The 1st XI made hard work of their ninth victory of the season, squeezing past Division 4 strugglers Westbury 2s by just 1 wicket.
A solid display with the ball saw Melksham skittle their opponents out for just 171, with Martha Honeybone picking up 3 wickets to emerge as pick of the bowlers. The run-chase proved to be a complicated affair however thanks to the regular loss of cheap wickets, with Melksham in the end indebted to tailender Liam Merrett who got his side over the line with a cameo of 17.
The afternoon got off to a roaring start when Rich Hemmings dismissed both Westbury openers early on thanks to catches from Russ Collins. A further scalp was not to long in the waiting, with Honeybone popping up her first of the afternoon soon after. Westbury’s 4th wicket partnership wrestle some of the early momentum back from Melksham, but once they were gone none of the remaining Westbury batters were able to muster a major score. Further wickets came from Adam Mitchell, Chris Singh and Liam Merrett, whilst Honeybone struck twice more to finish with innings best figures of 3-47, helping her side restrict Westbury to what appeared to be an easy score to chase down.
Westbury were not to be beaten so easily however, striking early to dismiss Chay Forester (4) and Russ Collins (5) to leave the visitors on 17-2 off 4 overs. Skipper Mitchell refused to be daunted though. Despite the early losses his side endured he so no hesitation in going on the front foot. He and Joe Veacock pushed Melksham to a score of 72 in less than 10 overs, an effort which had seemingly set the foundations for an easy win.
More twists were in the offing though. First Mitchell was bowled for 47, before Simon Turner (21) and Veacock (40) were both dismissed by the 19th over, leaving the score on 123-5. The situation suddenly began to look perilous for Melksham, with several lower order batsmen all struggling to stay in long enough to see their side over the line. Lewie Simmons (14), Chris Singh (5), Luke Wilkins (0), and Rich Hemmings (5) all lost their wickets during the tense closing stages, leaving it to number 9 bat Merrett to be the one to get Melksham over the line. Thankfully he proved up to the task, with him and Honeybone getting the side over the line in the 34th over much to the relief of their teammates, claiming a win which helps keep Melksham’s title ambitions on track with just 5 games of the season remaining.