Colchester Gladiators 98 All Out
St. Martins 59 All Out
The Gladiators marched on, with yet another convincing victory, as one bunch of misfits triumphed over another. With clouds hanging heavy in the sky, the Gladiators were put in to bat, as the hosts sought to make use of the conditions. They were punished for their hubris as the heavens began to open and they were left stood in the rain. However, this divine punishment was not enough to deter them, as the weather failed to put a halt to proceedings.
The Gladiators sought out a theme of brotherly love in this fixture, opening the batting with a pair of Foxleys. John Foxley, creaked his way to the crease, his body held together with a combination of brown tape, pva glue and some magic Mexican pain pills supplied by our very own Mexican miscreant, and complained every step of the way, ensuring everyone knew that he was in pain. Those of us with a more sceptical disposition immediately knew that John was simply feathering his nest, expecting a cheap dismissal against a team he often represents himself. And so it came to pass, John’s average took a hit as he was dismissed for 15. In typical fashion, Nick decided the best strategy was to weigh anchor, and dig in… in a twenty over game. Sensing a rare opportunity to outscore his brother, his cautious innings didn’t feature any boundaries, but a number of scampered singles on his way to another 15. The Foxleys matching each other at the top of the innings.
Having impressed his skipper on debut, Adam Levy found promotion to the number 3 slot, and didn’t disappoint. Trusting his eye, he swung hard, and to the untrained eye it may have appeared that the long swings were more lumberjack than cricketer, but it proved effective, before chipping back to the bowler for the top innings score of 17. Brunsden then strolled out, having established himself as a bowler earlier in the year, he sought an opportunity to earn a reputation as a Botham-esque all rounder. Starting strong, Brunsden found the boundary early, but missed the straight ball and succumbed for 10.
Phil Moreton attempted to move the run rate along, and failed. But he did loiter for a painstaking 5. Josh Milgate came to the crease with expectations high, and two big swings later, he returned to the pavilion for only 6. Apparently his new found role as an offensive lineman means he goes hard early before being happy putting his feet up.
Skipper Burridge ambled to the middle, and scored at a good rate before a mental block set in, and he believed his bat had become a snooker cue, knocking a ball off the toe of the bat in true Steve Davis style, straight to a fielder, and departing for 9.
The Gladiators tail, so often prone to wagging, didn’t let us down, capitulating just like the rest of the team, as Raul Barclay dramatically improved his first performance, by scoring 2, before Matthew Gilbranch was run out by his brother, and Bill Kendall missed the straight one, leaving the Gladiators on a sub par score of 98 all out.
Nerves set in as the Gladiators took the field to defend a lead that was seemingly 30 runs short of par for the wicket.
Brotherly love was also on show in the field as Mark Gilbranch took the first over, and Matthew Gilbranch taking the second. The economical opening pair had conceded fewer than 10 runs after their first four overs and gave the visitors hope, but the wickets proved elusive. With Mark Gilbranch showing his fitness has suffered since taking a break from the Gladiators earlier this year, he was clearly labouring after his second over – either a fitness issue, or the fact his run up is nearly a mile long. Burridge opted to save Gilbranch for later, at which point Mark began to unleash a campaign any Heisman candidate would be proud of – self-promotion which would be the envy of Barack Obama, and ongoing smear campaigns to besmirch the reputation of other bowlers in an effort to get more overs.
Wily Veteran Bill Kendall returned to the Gladiators Cricket team after a long break, and made his presence known. The King of Spin teased the batsmen with his guile in the first few deliveries before striking hard, removing the opener’s middle stump with the penultimate ball of the over. The new batsman strode out with a sense of purpose, but the Earl of Twirl had other ideas, floating up a delivery that begged to be hit. Hit it was, but it landed squarely in the hands of Phil Moreton. Two in two balls gave the Gladiators a tremendous breakthrough with the run rate still struggling. At the end of the Over, Mark’s head looked like exploding, not only because Bill had stolen his wickets, but also because he saw his brother continuing from the other end. He commenced with puppy-dog eyes at any and all to try to convince them that he should be bowling. Nobody paid any attention.
Matthew then completed his spell with very economical figures, of only 8 runs conceded from three overs, and was unlucky to get a wicket.
With Kendall on a hat-trick, the field came in, all except Mark, who was posted in the deep for fear he’d drop a close catch on purpose as part of his cunning plan to bowl more overs. Unfortunately Kendall missed out on the third wicket there, but three balls later he got the wicket he sought, as Josh Milgate pocketed a nice catch in the covers.
At this point, the quit was shattered by the sound of a banjo – at least we thought it was a banjo. Far from being serenaded by Seasick Steve, or being caught in some sort of “Deliverance” nightmare, it emerged that the twanging was coming from John Foxley’s hamstrings as he moved to field a ball. Not knowing whether to show concern, or to break out into a barn dance, most of the Gladiators simply ignored his whimpering.
It was then time to turn to the previously mercurial Brunsden, and when his first ball was called as wide, we knew it wasn’t to be a repeat of his Frinton heroics. Needless to say, Mark was immediately gesticulating with arms aloft, but still nobody paid any attention. Kendall returned for a final over, and the Sheik of Tweak struck again with his first ball, the catch lofted high to Mark Gilbranch, who had two choices, catch the ball or swallow it. Kendall finished his spell with figures of 4-9 from his three overs.
With the hosts dramatically behind the run rate, and wickets tumbling at regular intervals, the Gladiators sensed victory, and to the complete bemusement of Mark Gilbranch, the skipper opted for Josh Milgate, who soon rewarded with a wicket, as Burridge snapped up the catch. With Mark close to exploding, and Brunsden clearly not finding the pitch to his liking, Burridge eventually relents and gives Gilbranch one final over, in the fading light. Mark’s effort was ultimately rewarded, as he did tickle the timbers, taking a wicket and allowing the Gladiators some respite from his complaining.
Milgate proceded to mop up the tail with two further wickets, finishing with 3-5 from his two overs, completing an emphatic win for the Gladiators as they remain unbeaten in 2014.