Gt Melton CC round-up

League leaders Great Melton recorded their seventh victory of the season over Halvergate to strengthen their position at the top of Division Four.The visitors batted first on an excellent surface and quick outfield but the Melton opening bowlers, Neil Hubbard and Mark Scott did a fine job of restricting the flow of runs and with Hubbard removing Hill for 0, the home side were on top from the beginning; at the first drinks interval of 15 overs Halvergate were 43 for 1.

League leaders Great Melton recorded their seventh victory of the season over Halvergate to strengthen their position at the top of Division Four.

The visitors batted first on an excellent surface and quick outfield but the Melton opening bowlers, Neil Hubbard and Mark Scott did a fine job of restricting the flow of runs and with Hubbard removing Hill for 0, the home side were on top from the beginning; at the first drinks interval of 15 overs Halvergate were 43 for 1.

Crane survived the new ball and then looked to cash in on some uncharacteristic wayward bowling from Josh Wilson but upon the introduction of Melton's spin duo of Michael Sibert and Ollie Harris, the home side took control of the game.

Sibert turned the ball appreciably and with good variety and control, the leg spinner taunted the batsmen who had very little idea how to play him.

Left hander Crane, who had moved to 49 and hit nine boundaries along the way, attempted flick Sibert's strongly spun delivery into the on side but was excellently caught by Richard Wood at slip and that firmly shifted the momentum in Melton's direction as not only did wickets start to fall at regular intervals but no batsman scored quickly enough when they were in.

Ollie Harris removed Cooke, Clarke, Shepstone and Utting to leave Halvergate in tatters and with Sibert adding the wickets of Howley, Mills and Cole the visitors were left grimly batting for bonus points, or so Melton thought.

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Bizarrely the last-wicket pair of Austin and Booth made no attempt to score runs and turned down singles preferring to preserve their wicket but achieve nothing for their efforts - the innings closed on 145 for 9, which was very much on the low side at Melton Park but was also a credit to the bowling and fielding of the home side. Sibert recorded 4-30 and Harris 4-25.

In reply, Halvergate picked up the prize wicket of Richard Wood for just 12 but Marcus Godbold took the attack to the Halvergate bowling.

His first seven scoring shots were all boundaries and with Alex Cooper at the other end they set about flaying the bowling around the ground.

The scoreboard rattled on to 108 in the 17th over when Godbold was run out for 42. Cooper (67no) however remained and together with Josh Wilson they saw Melton to a comfortable victory eight wicket in just 27 overs.

Halvergate: S Cooke b Harris 32, P Hill b Hubbard 0, T Crane c Wood b Sibert 49, S Clarke c Cooper b Harris 0, M Shepston c Clarke b Harris 19, S Hawley b Sibert 0, C Mills c-b Sibert, A Cole c Harris b Sibert 7, N Austin not out 1, S Utting lbw Harris 0, A Booth not out 4; extras 23. Total (9 wkts) 145. Bowling: N Hubbard 11-3-26-1, M Scott 8-0-32-0, J Wilson 3-0-21-0, M Sibert 12-3-30-4, O Harris 12-5-25-4.

Great Melton: R Wood c-b Crane 12, A Cooper not out 67, M Godbold run out 42, J Wilson not out 14; extras 14. Total (2 wkts) 149.

Rocklands (18 pts) had a winning draw with Great Melton A (8 pts) at Rocklands in the Frankly Digital Norfolk Cricket Alliance Division Five.

A good overall team performance provided an interesting and thrilling finish to Melton A's encounter at Rocklands but a win still eluded Melton who had to be content with a losing draw.

On a sweltering day, Rocklands chose to bat after winning the toss but excellent opening spells from Navin Sharma and Jack McCurley saw great pressure applied to the Rocklands top order, and both openers were back in the pavilion early after Navin Sharma had removed them. Rockland skipper Defoe survived early what the Melton catching cordon felt was an excellent shout for a catch off his gloves and with the help of G Mann, he was able to rebuild his team's Innings.

In the stifling heat, Melton's bowlers wilted and were changed regularly. Ian Bettridge unusually struggled with his rhythm and Ryan Hayward bowled very well but was unlucky as he was bowling when Rocklands started to push their score along.

George Bunn again looked dangerous after some initially wayward deliveries and was unlucky as yet another catch was dropped off his bowling. Paul Stearman also bowled well and removed the Rocklands' skipper just before his first milestone. Melton's fielding and bowling was tidy and an excellent effort considering the conditions.

Navin Sharma and Jack McCurley once again bowled excellently with some very intelligent 'death bowling' restricting boundaries with the help of some excellent fielding.

During the interval, given recent batting performances, Melton were quietly optimistic of being able to achieve the target of 231. However the wagon came off the tracks early on with both openers being removed unusually early given their recent form, Dave Allum for 1 and Jason Whiddett for 14.

There was a brief rebuilding phase between Neal Clarke and James Dorling but Dorling was caught from a skied top edge and Clarke stumped shortly after to leave Melton struggling on 55-4.

An excellent partnership then followed with Paul Stearman playing with typical aggression and Chris Elliott providing the perfect foil. Paul was dispatching anything remotely loose either to the boundary, or often over it despite the majority of Rocklands' fielders stationed on the rope.

The game seemed to be swinging back towards Melton when Paul was adjudged lbw to Richard Smith shortly after passing his 50. Chris Elliot marshalled the rest of the innings well and was notably supported by Ryan Hayward who chipped in with a cameo innings, and was unlucky when run out as the pressure to try and win the game and the run rate was mounting.

Chris once again showed how the innings could be built around his dependable batting and surprised a number of the Melton players when he pointed out after the game that his innings was his maiden Alliance half century.

