Melksham 1st XI overturned their poor batting performances this season with a brilliant 42 run win over title challengers Wroughton Wranglers; Matt Hunt and Jack Footner the star men.
On a hot day up at the Melksham House, captain Joe Veacock won the toss and elected to bat first in the hope that Melksham could put their recent disastrous batting displays behind them. Melksham were boosted with the availability of star batsman Matt Hunt who opened the batting with Chris Long. The opening bowlers for Wroughton bowled a consistently tidy line and did not offer much to the Melksham batsmen, only being able to punish the occasional loose ball; Melksham scoring a steady 69 for 0 after 23 overs before losing opening Chris Long for 18 in the next over.
Captain Joe Veacock then decided to send in all rounder Jack Footner in the hope of quickly upping the run rate and building on the solid start to the Melksham innings. This was to be the case, with Footner hitting two fours in his first five deliveries. However, the runs soon dried up for Footner, who decided to play the sensible approach and back up opener Matt Hunt who was now freely scoring runs to all areas of the ground, including several massive sixes. Matt Hunt now brought up another 50, the 3rd time this season he had reached this total in only 6 matches. The Wroughton bowling had become much more wayward at this point, with Matt Hunt and Jack Footner taking a fancy to the slower bowlers regularly dispatching the ball to the boundary. Footner soon smashed his way to his own 50 (from 52 balls) which included a massive 6 off the Wroughton opening quick, straight back over his head into the middle of the graveyard. Melksham soon found themselves on a very useful 160 for 1 off 37, with a handful of batting still to come.
Melksham lost opening batsman Matt Hunt in the next over having scored a very good 90 with Jack Footner falling for 50 the very next over. This brought captain Joe Veacock and Tom Bew to the crease, looking to maintain the run rate and continue to score at the same standard set by the previous batsmen. However, it was not to be for Veacock, who could only manage 10 runs before being caught trying to play a big shot. However, it was a different story for Tom Bew who smashed his way to 31 from 12 balls which included a couple of huge sixes before also being caught. Melksham were now 199 for 5 off 42 overs. The next four batsmen were unable to make a reasonable contribution to the score, with Dan Watts going for a second ball duck, Freddie Honeybone scoring 2 before being bowled. Matt Lee and Gary Ings finished 2 and 0 not out respectively; Melksham delighted to finish on a very defendable 213 for 7 from 45.
The Wroughton batsmen wasted no time in getting off the mark and some big hitting saw the visitors race to 35 for 0 from 10 overs. Opening bowlers Matt Lee and Chris Long very unlucky not to pick up any wickets with the Wroughton batsmen regularly testing their luck. Captain Joe Veacock decided a change in attack was needed, and opted to bring himself on to try and break the opening partnership. However, this was to little effect with the batsmen taking a liking to the Melksham skippers bowling and regularly dispatching for boundaries. At this point, Melksham became somewhat deflated with Wroughton on 92 for 0 off 18 overs with the game seemingly starting to slip away. However, youngster Freddie Honeybone had other ideas and had big hitting McMeeking out with a smart catch by Dan Watts with what was only Honeybone’s second ball of the game.
Melksham only had to wait for the next over to pick up their next wicket with Gary Ings finding a thick edge off the batting of Evans and Jack Footner taking an instinctive catch in the slips; a key wicket for Melksham with Evans frustrating the Melksham bowlers in the return fixture earlier in the season. The other opening batsmen, Williams, soon fell to some more brilliant bowling from Freddie Honeybone with wicket keeper Rich Bryant taking a smart catch behind the stumps. Gary Ings finished with figures of 2 wickets for 33 runs off 6 overs and youngster Freddie Honeybone finishing with impressive figures of 2 wickets for 15 runs from his 6 overs. Only one more of the Wroughton batsmen troubled the Melksham bowlers, Taylor, who smashed his way to 33 from 37 balls before a smart catch by Footner off the bowling of Veacock saw the batsmen depart.
Wroughton now found themselves on 164 for 5 off 33 overs; the game now looking like it could go either way. However, the tail was quickly mopped up with some tight bowling from Jack Footner who finished with figures of 3 wickets for 14 runs off 4 overs. Some fantastic fielding from Joe Veacock saw a direct hit run out before the skipper brought himself back on to bowl to pick up the final wicket; finishing with figures of 2 wickets for 50 runs off 7 overs to see Melksham to a 42 run victory over second place Wroughton, a victory which very much strengthens Melksham’s fight against relegation.
Melksham look forward to an away trip next Saturday to bottom of the league Marlborough, looking to build on this weeks very impressive team performance.