By Dan Carpenter
Melksham CC maintained their lead at the top of the Division 5 table with a narrow 25 run win at home to bottom of the table Royal Wootton Bassett 3s.
Losing the toss and forced to bat first in conditions that favoured the bowlers, Melksham soon found themselves in the somewhat precarious position of 44-2 after 12 overs. However, Ed Skippings and Joe Veacock were able to push their side on to a more secure footing. Skippings vigilantly held up one end, whilst skipper Veacock continued in a similar vein to his heroics from the previous week, scoring a belligerent 50 of just 39 balls before being caught out in the 21st over, leaving his side on 119-3. Skippings continued his dogged work at the crease, now joined by Chris Singh. They pushed the total on further towards 146-4 before Singh was dismissed for 15. Suddenly Skippings found himself helplessly looking on as Wootton Bassett made light work of the lower middle order, with Melksham losing their next 3 wickets for just 2 runs. Skippings continued to defy the bowlers for a while but eventually was dismissed just short of a half century for 47, with Melksham eventually finished off for a somewhat below par 176 all out inside 36.2 overs.
Bassett openers Tahir Hanif and David Griffin were quickly out of the blocks in their response, attacking Melksham’s bowler duo of Gary Ings and Matt Lee. The batting side quickly raced to 68 inside 13 overs, well ahead of the required run rate. However, the introduction of Chris Long and Chris Singh into the bowling attack would prove to change everything. Long dismissed both Hanif (40) and Griffin (26), the latter departing after a controversial LBW decision. Subsequently the flood gates opened as the two bowlers tore through the Bassett middle order. The Melksham fielders also played their part, supporting Long (4-33) and Singh (3-38) with some reliable catching to leave their opposition reeling on 103-7. After the first change bowlers had used up their allotted overs the opening partnership of Ings and Lee were reintroduced into the attack, picking up a wicket each to leave Melksham on the verge of victory with Bassett struggling on 125-9. Basset’s 10th wicket partnership of Dylan Evans (6 not out) and Tari Dogra (16) were able to drag the innings out though, gradually adding 26 runs to their sides total to allow a few nerves to creep into the fielding side. Skipper Veacock quickly remedied this, bringing himself into the attack and bowling Dogra to secure a well-earned victory for his side.
The club would like to thank sponsors Auto-Tech Melksham Ltd for their continued support.