Joe Veacock starred during a pre-season outing against Swindon 2nd XI, smashing a brilliant hundred in a game which saw Melksham slip to a narrow 16-run home defeat.
The home-team were made to suffer in the field during the 1st innings, with Liam Merrett (1-18) and Mark Mullis (1-45) the only bowlers to pick up wickets as Swindon’s batsmen powered towards a commanding total of 220-2 off 40 overs. A good response in the 2nd innings, lead largely by Veacock, saw Melksham fall narrowly short in what proved to be a worthwhile pre-season workout for both sides.
The visiting side elected to bat first after winning the toss and were quickly into their scoring stride. Apart from an intervention from Merrett, who claimed the first wicket of the afternoon in the 7th over thanks to a catch from Matt Hunt, Melksham were unable to make much of an impact on the match with Swindon accumulating runs in an assured fashion throughout the early overs.
The pattern set in the early stages continued throughout the rest of the innings. Melksham’s bowlers and fielders spent the rest of the afternoon toiling away for little reward. Rich Hemmings, Joe Veacock, and Chris Singh all came into the attack without taking a wicket as Swindon’s batsmen continued to dominate proceedings. In the end the away-team finished 220-2, a score which put them in a commanding position going into the 2nd innings.
Melksham’s reply began brightly, but openers Matt Hunt (15) and Simon Turner (22) were unable to build on promising starts. With the hosts now 45-2, it would be down to the key 3rd wicket partnership of Joe Veacock and new captain Adam Mitchell to steer Melksham into a position from which the hosts could hope to mount a bid for victory. The two batsmen duly delivered, putting on a meaty 96-run stand to help put the hosts right back into the contest.
Once Mitchell was caught for 29 the match entered its crucial phase. Veacock continued to impress and pile on much needed runs for his side, but failed to build a prolonged partnership with any of the middle-order batsmen. John Wiltshire (0), Mark Mullis (1), Chris Singh (6) all came and went without making a significant impact on the score, and in the end Veacock was dismissed immediately after reaching his century with Melksham still needing 34 runs off 19 balls. Tailenders Rich Hemmings (1), Seb Sailes (7), and Liam Merrett (9*) were, despite their best efforts, unable to keep pace with the required run-rate as the innings came to a close with Melksham finishing a respectable 16-runs shy of Swindon’s target.
What Next? The 1st XI continue their preparations for the season next Saturday with a home friendly against Box, whilst on the following Sunday the 2nd XI will host a pre-season outing against Bathford.