2nd XI, Match Reports, News

2ND XI MATCH REPORT: Brown stars on return as Melksham edge out Box 2s.

Melksham 2s made it back-to-back wins during their trip to Box 2s, with Ben Brown starring with both bat and ball during his first game in 7 years to lead his team by a margin of just 6 runs in what proved to be a high scoring thriller.

Brown topped scored during an impressive display with the bat during the 1st innings, with major contributions also coming from Dave Light (57) and John Wiltshire (38) to help Melksham reach a commanding score of 235. Box however did not roll over in the 2nd innings, with a late burst from their batsmen helping them run Melksham close.

The visitors got off to a solid start thanks to an opening partnership of 53 from Light and Daniel Carpenter. Box were back in the match soon after though with 2 quick wickets. First Carpenter was bowled for 21, before Matt Hunt was trapped LBW for a disappointing 2-ball duck. The arrival of Brown at the crease would put Box under immediate and immense pressure however, with Melksham’s number 4 wasting little time in getting stuck into the Box bowling attack. 

By the 20th over Brown and Light had helped Melksham amass a score of 122, and from here the runs only continued to flow. The pair continued their impressive work into the 29th over, before the partnership was then finally broken when Brown was dismissed for 82. Light followed a few overs later, but by now Melksham were well in the ascendancy on 184-4.   

The final 3rd of the innings did however see Box mount a credible fight back which helped to at least keep them in the contest. Although John Wiltshire ensured the runs continued to come for the visitors, the hosts started to pop up regular wickets which somewhat stifled the momentum in the final few overs. In the end Melksham finished with a score of 235, a slightly disappointing end to the innings considering the dominance enjoyed throughout most of it.

The start of the 2nd innings saw opening bowlers Chris Long and Tom Watling produce tidy opening spells, but neither were able to get the much-desired early breakthrough. Box’s 1st wicket partnership of Danny Burke and Gavin Smith held the fort well during the opening overs, although both were helped by multiple dropped catches from Melksham in the field. By the 17th over the pair had steadily guided their side to a score of 70. It was only then that Long, bowling his final over, got Melksham’s first wicket, finishing his spell with decent figures of 1-20 off 9.

From this point it looked as if Melksham had turned a corner in the innings with the wickets starting to tumble more regularly. Brown continued his impressive all-round performance with 2 wickets and a run-out, whilst a wicket for Steve Burns helped contain Box to a score 109-5 off 29. Box captain Luke Rich was not to be daunted though; he ensured the scoreboard kept ticking regularly enough to give his side a fighting chance during the final third of the innings.   

Carpenter then came into the attack and took a couple of quick wickets, briefly swinging the momentum back in Melksham’s favour. However, he and the other Melksham bowlers struggled to find a consistent line and length as the game reached its climax, gifting Box plenty of scoring opportunities and hence giving them an avenue to a remarkable comeback victory. With the required run-rate around a run-a-ball from the remaining 5 overs, it was only through the dismissal of Rich from a John Wiltshire LBW that Melksham were finally back in the driving seat as the match reached its conclusion. In the end the visitors held out for the win by a slender margin of 6 runs, with a tight penultimate over from the returning Watling proving to be crucial.    

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