Southwold’s first game of the 2014 season at the Ipswich Caribbeans went down to the wire as a spirited Caribbeans team refused to fold under pressure, and sealed a nerveless win in the final over, 9 wickets down.
Gareth Gorst-Allman won the toss in his first game in charge of Southwold and chose to bat – partly due to the excellent looking wicket and partly due to the fact that only 9 players had arrived. This would be boosted to 10 during the mid-innings interval by the arrival of club President Roger Middleditch – called in at the last moment – but it was still not an ideal starting point.
The early wicket of Alex Britten set the visitors on the back foot as early season movement was exploited in a testing opening spell, but once Gorst-Allman and Jordan Barber had settled they began to find the middle of the bat and the gaps in the field and reached drinks at 63/1.
A clatter of wickets during a four over spell ended the stay of Barber, Shane Gosling and Gorst-Allman – the latter making a good 46 runs before he was run out. This brought Charlie Le Versha and Aaron Goffin together, a pair who make up for their difference in height (approximately one and a half feet) with their powerful hitting. Le Versha hit his first two balls to the boundary which helped lift the pressure which had been created by good Caribbean bowling, whilst Goffin went one further by smoking two sixes early on. More good striking followed by two last over run outs lifted Southwold to 163/6 after their 40 overs, as exactly 100 runs were scored in the second half of the innings – a well timed and well executed acceleration.
In reply, the Caribbeans were set back as good bowling by Steve Hines and Barber took apart their top order. After 11 overs the home side were 22/4 and looking ropey – Hines ended up with figures of 4/26 as he finished his 10 over spell by bowling Sanjay Patel for 23, who had helped rebuild his team’s innings with Anthony Gibson.
Along with Ramon Millwood, with whom he scored 53, Gibson provided dogged resistance before he too was bowled, this time by Le Versha for 20. Millwood however, with assistance from Kevin Layne (23) and his No. 11 partner (9) proved to be the difference between the teams. As Le Versha waged a lone yet promising battle against the lower order en route to figures of 4/22, Millwood picked the right balls to attack and his 48* took the Caribbeans to the brink – going into the last over, four were required and the last man was on strike. Facing up to opposition skipper Gorst-Allman, the tail-ender laced the first ball for four through mid-off, and the game was won.
A great contest, the Caribbeans prevailed by just one wicket with five balls left. Southwold were left to rue their hard luck and bemoan the call-offs that left them a player short when fielding. The Sunday XI travel to BT Waldringfield next weekend whilst the Saturday XI begin their campaign away at Reepham and Salle.