Melksham 2nd XI won their bottom-of-the-table clash at home against Trowbridge 3rd XI by the barest of margins, emerging victorious by just 1-wickets thanks to the efforts of Tony Trotman with the bat.
Skipper Chris Long won the toss for Melksham and opted to bowl first on a scorching hot day. The opening overs went mostly to plan for the hosts, with both the captain and Andy Footner producing stingy opening spells, starving Trowbridge of any serious runs. It would take a change of bowling to force a breakthrough though, with Martha Honeybone (1-14) striking first blood soon after being introduced into the attack.
Tom Watling, the other first change bowler, also made an impact upon coming into the attack, finishing with impressive figures of 2-15 of his 9 overs. In the meantime, Trowbridge were unable to accelerate their timid scoring rate, thanks also to Tim Cundick, who conceded a measly 15 runs off his 5 overs. At this stage Melksham had every reason to be confident that if they could take more wickets quickly then there was a chance of bowling out their opponents for a seriously below-par score.
This would not be the case for the home side, however. Trowbridge’s fourth wicket partnership used the final third of the innings to make up for their previously slow over rate. The returning Chris Long, as well as Daniel Carpenter, bore the brunt of a late onslaught which saw the visitors finish on a score of 154-3; a total which was far more competitive than had earlier looked to have been the case.
Carpenter and Watling were charged with beginning Melksham’s run chase, and the pair got the 2nd innings off to a solid start with both batmen finding the boundary in the opening few overs. Unfortunately, this early momentum was snuffed out when Watling was caught for 14, bringing Seb Sailes to the crease. Both he and Carpenter were able to keep making steady progress towards the target, but once again a wicket fell just as it looked like a big partnership was brewing. Sailes was bowled for 9, leaving Melksham 48-2 off 17 overs.
Tony Trotman was the new man in the middle, and he along with Carpenter ensured Melksham kept up with the required run-rate as the innings reached its midpoint. Then, in what was proving to be a familiar theme, another wicket fell just as momentum was building. This time Carpenter was caught for 30, leaving Melksham 72-3. This triggered the most difficult part of the innings for the hosts, with the wickets of middle-order batsmen James Bailey (6) and Long (1) falling cheaply – leaving the score at 80-5 and for the first time in the match handing the advantage to Trowbridge.
Whilst wickets did continue to fall, crucially Trotman weathered the storm for his side. Although none of the tail enders were able to stay with him for an extended period, with the only notable contribution being a crucial 11 from James Walters, Trotman remained clam to take his side to the cusp of victory. A tight finish was set up when Trowbridge claimed their 9th wicket with the score on 136, meaning it would be up to Trotman and Cundick to drag Melksham home to a crucial victory.
Cundick selflessly held an end up, allowing Trotman – as well as a few helpful extras – to rack up the runs needed to see Melksham cross the finishing line. With the winning shot Trotman also brought up his fifty, adding some much-deserved gloss to what had proved to be a match-winning performance.
Melksham Cricket Club would like to thank DK Locksmiths for their kind sponsorship of the matchball used for the 2nd XI’s match vs Trowbridge 3s.