Sudbury Cricket Club’s overseas star, Dustin Melton, put in a man-of-the-match performance as a Premier Leagues XI lost by 51 runs to Essex’s Twenty/20 Eagles side at the Cloudfm County Ground on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old South African, who arrived at Sudbury a year ago stating his intention to carve out a top-level county cricket career, took 2-26 from four overs as his side were set a target of 186 from a line-up which included Mohammad Amir, Ashar Zaidi and Ravi Bopara.
Melton’s spell with the ball saw him claim the prize wickets of openers Varun Chopra and Dan Lawrence before the 50 mark was up.
He also wowed the crowd with a stunning catch at short fine leg to send Pakistan’s Zaidi back to the pavilion.
Essex’s total, in what was a warm-up for their sold-out NatWest T20 Blast opener against Surrey on Friday, included former Mildenhall man Tom Westley bringing up a 50 as he became the last man standing.
But the Premier Leagues side, which also included former Woolpit captain Mike Jones, now at Great Withchingham and former Essex player Mervyn Westfield, who turned out for Suffolk at the start of last season, could not hold their nerve with the bat, being bowled out 51 runs short on 135-9 from their allocated overs.