By Dan Carpenter
Melksham CC got their delayed 2020 campaign off to a winning start on the road, winning by a hefty margin of 228-runs against a much depleted and youthful Trowbridge 3s.
An eager and strong-looking Melksham side, having seen last week’s fixture against neighbours Spye Park fall victim to the weather, opted to bat first having won the toss. The visitors did suffer an early blow when opener Tom Wallis was dismissed for just 3, but the 2nd wicket partnership of Matt Hunt and Daniel Carpenter made sure this was of little consequence; steadily racking up runs during the first half of the innings. The duo nearly became their own undoing on a couple of occasions thanks to some questionable running between the wickets, but nevertheless they were able to accumulate a healthy score of 133-1 by the 25th over.
Both batsmen lost their wickets in the following over: Hunt being caught on 68, whilst Carpenter was bowled for 43. This brought the fresh faces of skipper Joe Veacock and Russ Collins to the crease. The latter was particularly instrumental in increasing the run-rate as the second half of the innings progressed, hammering a bombastic knock of 89 off 63 balls including 14 fours, whilst Veacock played a more measured innings of 36 off 32. When both these men departed Melksham had amassed a huge total of 283-6, but there was still time for one last significant contribution, this time from Jack Footner who hammered a quickfire 32 from 23. Melksham would go on to finish with a mammoth total of 313, with their young and inexperienced opposition showing a lot of grit and perseverance in what for them would have been a difficult 45 overs.
Although the batsmen had already put the result beyond doubt, the bowlers came out in the second innings looking to keep things tight. Melksham’s impressive opening duo of Matt Lee and Liam Merrett ensured that this would indeed be the case, restricting Trowbridge to just 36 runs after the first 16 overs; Lee claiming 2 wickets whilst Merrett picked up 1. Their good work was continued by first change bowlers Freddie Honeybone (1-12 off 6) and Chris Singh (2-13 off 9), although the young Trowbridge middle-order batsmen did show impressive courage and application to keep the bowlers out for large periods.
Experienced opening batman Andy Roberts proved to be the toughest wicket to get off them all, however. He seemed resolved to not allow the Melksham bowlers to claim his wicket at any cost. Despite a late burst from the captain (3-5 off 5), Robert’s dogged display with the bat ensured that – whilst Trowbridge only finished the innings with a total of 85 – Melksham would finish with the minor disappointment of not being able to bowl the home-side all out.
Although the youthful nature of their opponents must again be noted – whose gutsy display despite facing overwhelmingly superior opposition deserves great credit – Melksham will nonetheless be happy with their first competitive outing of the season, and will look to carry the momentum forward into next weekend’s home clash against Corsham 3s.
Melksham 2s did not enjoy a successful start to the campaign however, suffering a 91-run reversal at home to Allington. The 1st innings saw the bowlers produce a tidy display to dismiss Allington for a middling score of 141, with Chris Long (3-21 off 8) and Andy Footner (2-10 off 9) the stand-out performers with the ball. The game would go onto change dramatically in the 2nd innings, with the batting line-up suffering the indignity of being dismissed all out for just 50, with Tom Staddon the only player to trouble the scorers with 30. The 2s look to improve their fortunes next weekend when they make the short trip to Lacock CC to play their 2s.