By Dan Carpenter
Melksham 1s followed up the previous week’s impressive win by posting an abysmal result away to Combe Down, losing by 177 runs to continue their extremely inconsistent form and leave themselves still deep in the Division 4 relegation struggle.
With Melksham winning the toss and electing to field first, veterans Andy Footner and Chris Long began the contest by producing some typically tight opening bowling; conceding few runs whilst also producing several maidens to produce early pressure. Said pressure sadly did not produce a wicket though, and after the surviving the initial 10 overs Combe Down’s opening batsmen began to go on the offensive. Footner and Long went on to – somewhat unluckily – finish wicketless, and it wasn’t until the 22nd over that Melksham claimed a wicket via captain Joe Veacock to leave the score at 88-1.
This wicket did little to curtail the scoring though, which from this point on only continued to increase. Veacock claimed another 2 wickets during his 9 over spell, but he, along with his fellow bowlers, continued to take some heavy treatment from the Combe Down batmen as frustration now grew for Melksham. Tom Hulbert top scored for the hosts with 93 as his side went on to finish the innings with an impressive 249-5, leaving the visitors with a huge job on their hands if they hoped to get a result from the game.
Opening batsmen Roy Veacock and Daniel Carpenter were able to get their side’s reply off to a solid start, albeit one that didn’t quite keep up with the required run-rate: after 14 overs the duo had only posted 38 runs between them. Carpenter was then bowled for 16 in the following over, which brought the in-form Russell Collins to the crease. Melksham hoped that his arrival would be the catalyst for an acceleration of the run-rate but come the 21st over the score was still lagging on 52-1.
From this point onwards the innings descended into a nightmare, beginning with Roy Veacock being bowled for 22. Promptly following were the rest of Melksham top-order: with Collins (5), Joe Veacock (0), and Jack Footner (6) all departing as Combe Down’s first change bowlers decimated the batting line up. Freddie Honeybone’s (0) also lost his wicket not long after, completing an embarrassing collapse for Melksham which saw them slip from 52-1 to 58-6. After this onslaught the tail were effectively living on borrowed time, and soon enough the humiliation was complete when a triple wicket maiden rendered the visitors all out for just 73 off 28 overs.