Home Side Take the Honours on Damp Pitch.
GREAT MELTON C (5 points) lost to HARDINGHAM A (23 points) by 5 wickets at Hardingham in the Norfolk League Division 3W
A man of the match performance by Leo de Salis, with bat and ball, was not enough to save Melton’s C Team going down to hosts Hardingham on a pitch that was still damp following heavy rain in the week. The home side won the toss, and decided to make first use of the facilities taking the pace off the ball with a predominantly spin attack, which made scoring difficult.
Steve Clarke (24) and Tony Alborough (11) needed to repeat their recent effort with a solid opening partnership, and put on 36 off 13. However, three wickets fell for 11 runs as first Tony and then Finley Hughes (0) were followed back to the pavilion by Steve in the 17th over.
Dan Hayward (19) found himself batting at 4, and displayed excellent defence, as he and Leo (28) put on 46 for the 4th wickets off 18 overs, before the veteran cut a loose delivery to Jamie Fowle at point who clung on to a one handed catch at the second attempt. This was to signal a mini collapse as 3 more wickets fell for 8 runs, with Jamie Dutton (4), Dan, and then Craig Wilson (0) all falling in quick succession. Duncan Greenslade (18*) added some vital impetus in the final few overs, hammering Watts to the nearside Pavilion boundary but Melton's 124-8 looked well below-par. 39 of the 45 overs were spin, utilising the damp pitch to the full demonstrating the value of taking pace off the ball especially on slow low wickets.
Stu Wilson conceded just 5 runs off his first 15 deliveries, but 12 off the next 9 from the hard hitting G Sheehan (49) saw the normally effervescent bowler removed from the attack. Zef Ishtiaq, by contrast, bowled a tight probing line and was rewarded by the wicket of J Howard (2) to put the visitors in control. Leo replaced Stu, and removed M Eastman with his 7th delivery as a slice ended high over cover for a simple catch for Jamie Dutton, with the score on 32 in the 11th over. Sheehan smashed the next ball back over the bowler’s head for 4. J Rant (27) then smashed his 5th delivery from Leo’s 4th over onto the road for his first scoring shot to maintain the home side’s momentum as they moved to 56 off the first 15.
Craig Wilson tried to find a way through without success before Leo swapped ends. In his second spell of 8 overs he conceded just 3 runs as 2 more late wickets fell, Rant bowled and D Halstead (13) caught at silly mid wicket by Duncan for the champagne moment. Finn Hughes weighed in with the wicket of Sheehan from a ball which swung from leg to off and enticed a looping cut to Craig Wilson at gully. C Watts (17*) and A Das (4*) saw the hosts over the line as calls for a stumping and 2 LBW’s were turned down. It has to be noted that Melton’s bowlers conceded just 6 extras. 2 x no balls and 4 byes. This emphasises the excellent disciplines displayed by them all.
It was the partnership of 58 between Sheehan and Rant which was the main difference between the sides, and laid the foundation for the victory.
Great Melton C
S Clarke c Das b Watts 24; A Alborough b Watts 11; F Hughes b Kelly 0; D Hayward b Das 19; L de Salis c Fowle b Howard 28; J Dutton c Sheehan b Howard 4; R Greenslade lbw Fowle 3; C Wilson b Howard 0; D Greenslade 18*; S Wilson 1* extras 16 TOTAL (8 wickets) 124 (M Eastman 6 – 1 – 24 – 0; D Kelly 12 – 5 – 21 – 1; C Watts 12 – 3 – 37 – 2; A Das 8 – 2 – 19 – 1; J Howard 5 – 1 – 14 – 3; J Fowle 2 – 1 – 1 – 1)
G Sheehan c C Wilson b Hughes 49; J Howard b Istiaq 2; M Eastman c J Dutton b L de Salis 9; J Rant b L de Salis 27; D Halstead c D Greenslade b L de Salis 13; C Watts 17*; A Das 4*. Extras 6. TOTAL (5 wickets) 128 (S Wilson 7.1–1–34–0; Z Ishtiaq 7–2–21–1; L de Salis 12–6–18- 3; C Wilson 4–0–15-0; F Hughes 5-0–21–1; J Dutton 3–0–14–0)