Southwold’s 2014 season ended with a thrashing as, with only 10 players, they lost heavily away to a good Mellis side who were chasing 2nd place in Section A of the Suffolk Cricket Alliance.
The visitor’s scrabbling around for players led to an absent minded approach to the game, with very few players performing. After losing the toss and being asked to field first, Steve Hines was as good as ever and took early wickets to put Mellis back. Yet the pitch was a batting haven, and the outfield quick, and captain Gareth Gorst-Allman was forced to ring the changes from the other end, searching in vain for a bowler to tie Mellis down. Indeed, by the time he was able to bring himself on, Mellis skipper Chris Farrant was already en route to a brutal century, and there was little the visiting captain could do to stop his counterpart. Farrant’s ton included 18 boundaries and four maximums, and was a display of clean hitting as Southwold began to wilt. Gorst-Allman eventually had Farrant caught and bowled, and proceeded to chip away at the incoming batsmen, but some dogged lower order hitting ensured that the eventual total of 261 was way out of Southwold’s reach. Gorst-Allman was the pick of the bowlers with 4/45, whilst Steve Hines took 3/39 at the top of the innings – but there was little support from the other bowlers.
In reply, Southwold were intent to give a good account of themselves – and began brightly with Gorst-Allman finding the boundary with a series of well placed late cuts. But when Alex Britten attempted a pull shot off Will Dawson, serving only to chop it onto his stumps, Southwold collapsed from 44/0 to 44/3, with two new batsmen at the crease yet to face a ball. Shane Gosling was the only batsman other than Gorst-Allman – who was unlucky to receive a pea-roller and be plumb lbw for 27 – to show fight, as another three wickets fell with the score on 64 to put Southwold on the brink of a huge defeat at 64/7. And it was all over soon after when Graham Goffin, who gamely filled in at the last minute, was bowled for 1 and Southwold were all out for 82.
It was a chastening defeat for the visitors, and a disappointing way to end the season. With two teams playing again in 2015 it now becomes imperative that there is greater commitment and willing to play from members of the club, so as to avoid matches where only nine or 10 players can be found to play. With an impressive youth structure in place, there is no excuse for the younger members of the cricket club not to start playing senior cricket and in 2015 they should find themselves plenty of game time.