thanks for the memories, stuart

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Melton’s biggest sporting export Stuart Broad was at it again last Thursday with the latest, and most dramatic, Ashes-clinching spell of his career.

Broad’s incredible spell of 8 for 15 in nine-and-a-half compelling overs at his home ground of Trent Bridge skittled the Australians for just 60.

Melton Mowbray CC cricketer Maddie Wrath meets Stuart Broad shortly before his magic Ashes-winning spell EMN-151208-084331002

Melton Mowbray CC cricketer Maddie Wrath meets Stuart Broad shortly before his magic Ashes-winning spell EMN-151208-084331002

The deadly performance earned him new career-best figures and laid the foundations for an inevitable England win, by an innings and 78 runs, which clinched the Ashes for the hosts with a match to spare.

The nation was spellbound as one wicket tumbled after another, and several lucky Melton supporters were in the crowd to witness his landmark.

Geoff Goodson was an especially proud spectator.

Geoff is vice-chairman of Egerton Park, the club where Broad played his junior and youth cricket and where he remains a lifetime member.

Melton bowler Chris Rodgers with former Egerton Park junior Stuart Broad at Trent Bridge EMN-151208-143700002

Melton bowler Chris Rodgers with former Egerton Park junior Stuart Broad at Trent Bridge EMN-151208-143700002

He said: “It was unbelievable. Friends of ours came up with us to the match and kept saying ‘pinch me, it can’t be real’.

“We spent more time standing up celebrating each wicket than we did sitting down.

“You have to take your chance while you can against the Australians because they can dish it out as well.”

It took only a few balls for Broad to pick up his 300th Test match wicket.

The Aussies are defeated at Trent Bridge EMN-151208-144520002

The Aussies are defeated at Trent Bridge EMN-151208-144520002

A little more than an hour later and he was celebrating the third-best English Ashes bowling figures of all time, surpassed only by Jim Laker who took 19 wickets in the Old Trafford Test in 1956.

Geoff also had tickets for day three and was there to see England wrap up the tourists’ second innings and seal the return of the Ashes.

“It as literally out of this world - not seen since the days of Laker and Lock,” he added.

“We went into that game thinking it wouldn’t be easy without Jimmy Anderson, but Broad and Stokes did the job.”

Chris Rodgers can also call himself an England bowler, albeit of the indoor bowls variety, and had tickets for all five days.

The Melton Indoor Bowls Club member snatched a selfie with Broad, potential man of the series Joe Root, and Durham bowler Mark Wood.

He said: “I missed out on the original ballot for Ashes tickets last time around and managed to bag a fourth day for Durham, the last time Broady worked his magic to win the urn.

“The moment to cherish was the first session of the first day – it was absolutely unforgettable.

“It was an experience which I don’t think will be repeated, and will certainly be in my memory forever.”

The Test match also proved a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Melton Mowbray CC junior cricketer Maddie Wrath who was there with her dad Andrew.

Broad took time to pose for a picture with the 12-year-old, just hours before his career-defining spell, and also signed her day one scorecard.

Andrew described the scene: “We were sat in the pavilion so right behind the bowler’s arm.

“I have seen a lot of Stuart Broad over the years at Trent Bridge including his first Test 50 and his hat-trick against India, but this was special.

“We were expecting a fairly short match, but this blew us away.

“It always looked a good morning to bowl, but I couldn’t believe it when the first two wickets went down in the first over.

“We realised we were witnessing something special when Ben Stokes made an unbelievable catch.”

Simon Welch, from Goadby Marwood, felt lucky to have arrived in time for the start of play on day one.

“My main memory is of a totally stunned crowd and feeling sorry for anybody who had arrived late,” he said.

“Normally you have swathes of people moving around buying drinks, but nobody dared to leave their seat, even at the expense of a much desired pint!

“The actual cricket at a Test match is often something happening in the background while you chat to your mates.

“You try and spot celebrities and giggle at the fancy dress, but you simply couldn’t take your eyes off what was happening in the middle.”

Not everyone was so lucky, however.

Ian Kerr, founder and director of Wartnaby-based Howzat Travel, decided he was too busy to take Thursday off and decided to hand over his day one tickets to a fortunate friend.

He came clean on Twitter where he posted: “I dare say giving my ticket away for today wasn’t my best idea. The things I do for work!”