Southwold’s Saturday XI won by 9 wickets away at Hardingham, as a spell of 3/4 from David Barbrook and Matthew Barbrook’s 45* ensured that the visitors took full points once again and kept up their pursuit of Beeston in the Norfolk Cricket League.
After the hosts won the toss and elected to bat, Southwold found the green pitch offering little sideways assistance despite variable bounce. Ecclestone and Palmer had put on 19 for the first wicket before Ed Garrard got the first breakthrough, which he backed up with another in the same over. Martin and Nelson then put on a quick 42 run partnership – the right and left hand combination blunting Southwold’s attack. Captain Sam Booker brought himself on and in his second over bowled Martin for 23, whilst Jason Hall had Nelson flashing a thick edge behind to wicketkeeper Stefan Clifford. Booker looked to his change bowlers and, bringing on Terry Booker, had another breakthrough soon as White gave Garrard a catch to fall for 16. Southwold continued to chip away at regular intervals around Fowle’s resilient 32, which was landmarked by leg side heaves, including one big six off Booker. However, the introduction of David Barbrook wrapped the innings up, as in 2.4 overs he removed Fowle, Greeves and Chamberlin, the last of these bowled attempting to launch Barbrook out of East Anglia, only to see his middle stump pegged back and his bat fly out of his hands and plug in the outfield in a short fine leg position. The home side were bowled out for 131, with Barbrook the pick of the bowlers and both Bookers and Garrard picking up two wickets each.
The opening Southwold pairing of Alex Britten and Matthew Barbrook did the bulk of the work as, after seeing off a quick opening burst from Greeves and a probing one from Nelson, the two upped their run rate. The boundaries started to flow more readily as Barbrook drove down the ground and Britten pulled over midwicket and at drinks after 15 overs the pair were 79/1. The interval proved timely for the hosts as Britten gloved behind immediately after the break for 46, bringing Clifford to the wicket. With Barbrook approaching his half century, the new man got the game over in a hurry, hitting a four and then two consecutive sixes to wrap the game up. Barbrook finished 45* whilst Clifford reached 28* as Southwold won within 21 overs.
The win sees Southwold (183 points) maintain their place behind Beeston (189) in the table, but as the only team to be unbeaten in the league. Next week sees the league fixtures repeat themselves as Southwold are on the road again, this time to Brooke, whom they beat in the first game of the season at the start of May.