County League: Fourie stars again as Melton close in on leading trio

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. EMN-170530-121108002
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. EMN-170530-121108002

Melton Mowbray First XI moved within seven points of the Division Three promotion places after sealing emphatic back-to-back County League wins on Saturday.

Mowbray came into their home match with Hinckley Town unbeaten since the opening day of the season, and needing a win to keep the pressure on the top of the table.

A positive start was imperative, and after choosing to bat first on a great batting track at the All England Sports Ground, Potter and Claricoates provided that.

Potter raced to a quickfire 50, dispatching the bowlers to all parts, but fell soon after, bringing the prolific Carel Fourie to the crease.

His good form continued as he gave the bowlers little room for error. The visitors applied pressure and the scoring slowed in the middle overs with the introduction of spin as Claricoates went for a well-made 48.

Stevenson then fell for 19, but Fourie remained on song with an impressive unbeaten 97, taking his season average to 500, as Melton posted 218 from their 45 overs.

Roberts (7-2-27-1) and Redwood (6-0-25-1) both took early wickets to put pressure on Hinckley’s reply before Fourie again showed his all-round quality, bowling with tenacity and accuracy to take 4 for 28.

Stevenson (9-1-44-4) hastened the Hinckley collapse with his varied pace forcing mistakes to return his personal best figures of the season.

Melton are fourth and face a big game on Saturday at fifth-placed Ratby Town with the two sides locked on the same points.