Double joy for Melton's Wood

RICHARD Wood notched up his fifth league century for Great Melton and shared in a new club record partnership for the second wicket of 200 with Kunal Khanna (73), in Melton's impressive nine wicket victory over Old Buckenham A.

RICHARD Wood notched up his fifth league century for Great Melton and shared in a new club record partnership for the second wicket of 200 with Kunal Khanna (73), in Melton's impressive nine wicket victory over Old Buckenham A.

But it was the home side's bowling that set up the victory and, in particular, Michael Sibert who caught the eye with 6 for 68 on debut.

The visitors were invited to bat on a flat wicket that offered very little for seam bowlers but Melton's experienced new-ball partnership of Neil Hubbard and Mark Scott started well to restrict the run rate to less than three in the first 10 overs.

Whilst there was precious little assistance for seamers, the surface offered plenty for spin bowlers and in Khanna and Sibert, Melton have two that look threatening and posed problems for the Old Buck's batsmen from the off.

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Khanna's "skiddy" style and Sibert's appreciable turn worked well in tandem and whilst Khanna had two very good shouts for lbw turned down, it was Sibert who made the breakthrough when Banham (38) tried to turn a leg break into the on side but got a leading edge to Neil Hubbard and mid on. Veteran opener John Lund (38), who never sells his wicket cheaply, looked steady and assured against Khanna but less so Sibert and cut a ball that he couldn't keep down to gully where Mark Scott took a comfortable catch.

Buck's batsman Braans never settled and was beaten four times in an over by Khanna before Sibert, who was less economical but more threatening than his leg spinner counterpart, dismissed him to pick up his third wicket and when former Melton player Sam Mann played an ugly shot and was bowled by Sibert too,

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Bucks were in difficulty at 107 for 4 in the 27th over. Former East Harling player John Briggs offered resistance with 47 but wickets continued to fall around him and all to Sibert as he went through the Bucks middle order to claim 6 for 68.

Sensing an opportunity to restrict the visitors to less than 200 on a good wicket and fast outfield Melton returned to their most experienced bowlers in Neil Hubbard and Mark Scott, who both picked up a wicket a piece, but when Khanna was re-introduced and bowled Briggs, the innings lost momentum and closed at 198 for 9, which looked very much below par for the surface and was testament to the home sides accurate bowling and good ground fielding.

In reply, Melton lost opener Marcus Godbold (0) early when he fenced at one from another former Melton player Duncan Osborne, and was caught at gully.

However Kunal Khanna and Richard Wood took control and some well judged running between the wickets kept the scoreboard ticking over at a healthy rate. Wood grew in confidence and started to regain the touch of the past two seasons with some trademark drives down the ground, and some lovely clips through the on side, Khanna too benefitted from time at the crease and notwithstanding a broken bat he made his maiden half century for the club to cap a very good all-round performance.

As the Bucks' bowlers wilted in the heat, Wood took control and moved to his century by punishing Osborne for drifting into his pads and lifted the ball over square leg for successive boundaries, the latter a maximum, and then as the young bowler over compensated he was cracked through the covers.

Khanna sealed the win though and gained the fifth batting point with a boundary, which earned Melton a comprehensive victory, and saw their early season lead at the top of Division Four increase.

Great Melton beat Old Buckenham by 9 wickets at Great Melton in Norfolk Alliance Division Four

Old Buckenham: Banham c Hubbard b Sibert 38, Lund c Scott b Sibert 38, Braans c Cook b Sibert 9, Mann b Sibert 6, Briggs b Khanna 47, Thompson b Sibert 14, Dunnett not out 17, Alexander b Hubbard 11, Lincoln b Scott 1, Osborne not out 1; extras 16. Total (9 wkts) 198. Bowling: N Hubbard 12-3-43-1, M Scott 10-1-36-1, K Khanna 12-2-45-1, M Sibert 12-0-68-6.

Great Melton: R Wood not out 100, M Godbold c Briggs b Osborne 0, K Khanna not out 73; extras 28. Total (1 wkt) 201.

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