Gillingham all smiles after best performance of season so far

PUBLISHED: 07:12 30 June 2017

Archant Norfolk © 2016

Gillingham produced their strongest all round display of the season to beat a strong Eaton side by 111 runs at Ringsfield.

After electing to bat, Gillingham overcame the early loss of Davey (3) to steadily build a strong platform as Le Versha and Roberts regularly found the boundary.

The first 10 overs yielded 50 runs before Le Versha (23) was well caught in the deep and when Roberts (29) fell in similar fashion Gillingham were in danger of losing momentum at 69-3.

Barber maintained the positive intent with a huge six into the neighbouring field before settling into a more measured partnership with Cant. The pair carried the score past 100 before Barber (20) became the third batsmen to be well caught just inside the boundary to bring Ashford to the crease. Ashford (23) was typically belligerent from the off just as Cant started to cut loose as a flurry of boundaries brought up a 47-run partnership in eight overs.

Billington’s introduction to the Eaton attack brought about the end of the partnership, dismissing both batsmen in consecutive overs, but Cant’s 40 and steadying influence had provided the perfect platform to push past 200, with 162 runs on the board and 10 overs remaining. Unfortunately for Gillingham, it wasn’t to be as Billington ran through the lower order to finish with figures of 5-38 to leave them all out for 171.

Eaton’s strong top-order had the potential to significantly challenge the total but were never given a chance as Fowles and Rusted delivered superb spells with the new ball. Breakthroughs in the third and fourth overs to remove the openers, both bowlers sending stumps cartwheeling, placed Gillingham firmly in control.

After biggest partnership of the innings of 21 Fowles removed Sturgess, Barber taking a simple catch at slip after Smith had superbly parried a rapidly travelling edge. Rusted completed an impressive spell in the 14th over, recording 1-11, as Fowles continued to threaten, claiming a third wicket to finish with 3-18 from his allotted overs. After a run out, Barber (2-20) and Smith (2-3) choked the Eaton middle order and took Gillingham to the brink of victory before Le Versha demolished last man Barker’s (19) stumps to dismiss Eaton for 60 and cap a superb display in the field.

Gillingham, who sit in fifth in Norfolk League Division Two, hosting Aylsham St Giles at Ringsfield on Saturday.

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