By Dan Carpenter
Melksham CC rounded off their season in style with a dominant 76-run win over Purton 2s, piping both their opponents on the day as well as Erlestoke to a 2nd place finish in Division 5 to secure promotion for next season.
The home-side’s bid for glory got off to the worst possible start when Daniel Carpenter was caught behind at the conclusion of the first over. Tom Wallis and Matt Hunt refused to be daunted by this early setback though. They steadily got the innings back on track, but Purton quickly struck back by claiming the wicket of Wallis (27) to leave the score at 38-2. Hunt was then joined by skipper Joe Veacock, who at the key moment of the season was able to produce a true captains’ innings. Both Hunt and Veacock successfully used a sensible approach whilst also producing some trademark attacking shots when the situation allowed it, profiting particularly handsomely from the wayward bowling of Luke Roache (0-46). The duo went onto post a monumental 166 3rd wicket-stand before Veacock fell for a magnificent 95. Hunt departed soon after, finishing on 75, with the score now standing at a healthy 219-4. It was subsequently left for Jack Footner to continue the scoring in the last few overs. He blasted a quick-fire 30 to help see his side to a total of 252-6, leaving Purton with a mountain to climb if their own promotion aspirations were to be realised.
The away side’s reply got off to a promising start regardless, thanks to opening batsmen Sarosh Khan and Thisara Gedara. They calmly steered their side to 79 after 20 overs, but just before the halfway-mark Jack Footner was able to pluck an impressive caught and bowled chance to dismiss Gedara. Some suicidal running then allowed Daniel Carpenter to run-out Khan, helping to put the home-side back in the ascendancy. Regular wickets then began to follow with Chris Long leading the charge; capping of personally impressive season with another 3 wickets. However, despite having effectively secured the win, the bowlers now had a larger context to think about. Word filtered through that Erlestoke had secured an impressive 8 wicket win, which by virtue of the bonus points system meant that Melksham would need to take all 10 Purton wickets in order to secure promotion. The fielding side kept their nerve, maintaining the regular stream of wickets thanks to Gary Ings, Jack Footner and Joe Veacock who all took further wickets in the closing stages. Nevertheless, going into a tense penultimate over Melksham still needed 1 more wicket. With the entire field now in close eager to claim a winning catch, Youngster Harrison Burridge successfully frustrated the bowler Veacock during the first 5 balls of the over. Then on the final ball he presented a chance to Matt Hunt to make himself the hero. He gratefully took it, sending the home-side into delirium as the promotion prize was clenched, brining to an end a long but ultimately successful campaign.
Melksham Cricket Club would like to thank Auto-Tech Melksham Ltd for their continued support.