Unfortunately he went towards the end of the innings leaving Jack McCurley and Ian Bettridge needing 17 from the last two overs to reach the then realistic target of 90 per cent to gain more points from a draw. Despite boundaries from both of them, the innings fell short of the target but Melton still attained a losing draw finishing on 203.

Melton A now move to a crucial period in their fixtures, and hopefully given the improvements in the fielding and the bowling, and with the top order firing again, some of the close losses or draws will hopefully be converted into wins during the next few matches.

Rocklands: S Mann c Stearman b Sharma 11, J Noonan c Dorling b Sharma 1, W Defoe c Dorling b Stearman 47, G Mann c Allum b McCurley 74, S Halls not out 49, M Mann not out 11; extras 37. Total (4 wkts) 230. Bowling: N Sharma 10-1-41-2, Jack McCurley 10-1-41-1, I Bettridge 5-0-30-0, R Hayward 6-1-34-0, G Bunn 8-1-39-0, P Stearman 7-1-38-1,

Great Melton A: J Whiddett c-b Lancaster 14, D Allum c Defoe b Dodson 1, N Clarke st Defoe b Pearce 23, J Dorling c G Mann b Lancaster 17, C Elliott c M Mann b Smith 58, P Stearman lbw b Smith 55, G Bunn c S Mann b Abel 4, N Sharma lbw Smith 1, R Hayward run out 16, J McCurley not out 4, I Bettridge not out 9; extras 4. Total (9 wkts) 203.

Great Melton C continued their climb up the Division Seven table with their third successive victory, bowling out visitors Shipdham in 22 overs before knocking off the runs before tea. Daniel Hayward did the damage with the ball, taking 4-18, after Shipdham skipper Nigel Raven had won the toss and elected to bat. Kyle Mason struck first, having Parfitt brilliantly caught one-handed at slip by Kevin Frazer then removing Hawes to a catch by Joe Bickel, but he struggled with his length and, after conceding 23 runs off his three overs was replaced in the attack by Leo DeSalis. P.Dodd (30) and M.Copplestone (30) then put together the most productive partnership of the innings but Dodd fell to a stumping by Steve Clarke off DeSalis and Copplestone was bowled by Simon Brett (1-27) to leave Melton firmly in control. The tail fell away as Hayward took over and, helped by another excellent one-handed catch by young Michael Farmer, Hayward returned excellent figures of 6-3-18-4, his best in senior cricket, as Shipdham were dismissed for 111, Bickel being rewarded for his enthusiasm in the field with the final wicket of O Shaw.

The skippers agreed to play 15 overs of Melton's reply before tea but, helped by a succession of byes and wides, Melton got off to a flier, Michael Farmer (19) and Steve Clarke (11) scoring 42 off the first five overs before Farmer was bowled. Clarke went to a caught behind and, although Raven dismissed Moxon (10), Frazer (0) and Spalding (1) in a spell of 7-3-14-3, Simon Brett stood firm. With the score at 89-4 at 15 overs, it was decided to finish the game before tea and skipper Steve Phoenix (14no) joined Brett (28no) to knock off the remaining runs by the 22nd over and give Melton C 23 points.

Great Melton C (23 pts) beat Shipdham A (4 pts) by five wickets at the UEA in the Lucas and Fettes Norfolk League Division Seven

Shipdham A: S Parfitt c Frazer b Mason 6, P Dodd st Clarke b DeSalis 30, B Haynes c Bickel b Mason 0, M Copplestone b Brett 30, H Pledger c Farmer b Hayward 6, A Friend run out 4, N Raven b Hayward 12, J Friend not out 1, T Shaw c Farmer b Hayward 8, J Jarvis st Clarke b Hayward 0, O Shaw b Bickel 6; extras 8. Total 111. Bowling: K Mason 3-0-23-2, S Brett 6-0-27-1, L DeSalis 8-0-34-1, D Hayward 6-3-18-4, J Bickel 1.3-1-7-1.

Great Melton C: S Clarke c T Shaw b J Friend 11, M Farmer b O Shaw 19, S Brett not out 28, J Moxon c O Shaw b Raven 10, K Frazer b Raven 0, O Spalding b Raven 1, S Phoenix not out 14; extras 32. Total (5 wkts) 115. O Shaw 4-0-31-1, J Friend 5-1-10-1, N Raven 7-3-14-3, M Copplestone 5-0-24-0, B Haynes 0.2-0-6-0.

Great Melton U15 lost to Garboldisham U15 by 18 runs at Melton Park in the South Norfolk Community League

Melton U15 fell short by 18 runs in attempting to overhaul Garboldisham's impressive 137-3, being bowled out for 119 after a gallant effort built around Toby Wyatt's 36.

Joe Bickel struck a bright and breezy 16 after Allin had removed Melton's key batsman George King for 8.

Melton were always slightly behind the run rate and the game ended in bizarre fashion when Wyatt, needing to score 19 off the final over, skied a beamer up in the air and was caught by the wicket-keeper.

He assumed he was out and left his crease. There then followed a very late shout of 'no ball' from the umpire, after which the wicketkeeper threw down the stumps and Wyatt was run out!

It made little difference to the result as it was unlikely Melton would have got the 19 runs and Garboldisham deserved to win as Melton's bowling had been rather erratic with too many wides and short balls.

Taylor profited most scoring 49 before being caught and bowled by Stuart Wilson off the last ball of the innings. J Seaman hit 29 not out and M Allin and J Paul 16 and 15 respectively.

All the bowlers proved rather expensive. The visitors' J Seaman returned the best match figures of 2-22 in his three overs.