Southwold fell short of overhauling BT’s total in a chase that had seemed dead in the water when the visitors slumped to 55/6. Despite a lower order fightback they still failed in their pursuit of 148 for victory.
Earlier in the day Southwold captain Craig Gorst-Allman won the toss and decided to bowl first on a pitch that had more than enough grass to interest the bowlers. Under clear skies and bright sunshine the usual opening pair of Steve Hines and Gareth Gorst-Allman were as miserly as ever as Francis and Surendra were kept quiet. After three overs just 2 scoring shots had been played and the frustration was the catalyst for the first wicket of the day to fall, as Hines removed Surendra’s off stump. Rane joined Francis at the crease and dug in with his captain as the pair struggled to get the ball away on a lively surface. Just when he was looking settled Rane fell for 20, bowled again by Hines. After 20 overs, Southwold were firmly on top – BT 45/2.
After 20 overs, the change bowlers came on and Sam Booker got his first game of the year. Southwold’s 2012 Player of the Year quickly found his rhythm as he bowled Smyth for 6 – and Craig Gorst-Allman got in on the act too, as he bowled the wristy Dasgupta for 5. The limpet-like Francis had hung around for 31 overs for just 18 runs – he scored his 2nd run in the 16th – but he was removed by Sam Booker to leave BT stalling at 75/5. Southwold had two new batsmen at the crease and overs were on their side, yet Kumar and Tuteja tucked into the bowling as Southwold’s concentration flagged. Jordan Barber put a stop to it as he removed Kumar and Barnes in the 37th over, owing much to a fine catch on the boundary from Booker – but there was still time for Tuteja to reach a quick 40*, a knock which lifted his team to a good score.
Southwold’s reply got off to a terrible start when both captain Craig Gorst-Allman and Barber were removed by Tuteja and Booker was bowled by Harris – three of the top 4 scoring just 9 runs between them. Whilst all around him were struggling, Gareth Gorst-Allman was being proactive and batting with the confidence needed to take on the tricky pitch, increasingly overcast conditions and excellent bowling and compiled a useful 24 before he too fell to Tuteja, as he used the slope to good effect. Alex Britten then proceeded to have a series of partnerships with various batsmen, usually playing second fiddle as they scored runs around him. Either side of running out Aaron Goffin, both Keith Pettman and Steve Hines used attack as the best form of defence, but both fell to nagging accurate bowling – the latter being the first of two in two for Barnes, who took out the evergreen Day Harvey for a golden duck. Shane Gosling joined Britten and the two put on the highest partnership of the match and took Southwold from a hopeless 72/8 to 112/9. Gosling was the aggressor as Britten dug in, striking a number of fours and one towering six over midwicket off Barnes that was greeted with rapturous applause. BT were stunned by the fightback from the pair and amidst the persistent drizzle the only noise amongst the fielders was that of the rain pattering on their caps. With 35 still required for victory Gosling was bowled by Barnes – and the end was as unexpected as the resistance had seemed 40 runs previously, as in his next over he bowled Britten.
A stirring fightback which will do no harm to Southwold’s confidence, they will be looking for their first League win of the season when they host Easton next weekend.