-9-1) and Rob Sims (9-0-21-1) then strangled the Horsford reply and, despite 54 from Charlie Hood and 32 from Will Minns, the visitors fell 33 runs short on 180-7. There were wickets also for Chris Greenslade (2-42), Kyle Mason (1-26), Cook (1-22) and Henderson (1-17).
The B Team’s 144 all out never really looked enough against Eaton who won comfortably by 9 wickets in 32 overs, Matt Duke (39) and Sam Butcher (73 not out) knocked of the runs despite a good spell of 10-1-28-1 from 13-year-old off-spinner Harrison Cunningham. Another 13-year-old, Corey Rushton, scored 30 and Richard Cheal hit 33 in an opening stand of 44 but only Eusha Fawad (22) Matt Rushton (17) and Kyle Weston (10) made double figures as Melton went from 117-3 to 142 all out. Udai Mopuru took 4-39 for Eaton.
Jonathan Ellse scored his first-ever century and Oli Leinster hit an unbeaten 55 but both finished on the losing side in a nail biting encounter with Colney who needed six to win off the final ball and achieved it thanks to former Melton C Captain and the one-time Melton Coaching Coordinator, Simon Carding, who pulled Jim Wimhurst’s final ball for six over mid-wicket. It was disappointing after Ellse had battled to a superb 112 not out to help Melton to 216-5. Young bowlers George Woodcock (10-1-34-2), Liam Stevens (8-1-42-2) and Alice Greenslade (5-0-23-1) plus the ever reliable Gary Coulson (10-4-26-0) all bowled well but a 4th wicket partnership of 80 between Andy Norman (57) and Tom Hargreaves (32) set up an exciting finish which left Colney needing 9 runs to win off the final over. Only 3 came off 5 balls and it looked like a first win of the season for the Cs but Carding had other ideas!