By Dan Carpenter
Melksham 1s eased their relegation fears with a thumping 171-run win at home over Nationwide House 2s; with Russell Collins and Joe Veacock leading the way during a brilliant team performance.
The game got off to the worst possible start for Melksham when, after losing the toss and forced to bat first, opener Roy Veacock was dismissed for naught after just 5 balls. This did little to unsettle the batsmen who followed in his wake however, with incoming batsman Collins along with Daniel Carpenter making good use of a rapid outfield. With boundaries being hit regularly, the duo raced to 40 inside 8 overs before Carpenter was bowled for 17.
With skipper Joe Veacock now at the crease, Collins continued to accumulate runs with ease; eventually reaching the fifty milestone after just 59 balls. Nationwide experimented with their bowling options in a bid to break the partnership, but both batsmen were clearly in a rampant mood, continuing to bludgeon the ball to all parts as Melksham reached the 100 mark by 20 overs. From this point the run-rate only continued to soar, with Veacock and Collins between them adding another 80 runs to the score in the following 8 overs; before the former was dismissed for 59 to end a colossal 141 partnership.
New batsman Matt Hunt opted to take a more cautious approach than his predecessor, while Collins continued to show no mercy to the Nationwide bowlers. He kept up the tempo for several more overs, before being bowled for 98 – agonisingly short of a hundred – leaving his side in the brilliant position of 209-4 after 35 overs. Hunt unfortunately never got into his groove, eventually being run out for 15, but Jack Footner on the other hand was able to continue his rich vein of form with the bat from recent weeks. He chalked up 47 not out from the last 10 overs which, along with a hard-hitting cameo of 21 from Gary Ings, catapulted the final Melksham score to 292-6; a total that gave the hosts good reason to believe that a crucial fifth win of the season was firmly in their grasp.
The 2nd innings saw the hosts get off to a flyer when Andy Footner struck in just the second over. Ings bagged a wicket for himself 3 overs later, before Footner claimed his second in the 10th over to leave Nationwide 42-3. The visitors were for a time defiant in tough circumstances, with Arnab Choudhary (27) and Lloyd Griffiths (46) going on the attack to at least keep the runs ticking over for their side. In time Choudhary was ran out by Matt Hunt, before Jack Footner got in on the bowling act to dismiss Griffiths thanks to a sharp catch by keeper Rich Bryant.
This left a wagging tail at the mercy of Joe Veacock, who wasted little time in ruthlessly sweeping aside the Nationwide lower order to claim the win for Melksham after just 28 overs; finishing with impressive figures of 5-20 off 9. Although the team still find themselves well within the relegation mire, both the result and the performance will give Melksham strong hope that they can finish the season strongly as they look to secure their Division 4 status for next season.
Melksham Cricket Club would like to thank The Conigre for their kind sponsorship of this match.