Like a pheasant clipped by a speeding car on a busy road, Southwold limped over the winning line against bottom placed Hethersett & Tas Valley in a frustrating run chase that saw them lose ground over the two other teams chasing second place in the Norfolk Cricket League.
After bowling out the visitors for 85, Southwold were confident of an easy run chase yet with an experimental batting line up they conspired to lose wickets against accurate bowling. Only Stefan Clifford, whose 35* saw Southwold home, applied himself to the job and it was fitting that four byes were let through as the winning runs, as the game deserved a scrappy ending. Although their bowlers performed well, Southwold’s batsmen will be irritated by their collective failure to bat appropriately.
After losing the toss and being put in the field, Southwold began slowly as Hethersett’s opening batsmen Mark Worley and Rick Parson batted well. The breakthrough came via a brilliant caught and bowled from Ed Garrard – who changed direction in his follow through and dived full length to catch it inches off the ground – which removed Parson, and it was Garrard again with a quick throw who ran out new man Nick Morton for 2, as the hosts started to wake up to the game. From then it was the Booker show – Terry Booker was miserly as he delivered 12 overs for just 7 runs, whilst captain Sam Booker took 5/35 as he ran through the Tas middle-order. Opening bowler Luke Bailey returned at the end to wrap things up, as he bowled Glyn Webster and then had Tom Worley caught behind in the last over, as Southwold bowled out an opponent in the first innings of a game for the first time in the season.
The nature of their run chase was poor as the lost wickets saw them lose points and next week’s opposition – Great Witchingham – took this opportunity to overtake them to third place in the table. Southwold will be hoping for a more complete performance next week, in a game that will have resonance with final league positions.