The 1st XI found themselves well off the pace during their second pre-season friendly, suffering an 80-run home defeat to a strong Box side.
The hosts generally struggled in the field, although did claim some late wickets to help restrict Box to 226-6 off 40 overs. The subsequent run-chase began brightly, with captain Adam Mitchell top scoring with 40, but would ultimately run out of steam during the later stages of the innings.
The visitors kicked off the afternoon by going straight on the front foot. Veteran seamer Chris Long did produce a tidy opening spell, conceding just 10 runs off 6 overs, but Box’s openers quickly pilled on the runs around him. A couple of dropped catches aside there was little indication that a wicket was coming; indeed, it wouldn’t until the 24th over when Melksham would finally claim their first scalp of the afternoon, coming courtesy of Chris Singh.
The fielding side upped their game slightly after this point with wickets starting to come more regularly, although Box nevertheless continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Singh claimed a couple more wickets late into his spell, finishing with figures of 3-55; Mitchell introduced himself into the attack to decent effect, picking up a wicket for just 19 runs off his 6 overs; whilst Liam Merrett snatched 2 wickets in the final over to end a difficult innings for Melksham on a positive note.
A good start would be essential if Melksham were to have any chance of chasing down the target, and thanks to openers Matt Hunt and Simon Turner they got exactly that. The pair raced to a fifty-partnership inside 8 overs and looked well placed to push their side on further. Sadly, this was not to be: Hunt was caught soon after on 23, whist Turner was trapped LBW for 30 a few overs later, leaving Melksham on 61-2 after 14 overs.
The 3rd wicket partnership of Liam Merrett and Adam Mitchell stabilized the innings for a time, with the skipper taking responsibility for most of the run scoring. Merrett was then dismissed for 10 in the 20th over to complicate matters, but the real hammer blow came for Melksham shortly afterwards when Mitchell was bowled 4 overs later; leaving his side perilously placed on 109-4 off 23.
Brad Wilkins provided something to shout about late on for Melksham, producing an impressive cameo of 19. Once he was out though the Box bowlers saw the game out in an efficient manner. None of Melksham’s remaining batsmen were able to reach double figures, leading to what at one staged looked like a promising run-chase falling way short with a score of 146-9.
What Next? The 1st XI get their Division 4 campaign underway with a home fixture against Corsham 3s.