Melksham CC fought back from a tough start to record another brilliant victory, this time beating Goatacre 3s at home by a margin of 4 wickets.
Fielding first, bowlers Gary Ings and Andy Footner were able to pick up a wicket each as both Goatacre openers fell cheaply. A good start could have been even better if Goatacre’s number three Pete Turner had not been dropped by Chris Singh of just his second ball faced. Melksham were to quickly rue this missed opportunity, with a grateful Turner making good use of his luck as he immediately started to smash boundaries on a regular basis. Ings was the primary victim of this blitz, who three overs into his spell had already conceded an astonishing 43 runs. Turner’s partner Luke Stoneham was also in the mood for runs, and between them the duo blasted their side to 150-2 in just 20 overs.
With Turner quickly bringing up his century from just 59 balls, Melksham appeared ready to throw in the towel as Goatacre looked set to post a colossal total. However up stepped Tom Wallis in the field. First, he was able to run out Stoneham with a direct hit for 39. Then 5 overs later he crucially caught Turner (who finished on 117) in the deep of the bowling of Chris Long.
These two key dismissals change the entire complexion of the innings, as Melksham suddenly went onto the front foot and tore through a weak Goatacre lower order, conceding few further runs in the process. Chris Long and Chris Singh profited as they took 3 and 2 wickets respectively. Gary Ings was also reintroduced into the attack, and in stark contrast to his earlier spell bowled 4 consecutive maidens while taking a further 2 wickets. A relieved Melksham were able to finish off Goatacre for 201 of 36 overs, providing themselves with a challenging but achievable target.
The early dismissal of Daniel Carpenter for just 5 proved to be of little concern, as Wallis and Matt Hunt knuckled down and diligently pushed to score along to 77-1 after 19 overs. Both were then dismissed in the 20th over (Wallis for 39 and Hunt for 26), to give Goatacre a route back into the match, with run scoring burden now falling upon Skipper Joe Veacock and Collins. Veacock was soon caught behind, scoring 20 off just 17 balls, giving Goatacre further hope.
Collins was then joined by Singh, who quickly pushed the scoring along. Both batsman regularly found the boundary as they set about seeing their side home, with Goatacre becoming increasingly despondent as the fielding side were forced into errors by some quick running between the wickets. Collins was bowled for 43 with score at 173-5 in the 33rd over, but Singh was unrelenting. He eventually saw his side home, scoring an unbeaten on 51 off just 35 balls, and cementing his side’s place at the top of the Division 5 table.
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Match report by Dan Carpenter.