The 2nd XI made it a fourth win on the bounce this weekend, with Dan Carpenter scoring an unbeaten 85 to help claim victory by 8 wickets during their trip to bottom-of-the-table Chippenham 6s.
The 1st innings did not go to plan at all for the visitors, with some wayward bowling allowing Chippenham to post a commanding total of 248-5. Fortunately, there were to be no such problems with the bat though, with Melksham in the end romping home with 9 overs to spare. Opener Carpenter led the way, whilst Tom Watling and Gareth Evans also starred with scores of 54 and 57 not out respectively.
Skipper Ian Doyle won the toss and decided to bowl first, a decision that was not immediately rewarded with opening bowlers Chris Skilton and Steve Burns unable to make an early breakthrough. Thanks to opening batsman Richard Bates, Chippenham were soon making good progress, quickly frustrating a Melksham side who were perhaps came into the match overly confident given both sides’ respective positions in the table. Not be until the 18th over did Watling finally claimed the visitor’s first wicket, but this would do little to stop Bates from continuing to pile on the runs. By the 35th over him and number 3 batsman Josh Grant had powered Chippenham towards a dominant position of 180-1.
Melksham would finally strike again soon after, with Carpenter bowling Grant for 61. Although the visitors did finally begin to make more inroads into the Chippenham batting line-up, with Brad Wilkins popping up with 2 as well as 1 more for Carpenter, crucially they were unable to stop the flow of runs; with extras proving to be as much of a problem for an erratic bowling attack than any Chippenham batsman. By the end of the innings the impressive Bates had carried his bat for a score of 118, an innings which seemingly put his side well in control.
Melksham’s response got to a shaky start with the early dismissal of Ross Holbrook for a duck. Any early momentum gained by Chippenham was quickly squandered however, with the bowlers giving away as many extras as their Melksham counterparts were earlier in the day. This, along with a quickfire flourish of boundaries from number 3 batsman Watling, helped Melksham maintain a rapid run-rate throughout the opening overs, making it apparent that their ostensibly lofty target was perfectly within reach.
Watling had soon chalked up a quickfire fifty which included 11 fours, helping Melksham to a score of 107 by the 17th over. Sadly, for him this would be the end of the road, being bowled having put on a 102-run 2nd wicket stand with Carpenter. There was to be no let up for Chippenham however, thanks to the arrival of Gareth Evans at the crease. Melksham’s number 4 immediately went on the offensive by smashing regular boundaries. With Carpenter now also upping his run-rate, the visitors were now sailing towards their target.
Despite regular bowling changes Chippenham were unable to find a way of making the much-needed breakthrough. Carpenter and Evans only accelerated even more as the target got closer. Soon enough the pair had steered Melksham to victory with more than 9 overs left and 8 wickets still in hand, moving them to 3rd in the table just 6 points off top spot.