Braintree U15 v Witham
Braintree's Under 15's ended a run of 3 straight defeats with victory over local rivals Witham thanks to an unbroken stand of 112 for the second wicket between Thomas Mellon and Callum Lazarus.
With the late withdrawal of skipper Adam Westall through Covid, Callum Lazarus lead the side once more and was asked to bat when he lost the toss on a fine summers evening at St Peters Road. With the wicket looking flat, it was Braintree's intention to bat first if they had won the toss and once again it was Thomas Mellon who stepped up to deputise for Westall in the opening birth.
Braintree began watchfully against a strong Witham attack but lost their first wicket in the 4th over when Toby Adcock found himself dismissed for the first time this season as he cut uppishly into the gully where Simper took a comfortable catch to leave The Dolphins 18-1.
Skipper Lazarus then joined Mellon at the crease and the pair began to accelerate the run rate with Lazarus being particularly brutal to anything on leg stump. At the halfway point though the score was only 51-1 but Mellon was now also starting to flow and struck some powerful straight boundaries as the Witham bowlers began to struggle to maintain control on the scoring rate during the second 10 overs. 80 runs came from those final overs and Mellon reached his maiden half century in the final over to finish on 51* from 62 balls with 6 fours. Meanwhile Lazarus managed his highest score with 42* from 46 balls with 5 x boundaries.
The feeling at the break was that Braintree were 20 runs short on a flat deck and they would need to bowl well to pull off a win and the opening pair of Hyslop and Hunt made a solid start for Witham until Theo Sherry castled Hyslop in the 7th over to leave Witham 38-1. A further 2 wickets followed quickly as first Callum Lazarus bowled Dylan Castro without scoring and then Thomas Mellon, bowling as quick as we've seen him this year, sent Drew Mott packing with an excellent yorker, 42-3.
Nicholas Grainger then joined Ben Hunt in the middle and the pair set about putting the Braintree bowlers under pressure. Braintree's ground fielding was superb with everyone putting their bodies on the line to keep runs down and particular praise must be given to the three under 11 players in the side. Lucas Hale, Will Sherry and Luke Huckson (on debut) all made significant contributions and can be very proud of their performances.
It was the introduction of Toby Adcock, who can't stop impacting games this year, that swung the game Braintree's was as with his second ball he took the scalp of the dangerous Hunt who was excellently caught on the long off boundary for 28 and after a succession of near misses he took 2 wickets in 3 balls of the 18th over to effectively clinch the match. A simple return catch saw the back of Grainger for 23 and then he disturbed the timber of Radley for 6 as Witham looked to hit out. The innings closed on 102-6 with Adcock returning excellent figures of 3 for 5 in 3 overs.