Gillingham battle their way to solid total - but it is not enough


- Credit: Archant

Gillingham’s final home game of the season ended in an eight-wicket defeat to Cringleford.

The visitors made chasing a total of 135-5 look routine courtesy of unbeaten half centuries from Yeruva (51) and Sharpe (50) as the chase ended in the 35th over.

Having been asked to bat Gillingham’s top order struggled against some disciplined bowling assisted by some slow and uneven bounce in a pitch damp from overnight rain.

Clark (6) departed in the opening over as Sharpe (3-34) found significant movement off the pitch. Barber (2) was next to depart, shortly followed by Fowles (0) to leave Gillingham reeling at 14-3. The pacey Merrell (1-31) then made an immediate impact in cleaning up Davey. leaving Cant and Stevens with a huge rebuilding task from 22-4.

The pair displayed the application required to accumulate over the following 15 overs, steadying the Gillingham innings before Cant was unfortunate to pick out a fielder to depart for 19.

Matt Smith joined Stevens with 20 overs of the innings remaining. Smith made an immediate impression, getting off the mark with a straight six before being fortunate to be given a life as a simple chance off spinner Kirke (1-31) was spurned.

It proved to be the last chance either batsman would give as the scoreboard ticked over. The pair brought up a half-century partnership as the total passed 100 before looking to kick on in the final five overs. A combination of sharp running and occasional boundaries carried the score to 135, Stevens finished with an unbeaten 46 having anchored the innings for 34 overs while Smith chipped in with 33.

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Gillingham were buoyed when Rusted removed opener Stanley in his first over. Spirits rose further as Rusted (2-20) capped another impressive new ball spell with a second wicket to reduce Cringleford to 22-2.

At the halfway point Cringleford had accrued 58 leaving the match in the balance if Gillingham were able to dislodge either of the set batsmen.

Stevens continued to threaten but Yeruva and Sharpe rode their luck as intermittent rain started to make the ball increasingly difficult for the bowlers to grip. After 30 overs the batsmen clearly decided it was time to kick on and knocked off the remaining runs in quick time.

Man of the Match: Alex Stevens.