The 1st XI finally claimed a first win of the season at the fourth time of asking, winning away to Sherston Magna by 4 wickets thanks to a fantastic all-round team performance.
With the hosts winning the toss and electing to bat first, opening bowlers of Gary Ings and Liam Merrett got the game of to a slow-scoring start. Runs came at a premium, and soon Ings made the pressure tell, taking 2 wickets – 1 coming courtesy of a spectacular diving effort by Chris Singh – to leave Sherston 26-2 of 10. Freddie Honeybone picked up a further wicket soon after coming into the attack, meaning Melksham were in command of the match after its opening phase.
Things proved not to be straight forward from this point onwards though. with the home-side’s 4th wicket partnership knuckling down in the middle overs to bring Sherston back into the match. Only in the 25th over did Singh claim Melksham’s 4th wicket to leave the score at 89-4.
Despite this much needed breakthrough the run-rate continued to accelerate throughout the later part of the innings, with Sherston now looking good to reach a score in excess of 200. In the end the batting team finished on 198, with Melksham only picking up 2 further wickets thanks to Merrett and Joe Veacock. With a challenging target to chase down, the travelling side were slightly disappointed that a solid and spirited performance in the field did result in greater rewards.
The reply could not have got off to a worse start, with opener Matt Hunt bowled with the very first ball of the innings. Fortunately, Daniel Carpenter and Chay Forester were on hand to ensure this early scare did not lead to anything worse immediately. The pair got Melksham to a score of 35 in 8 overs, but just as it looked like a big partnership was building Carpenter was bowled for 11.
Forester remained a steady presence for Melksham, and now joined at the crease by skipper Joe Veacock. The captain struck a few meaty blows with the bat as a he looked to push his side forward, but in his haste to score was then dismissed for 17, leaving Melksham 57-3 off 14. The next partnership between Forester and incoming batsman Russ Collins would likely have to be a big one if Melksham were to have any chance of claiming victory.
Forester made sure that this would be the case. He continued to accumulate runs during the middle overs on his to making a second fifty of the season; ably assisted by Collins at the other end. In the end Forester was dismissed for 60, leaving Melksham 117-4 of 23 and still with a lot of work to do. Ross Holbrook joined Collins in the middle, and both batsmen kept the runs flowing just quickly enough until Collins himself was dismissed for 29, leaving the game nicely poised at 140-5 with 16 overs remaining.
Chris Singh was the next batsman in. Although both he and Holbrook endured some difficult periods out in the middle, they were able to keep scoring the runs needed for victory. With the game entering its finale Melksham were now clear favourites to claim the spoils, although Chris Singh was unable to see the job through to end; being bowled for 25 with Melksham still requiring 20 runs to win. Holbrook, joined in the final overs by Freddie Honeybone, was able to finish the job. He ended his crucial innings 27 not out, helping to give Melksham a long-awaited and much needed first win of the season.