Great Melton beat Swardeston…..and the weather.
Great Melton's persistence and determination to play cricket on a damp afternoon at Melton Park was rewarded with a 3 wicket win over Swardeston ‘B' and credit should also go to the Umpires whose pragmatic approach ensured the game continued when it would have been all to easy to call a halt to play, as heavy showers resulted in the covers being wheeled on and off with monotonous regularity.
Melton won the toss and elected to field first and with both Richard Waddell and Mark Scott returning economic opening spells, Swardeston had reached 20 from the first 10 overs but it was Waddell who made the breakthrough having Micklethwaite caught by first team debutant, Rob Sims at mid wicket. Ben Hogg, perhaps Swardeston's best batsman played a watchful innings batting at 3 and together with Jessop they built a partnership of 23 before Jessop was well caught by Waddell at first slip, off the lively Greenslade. At 51 for 2 a lengthy rain break ensued but when play re-started Melton's slow bowlers Alex Cooper and Rob Sims slowed the run rate right down; Sims was rewarded by deceiving Matt Hogg who was well stumped and when Alex Cooper removed brother Ben, Swardeston were struggling at 78 for 4. Croft did his best to rebuild the innings and made a solid 37 but he received precious little support as Alex Cooper ran through the batting line up to take 5 for 32. Daryl Godbold provided excellent support in recording a double wicket maiden as he accounted for Croft and Horrex in successive deliveries, but it was Cooper who was the stand out bowler as Swardeston were dismissed for 141 in the 43rd over.
Time was not on Melton's side as regular rain delays meant their innings could not start until 6 35 and with the cut off point being 8 30, it meant that at best the home team had no more than 34 overs to bat. Typically Swardeston's over rate never got close to reaching the required 17 an hour but Melton's start was positve and in particular Richard Wood (41) was in agressive mood as he cracked 7 boundaries in his innings before becoming the first of Levison's 5 wickets. Whiddett and Greenslade looked comfortably but both were dismissed after having made starts and when Cooper, Waddell and Clarke all fell cheaply, Melton were 90 for 5 with only 30 minutes of play left.
Marcus Godbold (32) and Mark Scott ran well together to keep the score ticking over and both managed to put away any loose offerings. Godbold hit 4 boundaries but it was Scott who was the more aggressive, finding the fence 5 times as Melton closed in on an unlikely victory. In gathering gloom and with just 2 overs to go, the home team needed 22 to win from the last 2 overs before the 8.30 cut off time, but with both batsman well set some powerful strokes left 5 needed from the final over. Godbold mistimed a big shot from the first ball and was caught so Melton needed 5 from 5 balls, but as the batsman had crossed Scott (27 not out) was on strike and he calmed any nerves by striking the next delivery back down the ground for 6 to take his side to a 3 wicket win.
D Micklethwaite ct Sims b Waddell 6, S Jessop ct Waddell b Greenslade 24, B Hogg c & b Cooper 36, M Hogg st Woods b Sims 11, A Bilham ct Wood b Cooper 3, M Croft ct Wood b D Godbold 37, R Micklethwaite b Cooper 6, D Horrex b D Godbold 0, D Drepaulsingh not out 0, M Taylor lbw b Cooper 0. Extras 13. Total 141 for 10. (R Waddell 8-2-19-1, M Scott 8-1-19-0, R Sims 9-0-38-1, C Greenslade 6-1-24-1, A Cooper 11-2-32-5, D Godbold 1-1-0-2)
R Wood lbw b Levison 41, J Whiddett ct Croft b Micklethwaite 15, C Greenslade ct Croft b Levison 15, A Cooper ct Croft b Levison 8, M Godbold ct Croft b Drepaulsingh 32, R Waddell lbw b Levison 0, M Clarke b Levison 0, M Scott not out 27, D Godbold not out 0. Extras 2. Total 143 for 7. (D Drepaulsingh 6.2-0-37-1, R Mickelthwaite 7-0-26-1, D Horrex 10-2-47-0, A Levison 6-0-32-5)