Southwold wicketkeeper Stefan Clifford scored an unbeaten 113 as Southwold confidently chased 213 against Beeston and beat their hosts by seven wickets.
The visitors won the toss and chose to bowl on a wicket with a decent covering of grass, and got the first breakthrough in the second over as Luke Bailey had A Parke caught down the leg side. However, a 121 run partnership between Wall and Roberson kept Southwold waiting till the 27th over for the next wicket as the pair bedded in on a pitch that was looking increasingly good for batting. The introduction of Terry and Sam Booker slowed the scoring down though, and once Southwold’s captain had Wall edging to slip, Southwold began to regain a measure of control. Terry Booker had Roberson nicking off as well, before Sam Booker had Chris Woods and B Wall in successive deliveries and then G Robbie slashed the spinner to Josh Wells at point, as Beeston slipped to 160/6. There was a brief stand between Bradford and R Wall but both fell in quick time as Southwold exerted pressure at the end of the innings, and Beeston’s final score of 213/9 looked more manageable than had seemed when the Norfolk team were 127/1.
Southwold’s chase got off to a poor start as Alex Britten was bowled by Clive Parke for 1, bringing Clifford to the wicket alongside Matt Barbrook, who was yet to face a ball. However, the pair batted excellently, and for 34 overs punished anything loose, yet were watchful against good bowling. With Barbrook playing the anchor role, Clifford was soon putting Beeston on the backfoot and the two mixed well placed shots with aggressive running, putting pressure on the fielders. First it was Clifford who brought up his fifty and then Barbrook – his first of the season – before the pair’s hard running cost them. Barbrook cut one into the off-side and, coming back for a risky second run, was caught well short of his crease for 68 as Beeston had their second wicket of the day. Captain Sam Booker came in and kept up the run rate before he was caught off a leading edge for 22, and it was David Barbrook at the other end who kept Clifford company as he reached his hundred off 101 balls. Clifford’s well-timed chase saw Southwold over the line with more than three overs to spare, and they had Barbrook and Clifford’s brilliant batting to thank.
It was an accomplished chase from Southwold and their biggest of 2014, as they got back to winning ways. Next Saturday they are at home to Hethersett and Tas Valley.