Phoenix rise to challenge

Alex Cooper scored 55 to see Melton Phoenix through to the final of the Junior Carter Cup, victory over Hales Herd coming with just three balls remaining.

Alex Cooper scored 55 to see Melton Phoenix through to the final of the Junior Carter Cup, victory over Hales Herd coming with just three balls remaining.

Melton's U17 side beat Hales by seven wickets at Melton Park.

Overnight and early-morning rain saw the other semi-final between Dereham and Downham and Stow postponed but, thanks to the sterling work of groundsman Mike Phoenix, Melton's game went ahead although it was reduced to 25 overs.

Hales batted first and good bowling and fielding by Melton saw them bowled out for 117.


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M Parkin top-scored with 33 and there were good contributions from R Anderson (19), J Wright (16) and R Mattocks (14) but economical bowling by Jake Mardell (5-0-17-0), George Bunn (4-0-18-1) and Duncan Osborne (4-1-10-2), in particular, kept the pressure on and Viv Sharma (3-1-12-3), Callum Cameron (4-0-23-1) and Nathan Devlin (3.5-0-25-2) picked up wickets late on as Hales tried to accelerate.

Alex Cooper and Owen Taylor (14) then gave Melton a good start with a half-century opening stand but the scoring slowed a little in the middle part of the innings as R Mattocks claimed two wickets.

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Cooper reached a well-made fifty before being dismissed and it was left to skipper Marcus Godbold (7 not out) and Vivek Sharma (6 not out) to see the Phoenix to victory, Sharma playing a lovely shot through mid-wicket off Anderson to spark the celebrations.

It is Melton's second county final in two years and is testament to the strength of the club's junior section and the hard work of co-ordinator David Bunn and the other coaches.

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