Mixed Results…But at least all 4 teams played!
It's been a very rare occurrence this season that all four senior teams have been in action but last Saturday saw four games completed…with mixed results. There were wins for the 1st and A teams against Great Witchingham A and Beccles A but defeats for the Bs and Cs against Kirkley & Belton and Topcroft B.
The firsts bowled Witchingham out for 126 at Melton Park with Kyle Weston (3-22), Joe Greenslade (3-25) and Ben Mann (2-25) picking up the wickets in a good all-round fielding performance. All the bowlers were economical with Dom Evans only conceding 16 runs in his 8 overs and the others going at little more than 3 an over. Matthew Hale (33), Jonathan Spelman (20) and Joe Wright (20) all threatened for a time for the visitors but no-one was able to go on the make a big score. In reply, Ben Mann was out lbw for 5 but a fifty partnership between Richard Wood (35) and Connor Stearman (31) took the score to 63 and skipper-for-the-day Matt Clarke saw his side to a 6-wicket victory in the 33rd over with an unbeaten 32.
The A Team lost the toss at Beccles and were asked to bat but posted a defendable score of 190-7 thanks largely to Josh Wright's unbeaten 57, a good 24 from young Corey Rushton and useful contributions from Kai Wilkinson-Loines (19) and Jonathan Ellse (16). Even skipper Simon Woods made a rare late cameo at the crease adding 12 important runs. Dale Weston (8-1-18-1) then demonstrated his usual economy and, with Kyle Mason (8-1-22-0) also keeping things tight, Beccles had reached 75-1 off 23 overs with Mark Taylor bowled by Weston for 30. George Youngman (66) and Steven Greenwood (52) both scored half-centuries and upped the run rate but both were dismissed by man-of-the-match Wright (8-0-44-2). Melton's skipper then affected two stumpings off Corey Rushton, plus a run-out as Beccles desperately tried to get over the line. In the end they failed, ending on 186-6 to lose by just 4 runs.
The Bs played their part in a remarkable low-scoring match against Kirkley & Belton. If you wanted to see glorious stroke play and are-flowing batting, Gunton Park was most definitely NOT the place to be! A wicket of unpredictable bounce and a grassy outfield meant that there were only 5 boundaries in 78 overs, only 155 runs were scored and 18 wickets fell. There was little to choose between the sides but, in the end, wides and no-balls proved critical as Melton bowled 13 and Kirkley only 2! Certainly the home bowlers' consistent accuracy made it a very difficult afternoon for Melton's batsmen with only Imaad Khalid (16), Paul Stevens (16) and Ryan Hayward (13) making double-figures as Melton were dismissed for 77, Kirkley skipper Neil Muirhead taking 5-15 in 9.2 overs and David Read (2-27) and Chris Meadows (2-11) taking 2 wickets apiece. The Bs certainly made a fight of it, though. Youngsters James Alcock (9.1-2-29-2) and Ben Johnson (9-2-14-1) and the more experienced Martin Alcock (10-1-13-2) and Fawad Kaiser (10-2-21-2) bowled brilliantly to keep the pressure on the home batsmen throughout the innings. The game was delicately poised until 26 from Matt Gander that included a four and 2 sixes proved decisive, Kirkley winning by 2 wickets in the 39th over.
The C Team elected to field first against Topcroft at the UEA and were doing pretty well with the visitors at 112-7 but the last 3 wickets added 85 runs to push the score on to 197 all out. 9th batsman Jake Stacey top-scored for Topcroft with 41 not out and the tail certainly ‘wagged' as Lee Ellis (16) and Jak Clarke (13) gave Stacey valuable support. Michael Ellis added a valuable 38 in the middle order. Charlie Hosmer (2-39) took 2 wickets on his senior debut and Melton's other young bowlers also enjoyed success with Millie Wimhurst taking 3 wickets, Harrison Cunningham 2 and Liam Stevens and Alice Greenslade 1 apiece. 197 was always likely to prove challenging at the UEA and so it proved. Harry Ryan scored 23, Charlie 17 and Millie 12 but Melton were bowled out for 97 to lose by 100 runs. Ellis took 4-13 and Mason Stacey 3-9 off 7 overs.
Player of the Weekend? Probably Josh Wright for the only half-century and a vital 2 wickets in the A Team's victory.