By Dan Carpenter
Melksham 2s registered a massive win in their Division 9 top-of-the-table clash against Devizes, with the meeting of the two teams producing yet another thrilling contest.
Winning the toss and electing to bat first, the game could barely have got off to a worse start for the visitors: Tom Watling (0) and Tim Edwards (1) were both dismissed early to leave Melksham on 6-2 inside 4 overs. Fortunately, Roy Veacock and Daniel Carpenter were on hand to rescue the side from their early predicament. After playing cautiously for a few overs as they got to grips with the pitch, the batsmen eventually went on the front foot and steered their side to a healthy 72 runs after 16 overs.
Veacock was caught behind soon after for 24, ending a crucial 77-run 3rd wicket partnership, but his departure only briefly stifled the run rate as Carpenter continued to accumulate the runs in his absence. His new partner, Sean Hooper, sadly could not build on a solid start when he went for just 8; but this only served to bring Ryan Brown to the crease. Carpenter reached his fifty soon after Brown’s arrival, whilst the new man in quickly impressed with some impressive hitting.
The incumbent batsmen continued to pillage the runs at a healthy rate, pushing Melksham’s total towards 177 by the 37th over, before Carpenter fell victim to a stumping: ending an innings defining knock of 75 as well as a 62-run stand with Brown. The remaining batsman was then bowled for 34, precipitating a relatively quite final few overs of the innings. Nevertheless, Melksham managed to crawl themselves to 200 runs exactly for the loss of 8 wickets come the end of the innings; giving themselves a solid total to defend.
As Devizes began their run chase, Melksham sadly could not get a crucial early breakthrough as the opposition batsmen hit the accelerator early; reaching 40 runs inside the first 10 overs. Only then did Tom Watling claim his side’s first wicket, but Devizes continued their steady progress. Main man for Devizes Richard Mansell led the charge for his team, with his side reaching 96-1 after 22 overs.
Batting hero Carpenter was then introduced into the attack, and after a few loose balls early on was able to get a couple of breakthroughs to thrust his side back into the match. Mansell still remained however, but Melksham wisely opted to do everything they could to deny him the strike. With this the Devizes run-rate began to drop, and subsequently the pressure began to increase. Carpenter claimed another wicket – finishing with decent figures of 3-33 off 9 – to keep his side momentum going; and with Roy Veacock also claiming a wicket, Devizes were seriously flagging on 136-5 still needing 65 runs off the last 10 overs.
Abi Footner and Ryan Brown were handed the ball as the match entered its climax, and the former did not disappoint when she dismissed Mansell for 63 to put the away side well on top. The remaining Devizes batsmen tried their best to knock off the remaining runs, but Melksham were able to hold their nerve in the field. Come the end of play they claimed a 10-run victory, a victory that sees them build on their lead at the top of the division 9 table to continue a what has proved to be a very successful debut season for the team.