Junior Team ReportsIt’s Close but U15s Make it Through to Andy Seeley Final

It’s Close but U15s Make it Through to Andy Seeley Final

GREAT MELTON U15s (116-4) beat NORWICH U15s (115 all out) by 1 run at Postwick in the Norfolk Alliance Andy Seeley Competition Semi-Final

As a nail-biting Andy Seeley semi-final came down to the final over, Great Melton skipper Josh Wright stepped up to the plate to steer his side to the narrowest of victories.  Needing 10 to win off the last over, a single, a run-out, an edged four and a strange ‘hit wicket' dismissal that then meant both Norwich's ‘retired' batsmen, Ben Stewart-Miles (32) and Will Bowman (36) were at to the crease for Norwich who needed 3 off the last 2 balls.  A two was followed by a cover drive fielded by James Bridges who threw to the bowlers end where an attempted run-out saw the batsmen home. However, as Bowman called for a second run, Wright had the presence of mind to uproot the stump and Melton could celebrate a fine victory.

Earlier Wright had won the toss and elected to bat and, with Bridges' late arrival necessitating a change to the normal batting order, Melton's skipper again took responsibility, opening the innings with Lohit Kannan.  The pair put on 42 against Bowman and Stewart-Miles before change bowler Max Brister had Wright caught at mid-off for 18.  The scoring slowed a little and Saxon Earley (8) and Bridges (5) were dismissed but Lohit went on to make an excellent 30 (retired) leaving Sam Johnson (8 not out), Ben Fletcher (13) and Nat Buxton (16 not out) to plunder some late runs including 14 off the final over.  It left Melton on 116-4.  Kian McLean with 3-1-10-1 and Max Brister (3-0-25-2) were the home side's most effective bowlers.

Bridges and Wright did a good job in restricting the dangerous Bowman and Cooper early on and Saxon Earley, and most others watching, was convinced he'd had Bowman caught behind by Nat Buxton but the batsman – and the umpire – were unmoved and, to rub salt into the wounds, he then despatched Earley for 3 fours that meant he was able to retire.  The 3 fours apart, Earley (3-0-19-0) bowled very well and, in tandem with Sam Johnson (3-1-15-1) kept Melton in control in the middle overs as the required run-rate increased.

Nat Buxton was outstanding behind the stumps and his catches removed Cooper (10) and Buzz Kemp (15), as well as running out Marks (5) and Brister (0).  Two good overs by Charlie Green (1-15) and one from Lohit (1-8) kept the ‘required run rate' at around 9 an over and, although Stewart-Miles also retired with 30, having batted very well, and then returned a few balls later, his efforts were all in vain as Melton – and Wright in particular – kept their nerve.

It was a brilliant game which could have gone either way but it takes Melton to their second Andy Seeley Final which is at Melton Park on Thursday 9th July – a date which, unfortunately means several of Melton's team are unavailable because of holidays.

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Steve Phoenix

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