County League: Melton Mowbray Second XI held up in victory charge

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After two straight defeats, Melton Mowbray Second XI were looking to get their season back on track at Lutterworth Fourth XI.

The hosts won the toss and put Melton into bat on a very green pitch, but openers James Culy (61) and Spencer Handley (20) got their innings off to a flyer.

Seventeen runs came off the first over as Melton had reached 50 by the sixth over.

When Handley was bowled with the score on 56, Trish Panchel (23) came to the wicket and Melton continued to hit boundaries with ease.

Culy reached his half-century in the 12th over as the Lutterworth bowlers fed his favourite scoring areas.

The introduction of the change bowlers, particularly Hack (8-2-9-2), put a break on the innings as first Panchel and then Culy fell in quick succession.

Mick Whitfield (26) and Jamie Tew (20) made valuable contributions before a mini-collapse saw Melton slump to 172-7.

But a late partnership between Sam Thorpe (21) and debutant Max Braime (13) took Melton past 200 as the visitors were bowled out for 226 in the 43rd over.

In reply, the Lutterworth openers shut up shop as they never looked to chase down the total.

When Darren Smith took the first wicket in the 19th over, the home team were on 47 and had fallen way behind the required scoring rate.

Melton used nine bowlers trying to get wickets, and whenever a batsman started to look to score runs, they were quickly out.

Wickets were shared around as Handley, Braine, Smith and Culy claimed two apiece, but the home team managed to salvage a draw as they closed their innings on 157-8.

Melton received the majority of the points and stayed second, but were disappointed not to force a win and fell 36 points behind leaders Gumley.

Melton: J. Culy 61, S. Handley 20, T. Panchel 23, M. Whitfield 26, J. Tew 20, D. Smith 4, T. Zbaraski 0, S. Thorpe 21, M. Braime 13, B. Draper 1, S. Ellison 5*, Extras 32. Total: 226.

Lutterworth: 157-8.

Bowling: J. Tew 9-1-32-0; M. Whitfield 6-2-12-0; T. Panchel 7-1-16-0; D. Smith 11-1-40-2; S. Handley 5-0-21-2; M. Braine 5-3-6-2; S. Thorpe 1-0-9-0; J. Culy 2-0-2-2; T. Zbaraski 1-0-3-0.