It’s a tough old school…
Great Melton A (4 Points) lost to Acle A (25) by 105 runs at Acle Playing Fields in Norfolk Cricket Alliance Division Three
R Porter c Bickel b Ducker 145
N Maggan c Ducker b Hayward 6
J Betts c Moxon b Ducker 91
P Munford Not Out 5
J Webster Not Out 1
Total (3 Wickets Dec, 44 Overs) 256
G Coulson 12-0-32-0, R Hayward 10-0-72-1, J Bickel 12-0-66-0, T Moye 8-0-62-0, G Ducker 2-0-21-2
Great Melton A:
D Loines b Barnham 6
C Stearman caught b Miners 22
G Ducker b Betts 38
L Whiddett caught b Betts 15
J Moxon caught b Betts 1
S Wooldridge caught b Betts 11
J Bickel caught b Adams 8
S Woods b Barnham 27
R Hayward caught b Adams 0
T Moye caught b Burnham 1
G Coulson Not Out 0
Total (All Out, 37 overs) 151
C Barnham 7-1-38-3, M Miners 6-0-36-1, J Betts 12-1-46-4, R Porter 6-1-14-0, T Adams 6-1-12-0
Great Melton A are finding themselves the proverbial ‘fish out of water' in Division Three this season, as a partnership in excess of 200 for the second wicket from Rob Porter (145) and J Betts (91) saw Acle, previously winless this season, post an imposing 256-3 declared before bowling out the visitors with 11 overs to spare.
It had looked a decent toss to win for Lee Whiddett, inserting the opposition on a green looking wicket that was covered until shortly before the start. However, in truth the ball did not move off the straight for either side throughout the match. The impressive Rob Porter gave a half-chance in the first over, top edging an attempted pull which just eluded keeper Simon Woods, but from then on he looked imperious. Whilst his opening partner, N Maggan, did go cheaply as he cut a short and wide ball from Ryan Hayward straight to George Ducker at backward point, Porter gave Hayward short shrift, hitting him for 6 sixes during Hayward's spell. Although the score was a balanced 42-1 from 11 overs, from then on the batsmen took over. Gary Coulson proved difficult to get away in another miserly spell of 12-0-32-0, by far the best figures for Melton, but the other bowlers were all punished for anything slightly off line. Joe Bickel and Tom Moye could not be criticised for bowling waywardly, but their respective figures of 0-66 and 0-62 showed the difficult task they faced. Acle moved to 99-1 after 23 overs, and from there Porter, and then Betts, opened up, smashing their way to 200 in the 38th over.
Both were finally dismissed by part-time seamer George Ducker, making his first appearance of the summer having returned from Plymouth, Porter for 145 in an innings containing 9 sixes. at 256-3 from 44 overs, Acle declared to give themselves 48 overs to attempt to bowl the visitors out.
The early part of Melton's response was impressive. Whilst Damien Loines was out bowled for only 6, Connor Stearman and George Ducker both looked in impressive touch, with Stearman hitting a couple of delightful cover drives and Ducker punishing anything short. The home side looked slightly rattled, with pace bowler Miners visibly struggling, and Melton progressed swiftly to 54-1 from just 7 overs. At that point, needing another 203 runs from 41 overs, a possibly run chase looked on.
In the 10th over, Stearman's positive knock was ended for 22 when Miners finally got his line right to see Stearman caught at mid-wicket, but by the end of that over Melton were on 71-2. Lee Whiddett, making his 400th appearance for the Club, joined Ducker and for a time the progress continued until Ducker was bowled by Betts for 38 to leave Melton on 95-3 in the 17th over.
That was to prove the turning point as Jon Moxon (1), Simon Wooldridge (11), and then Whiddett (15) fell and at 112-6 from 25 overs it looked a tough task to salvage a draw. So it was to prove as, whilst Simon Woods dug in well, Joe Bickel (8) and then Ryan Hayward (0) both inexplicably failed to play the situation by driving aerially to be caught at mid-off. Woods played some nice shots in his 27 but, once he was bowled, last pair Tom Moye and Gary Coulson were left with too much to do and Moye (1) was caught at slip at the end of the 37th over to hand Acle a maximum points victory.
In truth, Melton did not do a great deal wrong on the day but are simply finding themselves out-gunned in the batting department at this level.