Another Gladiators Victory - Posted on July 6th, 2015

On a warm summer evening the Gladiators returned to Frinton to take on the auld enemy, and after a not at all contrived toss of the coin, Frinton skipper Brian Wilderspin-Webb chose to insert the motley crew from Colchester.

In an unfamiliar position, being asked to set a target, skipper Burridge stuck with a tried and tested opening partnership, as the fabulous Foxleys were asked to set the tone. Which they duly did, with John Foxley dismissed in the first over for 3. The marauding Mexican Raul Barclay then came to the crease, displaying questionable technique but closed his eyes and swung heartily to see the ball disappear to the boundary. The crowd went wild for this, but our apathetic amigo was completely oblivious to the fact he’d set a new highest score, not quite understanding how many runs he’d got. Dismissed soon after, the celebration began once his team mates were able to clarify the situation. Stalwart Brunsden then came to try and steady the ship, but his confidence was misplaced, and he departed without troubling the scorers.


With the visitors in trouble at 15 for 3, the cool headed Phil Moreton wandered to the crease, the tape holding his broken body trailing behind him. The hosts clearly saw Moreton as a walking wicket, but instead of bowling full and straight, they opted for numerous long hops, allowing Phil to stretch his lengthy limbs and send the pedestrian bowling to all parts. With Nick Foxley now anchoring the other end, Moreton went expansive, and quickly got the scoreboard moving, before finding himself reaching the magical 25, and retiring back to the pavilion to wrap some more tape around his joints.


Burridge then came to the crease, and played with intent, cleanly striking the second ball back over the bowler’s head, over the trees, and deep into the fields for a maximum. After some neat strokeplay, Foxley succumbed and debutant Andrew Cairns came to the crease, promising much, but in true Gladiators style, delivering little…


Cairns promptly missed a straight one, which someone missed the stumps and perplexed the wicketkeeper. Burridge, in true gazelle fashion, leapt into action, calling Cairns through for a bye. The Frinton fielders sensed danger, and acrobatically tossed the ball back towards the stumps, Burridge appeared safely home, but John Foxley only had eyes for the averages, and sensing a threat from Burridge potentially climbing above him in the standings, Foxley brought forth the fickle finger of fate, and with the skipper desperately calling for DRS, he had no choice but to depart.


Cairns continued to scratch around at the wicket as he was joined by Josh Milgate, a tandem that looked to make the Gladiators’ lead unassailable. All they achieved was a disparate display of mediocrity, as Cairns could not find the middle of the bat – a bat we were later to discover was held together with some hidden nails  in the toe. Milgate showed promise, but his enthusiasm got the better of him, his luscious locks of hair clearly got in his eyes and as he advanced down the wicket he was duly stumped by the Frinton keeper.


Pedro Gowans then came to the wicket, and decided to follow in Milgate’s footsteps by swinging hard before being stumped himself.


Mark Gilbranch then limped gingerly to the middle, sensing an opportunity to stake his claim for an improved batting spot in the future. To his credit he worked hard, dispatching the bowling to all corners for 18 runs, before again finding himself stumped as enthusiasm got the better of him.


The number 11 was then pressed into action – another debutant, Sam Gennings looked to put the Gladiators’ total out of reach. He added 8, but couldn’t capitalise on his start and soon found himself back in the dressing room. This meant Moreton was asked to return, but couldn’t help as Cairns decided that he really should model himself on Josh Milgate, and advanced so far down the wicket he was in danger of hitting the ball out of the bowler’s hand. He missed. The wicketkeeper didn’t and notched another stumping, closing the Gladiators’ innings at 128 all out.


So, with what appeared an eminently defendable total, the Gladiators took to the field, but the Frinton batsmen started with real intent. With Mark Gilbranch taking the first over, he saw two of his first four deliveries sent to the fence, including a towering six that the locals tell me is still climbing into the sky as we speak…


However, Gilbranch was rewarded with a wicket at the end of the over, as he snuck through the batsman’s defence and tickled the bails. Burridge considered his options and then tossed the ball to Gennings to open from the other end. Gennings took a few deliveries to get over the shock of feeling a ball in his hand, sending down a number of wide deliveries as he grafted up the hill. Quick to blame the fact that the tide was coming in, the ball swung erratically away from the batsman, and tested Nick Foxley behind the stumps. In his two overs Gennings was punished for 28 runs, and after four overs the hosts looked well on the way, with a run rate in excess of 12 per over.


Gennings was replaced by Cairns, who took enough time off from incessant workout regimens in the field to toss down a few deliveries. Gilbranch rounded off his spell with a second wicket, but was uncharacteristically expensive, finishing with 2-30 from his four overs. Cairns however was more economical, and found his line and length, with two consecutive wicket maidens, pegging back the Frinton run rate. The introduction of Pedro Gowans into the attack was undoubtedly a risk, but when he knocked the stumps down in his first over, the risk seemingly paid off. With Cairns being miserly at the other end, Gowans looked to cut through the incessant sledging (mostly coming from Milgate and Cairns…aimed at each other) and focus on the stumps, as he drew an edge and Burridge held a sharp catch in the gulley. Andrew “fondant” Cairns finished a spell with 2-6 from his four overs, and yielded the introduction of Milgate into the attack. Milgate continued to be stingy, and Frinton found themselves dropping dramatically behind the required run rate, with wickets having fallen at regular intervals. Gowans completed an impressive spell, with four overs bringing figures of 3-30. Burridge then introduced himself into the attack, and knocked over the off stump in his first and only over. The full 20 overs were not required though as Milgate earned a well deserved wicket with the final ball of his third over, closing the innings at 104 all out. The Glaidators ran out victors by 24 runs, and continued their impressive form against Frinton.


With no further games planned as yet, the world will have to wait for the return of the Cairns headband, the Milgate workout breaks, the Gowans worm, and the Gennings wide….


Updated Glaidators’ Cricket stats are available here…

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