By Dan Carpenter
Melksham 1s saw this weekend’s home fixture against Chippenham 3s fall victim to the weather, frustrating their attempts to continue their sparkling early season form. It was a more productive afternoon for the 2s however, overcoming both the weather and Spye Park 2s to claim their first victory of the season.
The club’s first string found themselves put into bat after skipper Joe Veacock lost the toss. Opener Daniel Carpenter was dismissed for just 4 early on, but this proved to be a very minor setback with runs quickly beginning to flow thanks to some expansive stroke play from Ross Holbrook. After a conserved start, he would go on to reach 47 before being stumped just shy of what would have been a maiden fifty for the club. Matt Hunt also impressed, notching up a score of 27 in an innings which featured some meaty blows with the bat. He was denied the opportunity to keep on impressing when the heavens opened after 21 overs, putting a premature end to the contest with Melksham on a healthy 93-2.
It looked like it would be a familiar story for the 2s early in the game when, having also been put into bat first, they lost the early wickets of Chris Long (6) and Jonny House (1) to leave them floundering on 8-2. Fortunately, the 3rd wicket pairing of Ian Doyle and Gareth Evans was on hand to steer them away from trouble. Doyle acted as an anchor with a cautious approach whilst Evans opted to go on the attack. The partnership ended on 53 with the dismissal of Evans for 36, leaving the score on 61-3 after 16 overs.
Runs continued to be steadily accumulated whilst Doyle was at the crease, who eventually departed for 51, whilst Sean Hooper chipped in with 13. The best was saved until late on for Melksham though, with Tom Watling arriving at the crease to hammer a flamboyant 53; adding some much-needed late runs to the visitors’ total. After the allotted overs, the 2s finished on a very respectable 185-7, giving them tangible hopes they could banish the bad memories of the previous 2 weeks and finally get their season up and running with a win.
The start of Spye Park’s reply was saw the match interrupted by heavy showers a few overs in. When the game was finally able to recommence after a short delay, the 2s’ dependable opening duo of Chris Long and Andy Footner were able to stem the flow of runs, with Footner also claiming an early wicket. With the halfway mark approaching, the home side had only 48 runs on the board, albeit with 9 wickets still in hand. Batting hero Watling was then introduced into the attack, and finally the wickets started to fall more regularly. He claimed figures of 4-40, whilst skipper Luke Neale also played his part with tidy figures of 2-24 off 7; seizing the initiative for Melksham with Spye Park in trouble on 99-7 with just 15 overs to go.
Spye Park’s lower order did not give up the fight easily though, with the boundary being found regularly enough to keep the hosts in the hunt. During the final overs, the responsibility of bowling fell upon the inexperienced duo of Gareth Evans and Sean Hooper, with Long and Footner briefly coming back into the attack to bowl their allotted overs; the former claiming a wicket for himself. Spye made a valiant effort in the closing overs, but in the end Evans and Hooper were able to rise the challenge to ensure their opponents fell 16-runs shy of their target.
With the all-important first win of the season under their belts, next weekend will see Neale’s charges take on Marlborough 3s. The 1s meanwhile face the long trip to Beckington 2s, seeking to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.