Murtaza century inspires Melford to home success

HOME WIN: Long Melford captain Jason Wade bowls during his sides five-wicket victory against Tuddenham
HOME WIN: Long Melford captain Jason Wade bowls during his sides five-wicket victory against Tuddenham

MARSHALL HATCHICK TWO COUNTIES

CHAMPIONSHIP

DIVISION THREE

Long Melford (204-5) beat Tuddenham (203-8)

by five wickets

A century from the returning Sarmad Murtaza helped steer Long Melford back to winning ways with a victory against Tuddenham on Saturday.

After starting the season with six wins from their first six completed games, Melford’s impressive start had hit the brakes in recent weeks with three defeats in their last four outings.

But the Meetingfield-based outfit bounced back with a five-wicket success over Tuddenham at the weekend, as Murtaza’s knock of 101 inspired them to their first win in three games.

Tuddenham started in bat first and hosts Melford were quick to find wickets, as visiting openers Kieran Harris (5) and Steve Titcombe (13) both fell for low scores.

James French (2-43) claimed the first of his two wickets with the dismissal of Harris, while the start of Chris Sturgeon’s four-wicket haul began with the removal of Titcombe from the crease.

David Cross, in at number three for Tuddenham, fired in five boundaries on his way to a half century, finishing with 58 runs to his name before Thomas Bigg caught him out off the bowling of Jon Matthews.

Only Ashley Smith offered any real resistance with the bat in the lower order for the visitors, as he top scored with a knock of 66, which included seven fours and three sixes.

Bigg and Matthews (2-28) combined again to dismiss Smith, while Sturgeon (4-58) continued to take wickets to leave Tuddenham on 203-8 after their 45 overs.

Melford’s run chase got off to an excellent start, with the returning Murtaza blasting the ball all around the ground with no fewer than 16 boundaries during his innings.

Murtaza was the star man as he finished with a century on 101, his spell at the crease ending when he was caught by Andy Jakeman off the bowling of Charles Wilkens (2-24).

Murtaza’s opening partner, skipper Jason Wade, added a useful 35 runs to the scoreboard, while Bill Byford (32) and Joshua Arendse (29) also made key contributions as the hosts raced towards the finish line in good time.

Despite number five batsman Ben Barnbrook being caught out for a duck, Bigg and Sturgeon were the men to get Melford over the line, as the home side reached the target early in the 35th over with five wickets to spare.

n Elsewhere, there were differing fortunes for Long Melford II as they fell to a crushing nine-wicket defeat on the road at Worlington II.

Phillip King’s unbeaten 36 was the top score for Melford with the bat as they finished all out for 150, but hosts Worlington reached the target with plenty to spare.

Matt Hoadley caught out Matthew Peachey (65) off the bowling of Dan Willingham, but Thomas Baugh (50 not out) and Ian Roberts (29 no) got the home side over the line on a winning score of 152-1.