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Sat. 21st July. WCCL – Division 5. Melksham CC 158 all out. Bathford CC 1st XI 160-5
Melksham’s season suffered a setback with a surprise home defeat to Division 5 strugglers Bathford.
Winning the toss and batting first, Melksham suffered the early loss of Daniel Carpenter in the 3rd over. However, this would initially be of little consequence as fellow opener Tom Wallis and Matt Hunt quickly made good use of a fast outfield. Hunt was dismissed in the 10th for a quickfire 28 before being caught, whilst his partner pushed on to make 44 (including 10 4s) before suffering a similar fate. The new incumbents at the crease, Joe Veacock and Russell Collins, had looked to continue the fast start of the previous batsmen and had for a time looked like doing so, until Veacock (18) was also caught. The complexion of the innings then changed suddenly when Collins then succumbed to a moment of madness, running himself out on 19. At that moment, Bathford quickly began to turn the screw, taking the additional wickets of Chris Singh and Jack Footner who were only able to contribute 2 runs apiece. In spite of some lower order heroics from Chris Long (23 not out) and Sean Hooper (10), the visitors were able to keep the pressure on the batting side, with Melksham eventually succumbing to a below par total of 158 all out of 38 overs.
Bathford’s attempt to chase the total down got off to a tricky start however, with Andy Footner bowling out both openers to leave their side 35-2 after 15 overs. The arrival of main man Paul Merrett had looked to have steadied the ship, but first-change bowler Chris Singh took a further 2 wickets to leave the match tensely poised at 79-4 after 25 overs. Merrett proved to be ever the stalwart though, vigilantly keeping out the mostly tight Melksham bowling, whilst punishing the occasional bad ball with ruthless efficiency. Melksham were then made to rue their lack of a clinical edge in the field, with Merrett dropped twice in the outfield as the innings reached its most critical stage. He made good use of his luck, guiding his side home with a magnificent knock of 77 not out, with Melksham only claiming one further wicket through Jack Footner. Victory for Bathford, only their second of the season, means that Melksham lose their place at the top of the table and slip down the table.