Colchester Gladiators 145 for 8
Frinton Cricket Club 137 all out
The intrepid Gladiators travelled again to Frinton looking to extend their winning record into 2014. Handing out new caps to five new players, the Gladiators initially may have looked fragile, particularly when the casual spectator glanced at the team sheet and noticed a Mexican in the lineup, but under the wily captaincy of John Foxley, the Gladiators entered the fray again.
Put in by Frinton, a brace of Foxleys marched to the crease, with a glimmer of determination in their eyes. Captain John took the first ball, and clearly bolstered by the magical #44 jersey he felt like he boasted the same pace as the number’s incumbent. It was soon clear that his pace did indeed resemble that of Casey Campbell, albeit a Casey Campbell hobbled by injury… The Foxley brothers turned certain twos into hurried singles, but the partnership looked solid as the skipper raced to his quarter century and retired to the pavilion. Matt Eva strode out at three, and with a casual doff of the cap, he swung wildly at the first ball. Learning his lesson, he waited until his fourth ball of the innings before despatching the first of what would ultimately be his three maximums of the innings. Eva wasted no time in also reaching his retirement landmark, leaving Nick Foxley watching his first two partners comfortably sat on the sidelines, whilst his innings proved somewhat sluggish…
At this point Nick’s status as senior partner at the crease came to the fore as the mariachi band kicked into overdrive. Raul Barclay stumbled and bumbled to the wicket, looking every inch the amateur. A handful of dot balls later it was tequila all round as Raul made firm contact, bat struck ball and ball sailed into the air… and straight into the hands of the fielder. Mexico isn’t famous for its poultry, but today it specialised in duck.
Another debutant, Chris Jackson, followed, and squared up to the first ball, as the ball sent the bails flying. Jackson departs for a golden duck.
With Foxley watching the middle order fold like a freshly laundered football jersey, Milgate waltzed to the middle, and set about dominating the Frinton bowling attack. Milgate danced down the wicket and sent the bowlers to all parts. Foxley, seemingly daunted at the prospect of keeping up with his Kipling-esque counterpart, chipped to the safe hands of the Frinton field and was sent back to the pavilion for 14.
Milgate’s onslaught included 3 maximums, and plenty of big hitting as he retired at 29.
The Gladiators’ tail didn’t wag, as Brunsden managed 8, Adam Levy a fortunate 4, and Ian Digby failed to trouble the scorers. Phil Moreton came to the crease at number 10, and didn’t lack confidence. Unfortunately he did lack technique, and whilst on 3 he appeared to glove the ball to the wicketkeeper. Umpire Dave Crane had no hesitation in raising the fickle finger of fate, only to see the Frinton skipper call back Moreton, claiming the ball had hit pad and not bat. The situation confused not only Moreton, but also his partner Mark Gilbranch, who was immediately dismissed for one in the wake of the controversy. This meant that retiree John Foxley returned to the middle in an effort to top up the total. At this point, the most inspired piece of captaincy of the day was witnessed, and ironically it was not provided by either of the playing captains, but by Tom Burridge – hobbled by injury, Burridge found himself umpiring and had remained neutral to this point.
With Moreton clearly struggling and the in-form Foxley desperate for the strike, Burridge manoeuvred himself to square leg, and as Moreton swept firmly, Burridge placed his metal crutch in the path of the ball, and saved a certain two, allowing Foxley back onto strike. Alas, twelve runs later, Foxley holes out in the deep and departs for a total of 37. This brings Eva back to the crease for the final surge, and after adding twelve more runs to the total in double quick time, he finishes 41 not out, and the Gladiators’ innings close at 145 for 8, with both umpires under suspicion…
The visitors soon took the field, and the Frinton batsmen started fast. With ever-reliable Gilbranch opening the bowling and providing a steady influence at one end, the onus was on Moreton to attack. Alas, it was the Frinton batsmen who did the attacking, taking apart the bowling to the tune of 30 runs of only two overs. Moreton was replaced by Eva, who looked little better, his first two overs being dispatched for 22 further runs as Frinton were well ahead of the run rate. Eva realised his figures were going to suffer unless he picked up his game, and his final pair of overs went for only three runs and yielded a wicket, whilst Gilbranch finished his spell with 1-17 from his four overs.
Digby then entered the attack, and whilst promising much, delivered little, as his two overs were sent for 27. Frinton looked to be dominating, but then, cometh the hour, cometh the Brunsden…
The burly slow bowler teased and tormented the Frinton batsmen, aided by the unlikeliest characters. Brunsden’s bowling saw the batsmen chip out to both Barclay and Digby as well as a stumping by the effervescent Nick Foxley behind the stumps. With Milgate exerting pressure at the other end in the fading light, the two bowlers ripped apart the Frinton lineup and stifled the run rate at the same time.
Milgate closed out the innings with 3-18 from his four overs, and Brunsden finished with a magnificent 5-12 from four overs, and was robbed of a sixth when Digby couldn’t cling on to another grab at mid off.
The Frinton tail capitulated and they eventually fell eight runs short in the dwindling coastal light. Man of the match Brunsden was typically understated at the end of the game, saying “do I really have to buy a jug? I mean, will anyone actually drink it?” and batting hero Milgate in typically contemplative mood, stating “these are actually good size changing rooms, as he tucked into the fare on offer.
Frinton were grateful for the game, but elders were seen calling for the head of the skipper at the end of the contest, claiming that allowing a team with a Mexican to triumph over purebred cricketers simply wasn’t acceptable. It was noted that the Jose Cuervo had disappeared from behind the bar before the Gladiators departed for the night, basking in their triumph.