By Dan Carpenter
Melksham 1s finally claimed their first win of the season with a 14-run win at home to Marlborough 2s, with batsman Matt Hunt playing the starring role with a crucial century.
For the third week in the row Melksham’s innings, having won the toss and chosen to bat, got off to another catastrophic start when Daniel Carpenter and Russell Collins were both sent back to the pavilion within the first two overs; leaving their side on 3-2. Opener Hunt and captain Joe Veacock were subsequently given the task of saving the innings in the opening stages. Initially the duo succeeded, quickly reaching 38-2 after 8 overs. However, proceedings turned sour once again when Veacock -bowled for 18 trying to play across the line- and then Jack Footner met their demises in the 9th over to leave Melksham 40-4.
Top-order survivor Hunt was now joined by Chris Long in what proved to be the key partnership of the game. Hunt refused to let the situation daunt him, regularly dispatching the Marlborough bowlers to the boundary whilst also being aided by some poor fielding. Long showed far less proclivity for run scoring but performed an equally pivotal role defending his wicket. The two batsmen steadily steered their side away from trouble, reaching 150-4 in the 32nd over before Long was dismissed for a handy 18.
With Hunt well placed on 81, he went on to breeze towards what would be a match-defining hundred; eventually finishing on 130 not out. His Heroics, along with a cameo from Sean Hooper (8) and some disciplined batting from youngster Freddie Honeybone (4 not out), helped the home side to a total of 226-6 and a first realistically competitive total of the season.
As the Marlborough response began the Melksham bowlers were able to keep the flow of runs below the required rate, but as the overs went by became increasingly flustered by their inability to remove the opening batsmen. Chris Long, Andy Footner and Gary Ings all came and went from the attack with the Marlborough openers still occupying the crease. it wouldn’t be until the 25th over that a wicket was finally claimed, when a crucial catch in the deep from Jack Footner off Joe Veacock’s bowling made the score 95-1.
With their opponents well behind the rate but with plenty of wickets in hand, Melksham entered a key period of not just the game but perhaps the season with the intention of shutting out the opposition’s supply of runs. Not until the 33rd over when wickets began to tumble regularly was a first victory of the season seemingly in sight.
Events threated to take a heart-breaking turn however when Marlborough batsman H. Yuyaraj unleashed a devasting salvo, smashing a quick-fire 43 to suddenly render his side within touching distance of the target. With 4 balls left of the innings, tensions were finally alleviated when Russell Collins held his nerve to take a high catch; Marlborough’s reply petering out to fall 14 runs short. With Veacock (2-30) and Jack Footner (2-45) finishing with the best figures, a relieved Melksham were able to depart the pitch having finally got their division 4 campaign up and running at the third time of asking.
Melksham Cricket Club would like to thank The Cobblers Bench Melksham for their kind sponsorship of this match.