County Cricket League: Melton Mowbray First XI back in promotion mix

Melton Mowbray First XI, from left, back - Simon Brown, Vinny Musson, Lee Middleton, Liam Tew (scorer), Simon Claricoates, Mike Roberts; front - Ben Redwood, Carel Fourie, Karl Tew, Pete Humphries.
Melton Mowbray First XI, from left, back - Simon Brown, Vinny Musson, Lee Middleton, Liam Tew (scorer), Simon Claricoates, Mike Roberts; front - Ben Redwood, Carel Fourie, Karl Tew, Pete Humphries.
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Melton Mowbray got back to winning ways against Ratby on Saturday following their poor performance the previous week.

Ratby’s visit to the All England Ground marked an important clash as both sides looked to keep within sight of the Division Three promotion places.

After the hosts won the toss, Redwood and James opened the bowling for Melton with captain Redwood taking first blood with the new ball.

Fourie came into the attack and chipped away with valuable wickets, and on returning to the attack James made an instant impact with valuable wickets as Freer took two catches and Brown another.

But Ratby’s lower order showed some resilience as the visitors managed to scrape to 187-9 off their 45 overs.

Melton started brightly in their reply, but Leggett broke through in the early overs to remove James.

Fourie came to the crease and produced a resilient innings, steadying the ship after Claricoates fell for 26.

Freer began to build with Fourie until a bowling change saw Freer (11) fall to a high full toss, caught at mid-on.

But his replacement Potter and Fourie started to take the game away from the visitors with Potter making a well-constructed 47 from 39 balls.

And when Potter, fell, Redwood joined man-of-the-match Fourie (65 not out) to see their side home.

Melton moved up to fifth and are within 24 points of leaders Countesthorpe.

On Saturday, they head to Huncote (1pm start) who are battling to avoid relegation.

* Melton Mowbray Seconds visited a weakened Braunstone side who had only eight available players.

Braunstone won the toss and bowled first, gaining immediate success when Steve Booth played on to his first ball.

Some tight bowling, low bounce on the wicket and long grass in the outfield kept the score down as Melton reached 53-1 after 20 overs.

But once the change bowlers came on, James Culy (68) and Trish Panchel (30) became more aggressive in their shot selection before Panchel fell to an excellent catch at mid-on.

This brought in Lee Middleton (88 not out) who hit his highest score for Melton as the third-wicket pair put on 87 in 12 overs before Culy was bowled looking to accelerate the scoring.

As the hosts tired, Middleton put on a number of partnerships as Melton piled on 86 runs in the last 10 overs to reach 249-6 off their 45 overs.

In reply, Braunstone lost their opener Lewin in the first over, bowled by Harvey Stokes, and were soon three down as Stokes took a second wicket to an excellent catch at point by Booth, while Mick Whitfield bowled the other opener.

Callum Hull and Sam Thorpe bowled good spells for no reward before Middleton claimed three wickets in three overs as Melton wrapped up the innings for 38 in the 24th over.

Melton: J. Culy 68, S. Booth 0, T. Panchel 30, L. Middleton 88*, L. Marsh 12, C. Hull 5, S. Thorpe 2, H. Stokes 15*, Extras 29. Total: 249-6.

Braunstone: 38.

Bowling: H. Stokes 6-1-8-2; M. Whitfield 8-2-10-1; C. Hull 4-1-5-0; L. Middleton 3-0-7-3; S. Thorpe 2-1-3-0; J. Culy 0.3-0-0-1.