Melton Mowbray ease to comfortable Bitteswell win

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Melton Mowbray CC hosted Bitteswell at the All England Sports Ground on a bitterly cold Saturday of showers and hail.

Winning the toss and batting first, the visitors started steadily as opening bowlers, Matt Wright and Jim Eccles kept the score down, but without reward for excellent bowling.

Captain Karl Tew came on at first change and immediately bowled veteran opener Ogden for 16, but Bitteswell continued to slowly accumulate runs until they lost their second wicket to a run-out from Hugo Gibbs.

The big-hitting Ayub hit his first ball for six, but Jim Eccles soon took his revenge, clean bowling him in the next over.

Archie Cropper took two wickets in his first over as Bitteswell began to collapse, and when he removed the remaining opener Bhatia for 38, it seemed the visitors would struggle to set a challenging target.

The eighth-wicket pair of captain Mo Sadiq (9) and S Hassan (11) ensured Bitteswell gained two batting points, but when Sadiq was out lbw to Callum Hull, the last two wickets fell to suicidal run-outs, both to Karl Tew, as Bitteswell were bowled out for 129 in 36 overs.

In reply, Adam Thompson and James Culy opened cautiously until the former hit three consecutive fours in the fourth over.

Thompson was soon out, caught at cover trying to hit over the infield, and this brought in Mark Mabbutt on the back of his 90 from the previous week.

Culy (33 off 51 balls) and Mabbutt (38 off 49 balls) put the game out of reach of the opposition with a steady 70-run stand.

When Mabbutt was also out caught in the covers, Melton had reached their hundred and required just 27 off 19 overs.

Melton lost Gibbs, but Trish Panchel hit a quick unbeaten 17, and when Culy was bowled with four left to win, he combined with Matt Wright to complete an easy win with 15 overs left.

On Saturday, the Seconds visit Leicester Stars.

Bitteswell: 129.

Bowling: M. Wright 5-0-18-0; J. Eccles 10-1-33-1; K. Tew 7-1-21-2; A. Cropper 8-1-22-3; H. Gibbs 3-0-6-0; C. Hull 3.2-0-13-1.

Melton: A. Thompson 16, J. Culy 33, M. Mabbutt 38, H. Gibbs 1, T. Panchel 17*, M. Wright 2*, Extras 23. Total: 130-4.