Gillingham give high-flyers something to think about in low-scoring clash

Jordan Taylor in full flight for Swardeston against Great Witchingham. Picture: Nick Butcher

Jordan Taylor in full flight for Swardeston against Great Witchingham. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Gillingham suffered a first defeat in five matches on Saturday but could take many positives from a competitive game at Division Two champions-in-waiting Caister.

In a game where ball dominated bat throughout, 16 wickets fell for a total of just 154 runs.

Gillingham elected to bat first but immediately struggled to get going against the accuracy of Oxborough and Hewitt. The early pressure told with Cant dismissed in the fourth over before Barber and Roberts also departed within the first 10 as Hewitt claimed three wickets for just 14 runs.

Fowles then picked out the one fielder in the deep to reduce Gillingham to 30-4 but Davey and Stevens then combined to steadily accumulate.

The pair blunted the attack for 17 overs, adding 30 vital runs before Davey’s gritty innings was finally brought to an end for 25.

At 60-5 Gillingham needed the lower order to contribute but incoming batsmen were provided with few opportunities. Stevens’ long vigil was ended in unfortunate fashion, run out after a painful blow on the knee, before the remainder of the batsmen fell in quick succession as Gillingham were dimissed for 75.

Gillingham took heart from how well Caister had bowled and set out to replicate their hosts’ intensity in the field. Fowles made an early breakthrough, trapping Goodby lbw within the first over to raise Gillingham spirits.

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Rusted shared the new ball and also threatened as runs proved hard to come by before finally getting a deserved reward in his fourth over courtesy of a sharp catch from Stevens at mid-off. Barber (2-22) then demonstrated his knack for an immediate impact with a wicket from his first delivery and another in his second over to reduce Caister to 34-4 and give Gillingham hope of an unlikely victory.

Hewitt clearly felt that a more aggressive approach was required and raced to 21 with a flurry of boundaries before Fowles (2-25), having bowled a full 10-over spell of pace and movement, produced a perfect yorker to end the blitz.

Unfortunately for Gillingham the damage had been done though and, despite Jackman chipping in with another wicket, Caister reached their total in the 22nd over, but having been given a real scare by a superb effort from Gillingham in the field.

Gillingham host Cringleford on Saturday in their final home game of the season.