By Jonny House
Melksham 2nd XI flying start to their division 9 season continued despite being made to work hard for their victory which sees them maintain their 100% winning start.
Captain for the day Tim Edwards loss the toss and Melksham were put into bat on what would prove to be a testing outfield. Roy Veacock and Chris Long opened the batting in steady fashion however Veacock was caught behind prematurely on 3. This brought in Edwards who, after last weeks 50, wanted to put in another fine batting display. However, this was cut short and was similarly caught behind and dismissed for 4. This brought Gareth Evans to the crease, playing his first game for the club in 10 years, who opened up and increased the run rate with a string of fine shots that found the boundary. He was supported well by Chris Long as they went on to achieve a 50+ partnership. Like his predecessors in the batting line up, Evans was also caught behind and fell just shy of his 50 (48).
Dan Watts, making his first appearance of the season, was next in and picked up where Evans left off. Long saw his finely built innings come to an end as he was bowled on 29. Laurence Martin and Tim Cundick would both come in but couldn’t add much to Melksham’s score as Martin was bowled for 9 and Cundick was stumped on 1. Max Shackleford then joined Watts at the crease and picked up some quick fire runs. Watts saw himself put in a fine performance to reach 30 before being stumped. This then brought Abi Footner to the crease who quickly got off the mark but fell to a catch of the season contender on 1. Debutant and son of Gareth, Finn Evans then came in and looked solid in his first game of adult cricket. Shackleford was caught on 13 which lead to fielding specialist Jonny House coming into bat. House and Evans junior would almost see out the innings but Evans was bowled for 1, leaving House 1 not out and Melksham given the task of defending 170.
After tea was enjoyed in some delightful May sunshine with a scattering of clouds for company, Melksham then went out to take the the field. Chris Long and Tim Cundick were given the opportunity to open the bowling and Melksham soon had Devizes on 46-5 which included Long bowling out his 9 overs for 4 runs and 3 wickets, which included 5 maidens. Cundick from the other end took 2 wickets from his opening spell of 7 overs. Roy Veacock, meanwhile, had joined the bowling attack but didn’t get the impact his bowling deserved.
At this point, Devizes’ 6th wicket partnership, which would go on to make just over 100 runs, was beginning to frustrate the melksham field. Some sloppy mistakes on the field and the occasional loose ball was consistently punished and towards the end of the partnership, the 2 batsmen looked as though they would see their team victory. However, Captain Edwards got the breakthrough Melksham desperately needed as he delivered the ball that saw the excellent Moore (51) caught superbly by specialist fielder Jonny House to break the 6th wicket partnership. This would prove to be the turning point that would see Melksham through to victory as wickets from Laurence Martin (2), Abi Footner, and Gareth Evans saw the 2nd XI bowl Devizes out for 166, just 5 runs short of victory. This sparked some jubilant scenes, possibly out of relief as well as joy. Cundick completed his 9 overs with 2 wickets for 30 runs, Edwards finished with figures of 1 for 47 off of 9, Footner finished with figures of 1 for 6 off of 3, Martin finished with figures of 2 for 14 off of 2 and Evans got 1 wicket in 5 balls for 2 runs.
Melksham 2nd XI face an away trip to Winsley 3rd XI next week, looking to continue their 100% winning start to the season.