The 1st XI made a major statement at Melksham House this weekend, with a Rich Hemmings-led blitz from the bowling attack skittling out league leaders Hinton Charterhouse 2s for just 58.
The homeside were not quite at their best with the bat, making 178 in the first innings with Chay Forester (55) and Joe Veacock (40) leading way. It was different story with the ball however, with Melksham producing a devasting performance with the ball to blow Hinton away. Hemmings was the star of the show with 5-12 off 9, whilst Matt Lee (2-16 off 9) and Liam Merrett (2-11 off 5.4) were also on song to help push their side closer to the summit of the Division 4 table.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, the afternoon could not have got off to a worse start when both Simon Turner and Russ Collins were dismissed for ducks inside the first 2 overs. The third wicket pairing of Adam Mitchell and Chay Forester were on hand to ensure there was no more immediate damage. However, runs were not flowing as freely as they had done in games gone past, and by the 16th over the pressure finally told when Mitchell was bowled for 27, leaving his side stuck on 48-3.
Forester was now joined at the crease by Joe Veacock, and it was at this point that Melksham would finally begin to gain some momentum in the match. The pair guided the hosts to a more comfortable position of 122-3 off 30 overs, giving Melksham a decent foundation heading into the final third of the innings. Unfortunately, both incumbent batsmen were dismissed soon after, with Hinton taking advantage of this opening to run-through the Melksham lower order and restrict their opponents to a chaseable score. The last 5 wickets fell for just 44 runs, meaning a strong performance with the ball was likely required if Melksham were to make it 6 wins on the bounce.
Any doubts were quickly put to bed when Hemmings eviscerated Hinton’s top order; taking 4 wickets in his first 4 overs to leave the visitors shell-shocked on 12-4 off 7. Melksham’s opponents never recovered from their early innings blues, their way 26-4 by the 15th over. Matt Lee then turned the screw further with 2 wickets in his 8th over, followed by Hemmings completing his 5-wicket haul in the following over to leave Hinton 27-7, rendering the contest all but over.
The away side limped on for a few overs after, with Melksham’s stunning performance with the ball polished off by 29th over thanks to 2 wickets from Merrett and 1 from skipper Mitchell. Although they currently remain 4th in the table, game in hand and next week’s trip to new league leaders Christian Malford gives Melksham every opportunity to seize top spot if they can maintain their brilliant recent form.