Melton Mowbray CC skittle Stars to seal County League crown

Division Three champions Melton Mowbray CC First XI. From left, back - Ben Redwood, Paul Stevenson, James Cusack, Joe Peveritt, Carel Fourie, Gaz Potter, Simon Claricoates; front - Carl Parker, Mike Roberts, Pete Humphries, Jamie Tew. EMN-190618-103407002
Division Three champions Melton Mowbray CC First XI. From left, back - Ben Redwood, Paul Stevenson, James Cusack, Joe Peveritt, Carel Fourie, Gaz Potter, Simon Claricoates; front - Carl Parker, Mike Roberts, Pete Humphries, Jamie Tew. EMN-190618-103407002
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Melton Mowbray can look forward to life in County League Division Two after clinching the title with games to spare on Saturday.

The First XI headed to Maher Stars knowing one win from their final three games would see them crowned champions of Division Three.

And a low-scoring 71-run win wrapped things up, just seven days after Melton’s Second XI had clinched the Division Nine East title.

Maher won the toss and elected to bowl first on a difficult wicket offering indifferent bounce.

Melton’s batsmen struggled throughout, with five players out for ducks, and relied on overseas player James Cusack to get them to a defendable total.

The Australian was the fulcrum of the innings as Melton were bowled out for 152, only the third time this season they have failed to bat out their 45 overs.

In reply, Mike Roberts and Ben Redwood immediately put the home side in trouble as they took three quick wickets apiece.

With Carel Fourie cleaning up the tail, Maher were skittled for 81 as Melton comfortably defended their total.

Their 15th win of the season left them 55 points clear at the top and led to both teams celebrating into the evening at their newly-refurbished clubhouse.

* Melton Seconds ended their season in fitting style with a 31-run win at home to Uppingham Town Third XI.

The hosts won the toss and batted first, but lost both openers early, bringing Liam Tew and Callum Hull to the wicket.

They crafted an excellent third-wicket partnership, and by the time Hull was caught for 31, Melton had reached 150 and were comfortably in control.

Tew was threatening to score his second ton of the season, but fell short on 93 when he was caught behind.

Veteran Brian Draper (26 not out) and Matthew Wright (11 not out) batted through to the end of the 40 overs as Melton posted 218-4.

In reply, Archie Cropper and Jim Eccles bowled well, but wickets were hard to come by for the home team.

After Eccles removed one of the openers, it took a change of bowlers to bring the next wicket as Sean Thorpe took the next two to fall, one bowled and the second stumped by Johnny Wydra.

With Uppingham opener Brown retiring on 58, the visitors batted through, losing one more wicket to finish well short of the target on 187-4.

Melton closed out their successful season as champions and now look forward to a 2020 season in Division Eight.

Melton: A. Thompson 15, J. Culy 2, C. Hull 31, L. Tew 93, B. Draper 26*, M. Wright 11*, Extras 40. Total: 218-4.

Uppingham: 187-4.

Bowling: A. Cropper 10-30-0; J. Eccles 7-27-1; M. Wright 10-62-0; S. Thorpe 8-40-3; L. Tew 5-29-0.