Gillingham’s highest score for years is more than enough to clinch victory

Swaffham celebrate claiming the wicket of Beccles' George Milton. Picture: Antony Kelly

Swaffham celebrate claiming the wicket of Beccles' George Milton. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

A sparkling century from captain Jordan Barber powered Gillingham to a huge win over Sprowston B on Saturday in a fixture critical to consolidating a position in Division 2 East.

Having been asked to bat first on an excellent wicket Gillingham’s total of 259-8, their biggest for years, was far too much for their visitors.

After the early loss of Larry Cant man-of-the-match Barber and Russell Roberts soon got into their stride and kept the score moving with runs all around the wicket.

After pushing the total past 50 in the 15th over, it took just five overs to move to 100, Barber passing his half-century in the process. Roberts offered excellent support throughout and had accrued 29 before being well-caught in the 22nd over but not before contributing to a 102-run partnership.

The strong platform allowed the incoming batsmen to express themselves from the off with Tom Ashford (14) and Liam Smith (22) both scoring at quicker than a run-a-ball. The fall of wickets did nothing to slow Barber’s progress, bringing up a superb century in the 34th over with a 14th boundary. Barber was dismissed in the following over but having placed Gillingham in firm control at 190-5 with nine overs remaining.

Darren Fowles then further punished the Sprowston attack, bringing up a brisk half-century with a huge six and adding 49 for the seventh wicket with Matt Smith.

With only 15 runs scored in the first 10 overs of the Sprowston reply it soon became apparent that the visitors had little intention of mounting a chase. Ollerton (35) and Corcoran (43) brought up a half-century partnership for the first wicket before Liam Smith made an immediate breakthrough, cleaning up Ollerton in the 19th over. Matt Smith returned to remove Huded (12) before Barber (3-41) added wickets to his runs with three in as many overs, the highlight an excellent catch from Jackman. At 124-5 after 35 overs the chase was well and truly over, leaving Gillingham 10 overs to push for the wickets needed to claim maximum points. Fowles and Jackman both completed threatening spells but with no luck before Matt Smith picked off three of the lower order to finish with figures of 4-28. The last two wickets eluded Gillingham despite the incoming batsmen being surrounded by close fielders as Sprowston closed on 165-8,