By Dan Carpenter
Melksham 1stXI got their season off to disastrous start in their opening fixture at home to Wanborough, with the good work of the bowlers in the 1st innings being squandered by the batsmen in a tight, low-scoring affair.
The season curtain-raiser began in solid fashion thanks to Matt Lee and Andy Footner. The duo gave the Wanborough batsmen very few opportunities in a brilliant display of opening bowling which, along with some disciplined fielding, restricted the visitors to a mere 20 runs from the first 10 overs. Lee would later claim a wicket as the hosts continued to maintain the squeeze, aided by a slow wicket which throughout the course of the day would prove to be very difficult to score runs on.
Liam Merrett, on his competitive start for the club, and Gary Ings were then introduced into the attack; with the two maintaining the low run rate.
Eventually the pressure told, and wickets began to fall regularly to leave Wanborough in deep trouble. Merrett impressed on debut with 2 for 16 of 9 overs, but it was Ings who would emerge pick-of-the-bowlers with impressive figures of 4 for 12 off his 9 overs. With Jack Footner also swooping in with 2 more wickets, Wanborough eventually whimpered to just 82 all out after 42.3 overs.
Ostensibly the run-chase should have been a formality, but the Melksham batsmen knew that on a difficult track that would not be the case. Openers Matt Hunt and Dan Carpenter began the innings in a similar vain to their Wanborough counterparts, with Carpenter having a particularly hard time picking the gaps in the field. They nevertheless made steady progress on their way towards the target with a score of 21 for no loss after 10 overs.
From that point the innings would soon unravel. First Hunt was bowled for 13, followed swiftly by Carpenter falling victim to a brilliantly taken caught-and-bowled chance. The collapse then deepened further when Ed Skippings suffered a direct hit run-out; before Jack Footner was unfortunate to be dismissed to an even better taken caught-and-bowled opportunity. Suddenly Melksham were left in a heap of trouble on 29-4.
Skipper Joe Veacock, joined by Liam Merrett, began a valiant effort to rebuild the innings. The two managed to steer their side to a stronger position of 53, with Melksham perhaps now believing that they were reasserting control of the match. The quick dismissals of Merrett (5) and then Veacock- who top scored in the match with 25- would emphatically quash these hopes, with Wanborough now back in the ascendency. The bowling side then brutally swept aside the tail, with only Tom Wallis (9 not out) providing any sustained resistance, to leave a disconsolate Melksham all out for 72 and reeling from a very disappointing opening day defeat.
Melksham Cricket Club would like to thank The Conigre for their kind sponsorship of this match.