Melton Mowbray Second XI continued their perfect start to the season with a comfortable win over Braunstone Cricketers to stay top of Division Nine East.
The Seconds were missing several regular, and at the toss, Braunstone decided to bat first while they waited for two delayed players.
In the absence of several Melton bowlers, wicketkeeper Jamie Tew gave up the gloves and opened the bowling, and in his first over removed an opener.
He bowled well throughout to return figures of 5 for 13, with the majority of Braunstone’s runs coming from extras.
The visitors were struggling at 30 for 5 before a long sixth-wicket partnership helped them through to an eventual total of 135-6 from their 45 overs.
In reply, Melton started well with openers James Culy (22) and Adam Thompson (13) taking the score to 30 before Thompson chipped the ball back to the bowler after consecutive boundaries.
Culy then got a leading edge to mid-on, and Sam Thorpe soon followed.
But partnerships between Phil James (52 not out) and Harvey Stokes (18), and then Rupert Smallshaw (15 not out) took the home side to victory within 34 overs.
James enjoyed an excellent return to cricket after a back injury in the pre-season nets had left him doubting whether he would be able to play at all this season.
Melton reached the target comfortably with the visitors’ score looking at least 50 runs short on an excellent track.
They remain five points clear, with the top three sides having already broken away from the rest of the pack.
Bowling: J. Eccles 9-3-21-1; J. Tew 10-1-13-5; P. James 8-5-18-1; S. Thorpe 2-0-13-0; S. Booth 4-1-14-0; H. Stokes 5-0-22-0; J. Culy 7-2-18-0.
Melton: A. Thompson 13, J. Culy 22, H. Stokes 18, S. Thorpe 3, P. James 52*, R. Smallshaw 15*, Extras 16. Total: 138-4.