By Dan Carpenter
Melksham Cricket Club’s slump in form continued with a heavy 109-run defeat at home to Erlestoke.
Winning the toss and electing to bowl first, the visitors were left stunned when in only the second over Melksham skipper Joe Veacock claimed a double wicket maiden. This early setback did little to derail Erlestoke though who, thanks to 3rd wicket pairing Mike Barton and Joe Maloney, quickly set about going on the offensive. The pair bludgeoned their way to a speedy 111-run partnership inside the first 20 overs, before Maloney was bowled by Chris Singh just 1 run shy of a half century. This served only to bring star man Joe Dorgan to the crease, who initially played a supporting role to the Barton. The later continued his assault on the Melksham bowling, with the fielding side becoming increasing disconsolate until Barton was finally dismissed; caught on the boundary for 69, leaving the score at 150-4 after 26 overs. Melksham did subsequently enjoy something of a resurgence in the field, doing well to keep Dorgan at the non-striker’s end whilst attacking the lower order batsmen who now joined him. Singh (3-42), along with Chris Long and Jack Footner, led the charge as the home side successfully reduced the run rate during the next 15 overs. However Long and Footner, along with their fielders, were made to endure retched last 5 overs as Dorgan suddenly went on a ballistic rampage. He hammered his way to 122 not-out as he surged his side to 299-8 at the close of the innings, setting Melksham a extremely difficult target to chase.
Melksham’s response, whilst not quite keeping up the monumental required run-rate, did initially begin in solid fashion. Daniel Carpenter led the charge as his side reached 64-1 before, on the last ball of the 15th over, he was trapped LBW for 30. His dismissal triggered yet another batting collapse for Melksham, with Russell Collins (13), Joe Veacock (4) and Chris Singh (0) all being sent back to the pavilion in quick succession. With the score now 72-5 Melksham now looked set for another low total. Jack Footner refused to be daunted by his side’s perilous position though. He quickly set about punishing some increasingly wayward Erlestoke bowling, smashing his way to a rapid 40 off just 32 balls. His eventual dismissal, along with those of Chris Long (12) and Sean Hooper (3), still left Melksham at grave risk of not at least posting a respectable total. Tail-enders Gary Ings and Freddie Honeybone came in and accomplished just that however. Ings followed in a similar fashion to Footner, hitting 39 off 44 balls whilst Honeybone dug in for a resilient 10 not out, posting a 9th wicket partnership of 62 to help steer their side to 190 all out after 43.4 overs. Despite ending the innings on a positive note, Melksham still fell well short of their target, and a third successive defeat now firmly leaves any title aspirations in tatters.
Melksham Cricket Club would like to thank Auto-Tech Melksham Ltd for their continued support.