Legends go head to head at Gt Melton
- Credit: Archant
With heavy showers all weekend Great Melton's 40th anniversary celebrations could easily have been ruined but, thanks to the sterling work of groundsman Mike Phoenix, all the events planned for Melton Park went ahead.
Junior coaching on Friday meant a captive audience of parents for the club's first-ever Beer Festival while, on Saturday, despite a late finish – and a defeat for the first team at the hands of Acle, the night of beer and live music attracted a large audience of past and present players.
A torrential downpour on Sunday morning washed out the U11s match but the sun, combined with a stiff breeze, some expect mopping up and a change of wicket, meant that the Past v Present 'Legends' match was able to go ahead two-and-a-half hours late at 4pm.
The Present Legends team, captained by chairman Steve Phoenix, had eight of the club's top 10 in the all-time appearance which, combined with the Past Legends team meant a total of 9,702 appearances – an average of 313!
Ian Wickham's Past Legends' batted first and, despite losing Eddie Shaw for one in the second over, totalled 128-8 in their 25 overs, a challenging total considering the conditions.
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Jonny Howard led the way with 26 (retired) and there were good contributions from Wickham (20), Richard Grove (16), Nigel Bobbin (10) and Ian Arnold (15 not out). There was a rare three overs from Tony Alborough (3-1-13-1) who captured the wicket of Wickham and took three excellent catches while Mally Howard took 2-4.
In reply the Present Legends were given a solid start by Chris Elliott (25 retired) and the owner of the ground, Nick Evans-Lombe who hit an excellent 28 (retired) but the others failed to build on this solid foundation as a succession of batsmen came and went. The champagne moment came with the appearance, after 15 overs, of Mike Phoenix who took over from Andy Rosie behind the stumps and took a catch first ball as Gary Coulson, guesting for the Past Legends, produced a delivery that bamboozled Ben Mann. Coulson's spell of 3-1-4-4 turned the match on its head. Matt Clarke (14 not out) and Sam Mann (25 retired) kept hopes alive but the final over came with 13 runs still needed.
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Tim Hales was stumped off Ian Arnold which meant Chris Elliott returned with six needed off two balls. With everyone on the boundary. a single and a two were all the batsmen could manage and the Melton Present finished on 126-9, two runs short. It was an excellent match, attended by several other past players and followed by a curry supper and the cutting of the anniversary cake.
There has been more success than failure in Melton's 40-year history but if the celebrations weren't dampened by the rain they were by Saturday's results. Three of the skippers lost the toss which proved significant in the damp conditions.
The first team scored 165 all out which Acle overhauled for the loss of seven wickets while the A team were bowled out for a paltry 78, despite a brave last-wicket stand between Leo DeSalis and Alex Rennie. Rain saved them from defeat, however, as a deluge at tea left Rocklands frustrated.
Kirkley and Lowestoft Railway's opener J Bailey scored 85 against the B team at Town Close and, with Snell contributing 60 and Freeman 44, the visitors totalled a formidable 242-7. The big total was undoubtedly helped by a series of dropped catches. Tom Smith was Melton's best bowler with 12-1-46-3. To their credit the Bs got close, Nick Mackenzie scoring 83, Chris Elliott 70 and Neal Clarke 41 as Tim Hales' side totalled 239-7.
The C's completed a poor weekend of results by being restricted to 95-9 against Eaton in a match reduced to 30 overs per side. Eusha Fawad, with 24, top-scored. Viv Sharma then took 3-17 in eight overs but there were never enough runs on the board and Sam Butcher (32 not out) saw Eaton home with four overs to spare.
With the anniversary weekend behind them players now need to concentrate on picking up league points over the second half of the season.
With the first and Bs in a relegation battle and the As looking for promotion, there's plenty to play for.