Stearman Pulls Melton From the Brink
GREAT MELTON (21 points) beat WINTERTON (4 points) by 3 wickets at Winterton in the Norfolk Alliance Division 3
It came as no surprise that the pitch was to play a prominent part in the match as Great Melton XI visited one of Norfolk’s cricketing hinterlands. In a week characterised by a distinctly autumn chill, and significant rain fall, there was always likely to be something going on which discouraged batsman. As it turned out, the irregularity of bounce was, at times, pretty extraordinary. With some balls staying on the ground and others, hitting a similar length, passing the batsman at head height.
Having said all that, those wielding the willow on both sides hardly did themselves justice, with only two batsman demonstrating any authority during the whole game. It was Paul Stearman who was to finally take the game by the scruff of the neck and in doing so dragged Melton back from the brink of what looked like being a highly embarrassing set back chasing only 103 to win the game.
Having lost a valuable toss, the game started promisingly for the home side. Opener Louie Stronach played several handsome strokes through the onside. He looked likely to play a highly significant innings in the context of the match until he played an overly ambitious slog sweep to one of the first few deliveries bowled by left arm spinner Alex Rennie. The resulting catching opportunity was taken by Clarke to remove Stronach for an aggressive 34. Unfortunately, Winterton had very little else to offer in the difficult conditions, and never looked likely to score a competitive total. Rennie finished an excellent spell with 3 for 22 from his 9 overs. Skipper Oliver Harris also picked up 2 wickets, with Richard Waddell also taking 3 for 34.
However, what Winterton lacked in ability with the bat, they made up for with enthusiasm in the field. The opening attack quickly took advantage of a helpful pitch to reduce Melton to 21 for 4, at which point an unlikely win for the home side looked a distinct possibility. David Adams was particularly unlucky to get a ball which pitched well short of a good length and hit the the base of the off stump. At this point, Paul Stearman arrived at the wicket and began to make batting look easy, with a number of well timed shots either straight or through the leg side. Supported by Richard Wood, Stearman was able to drag the scoreboard to 91 before falling to a catch off Ben Utting’s bowling for what turned out to be a game winning 47. However, there was still time for another wobble from Melton, until Connor White hit the winning runs with 7 wickets down.
In a very close league table, Melton have moved to second in the division.