Second win in a row eases Melford’s relegation fears
Mildenhall II 154-8 lost to
Long Melford 210-5
by 56 runs
Long Melford secured a vital win at Mildenhall to put more distance between themselves and the rest of the relegation pack in Division Two.
On another hot and sunny afternoon, Mildenhall won the toss and invited Melford to bat first.
Dale Brett and Steve Martin opened the batting, both progressing cautiously to the 11th over when Matt Allen struck the first blow for the home side. Martin was caught behind for 10 and when Brett went in the next over, lofting a catch to midwicket also for 10, Melford were stumbling at 26-2.
Hugh Walters joined Tom Barnard, both returning to the side, and steadied the innings. Barnard’s slow progression was offset well by Walters attacking intent. Putting a 70-run partnership together eased the scoreboard pressure and when Walters fell hooking to deep backward square leg for an entertaining 43, Joe Harvey and Barnard mounted a sustained attack on the Mildenhall bowling. This was ended when, with an 87 ball 50 in the bag, Barnard played a tired pull shot and top edged to fine leg giving Dan Heath opportunity to add further runs to the Melford total.
With some free striking and inspired running he and Harvey took the score to 167 before Harvey was stumped for 31, the final wicket to fall in the innings.
Adam Matthews and Heath continued to push the singles, eventually seeing Melford to the interval with 210 runs for the loss of just five wickets.
Melford opened the bowling with new ball pair of Gareth Boon and James French.
Tom Heywood was the first Mildenhall wicket captured, caught at slip by Dale Brett off the bowling of Boon in the eighth over.
Mildenhall’s openers rallied carefully but when French removed Tom Heywood, caught at mid-on by Steve Martin, and then 2 overs later, the dangerous Steve Grinling clean bowled for a duck, Melford sniffed a chance.
With the top order in disarray, the Mildenhall middle order batsmen again tried to rally, Kieron Davis hitting 27, Lily Reynolds adding 18 and Chris Lewis contributing 20. However, with a highest partnership of just 26 the cause was lost, Mildenhall eventually running out of time but not wickets and finishing on 154-8, 56 runs shy of victory.
With three games to play, Melford are sitting mid-table at the head of a pack of six clubs in danger of relegation but with the knowledge that their destiny is now in their hands.
Next week, Melford host bottom club Kelvedon & Feering, as they look to put any relegation worries to bed.