After Southwold’s nine players were bowled out for 95 on Saturday away to Beetley, they would have been forgiven for thinking that it might not be their day. When the opposition were 31/2, needing just 65 more runs to win, there was even more reason to be disheartened. Their joy at bowling their hosts out for 59, therefore, was unbridled.
On a damp wicket that made batting an endurance task as opposed to a joy, Harry Booker’s 40 was the difference between the two teams, and came about as a result of an aggressive approach at the crease, one which took the opposition by surprise. With Southwold’s top order done in by the unpredictable bounce and Beetley’s accurate bowling, it was left to the middle and lower order to scramble as many runs as possible to give any faint hope. In partnership with Luke Bailey, Booker played a pivotal role, hitting six boundarie and forcing Beetley to spread the field and go into a defensive frame of mind. The last wicket pair of Terry Booker and Isaac Woolnough added crucial runs too – Woolnough, playing his first senior game, gave excellent support to his partner who took the attack to the opposition for 17 vital runs. Still, when the final wicket fell for fewer than 100 it was a disappointing result.
Beetley got off to a confident start and batted with more direction as the wicket dried out. Chasing a low score, they only required one small partnership to knock the runs off and looked set to do it before captain Sam Booker came on. With his second ball he bowled Nick Calvert, and went on to turn the game by having Mark Taylor brilliantly stumped by Stefan Clifford before Paul Taylor was even more brilliantly caught at slip by Terry Booker. Michael Calvert looked to play an innings similar to that of Harry Booker, but he was removed by Edward Garrard, caught well behind the stumps and with his next ball he bowled Ian Clarke. Southwold were swarmng at this point as the wickets kept tumbling and the batsmen took longer to reach the middle. And, on a day fit for calamitous batting, it was right that a run out sealed things off, as Locke was sold short by his partner and was victim to an accurate throw from Harry Booker at midwicket.
The improbable was made possible by the Southwold Nine, who secured their second victory of the summer in a game that won’t be forgtten for some time. Next Saturday they enjoy the luxury of a home game as they welcome Beeston to The Common.