By Dan Carpenter
Melksham 2nds celebrated their first league fixture with an impressive 71-run win over Calne 3rds, with debutant Tom Bew stealing the show with a brilliant 143.
A historic day for the Cricket Club initially threatened to turn into a nightmare. Dan Carpenter (0) Roy Veacock (4) and Russell Collins (10) were all sent back to the pavilion in quick succession to leave Melksham perilously poised on 26-3; skipper-for-the-day Bew and Paul Watts now left with the responsibility of clawing their side back from the brink of catastrophe.
Bew wasted little time showing his new team mates what he could do with bat, consistently finding the boundary with some impressive stroke play as he raced to his fifty. Watts found runs far harder to come by but performed an equally important job defending his wicket to help stabilize the Melksham innings. He was bowled for 4 to leave Melksham with a far healthier total of 82 for 4 off 22 overs.
Bew continued to rack up the runs in unrelenting style, now joined by a succession of partners from the both the middle and the lower order. Sean Hooper (11) was top-scorer out of the remaining batsmen; whilst the star man reaching the hundred-milestone before continuing to sail on. He hammered his way to 143 in a display featuring 18 fours and 3 sixes, before being dismissed as the last-wicket; Melksham finishing 209 all out after 39.3 overs to set Calne a very challenging run-chase.
The team’s reply began in economical style. Stalwart Andy Footner showed his class to finish with a tight spell of 2-22 off 9 overs, with fellow opener Carpenter bowling a mostly consistent spell to concede just 32 off his 9 overs despite also finishing wicketless. The duo successfully heaped the pressure on the Calne batting order with the home-side lagging behind with 55-2 after 18 overs.
The batting side continued to scrape out runs but were never able score sufficiently quick enough for Melksham to feel concerned. In a side stacked with players making their first competitive appearances for the club, debutants Tim Stephens (1-24 off 6) and Tim Cundick (2-26 off 9) impressed with the ball as Melksham continued to remain on the front foot. Veteran Veacock also shone with the ball, finishing with figures of 2-9 off 7, as Calne’s innings fizzled out in the later stages.
With Keeper Collins and Hooper claiming two catches each in the field, a satisfied 2nd XI walked off the pitch having restricted their opponents to 138-7 off 45 overs and having claimed a win which gets their Division 9 campaign off to the best possible start.