Southwold saw off a strong Brooke side as they continued their unbeaten run in the Norfolk Cricket League in what was their tightest game of the summer. Having set their hosts 211 to win, Southwold saw Brooke reach 110/2 with plenty of overs to go and required excellent bowling from Sam, Terry and Harry Booker to see them over the line.
After choosing the toss, captain Sam Booker was out in the middle sooner than he anticipated as openers Alex Britten and 11 year old Ezra Fuller departed early, the former bowled and the latter bounced out, both by Andrew Cross. In collaboration with Matt Barbrook, the pair counter-attacked and began to score freely against a good bowling attack. Booker was perfectly balanced at the crease as he clipped and drove sweetly, whilst Barbrook’s footwork to the slow bowlers put them off their natural rhythm. However, it was the slow bowlers who began to tighten the screws – Booker fell for a good 64 to Oakie, who soon added Jason Hall to his collection. At the other end, a tidy spell form Clive Bennett removed Luke Bailey and Harry Booker, before the returning Ollie Smith bowled Barbrook for 70, an innings which held Southwold’s effort together. Jake Fuller scored a good 21 and in the last over Terry Booker and Trevor Clifford ran hard as Southwold posted 210/8, a decent effort in tremendous heat and against good bowling.
In reply, the opening pair of Babington and Andrews began well, hitting several clean drives and picking up good pull shots through midwicket. The usual opening bowling combination of Hall and Edward Garrard began to exert pressure though and Andrews was soon out, missing a big inswinger to be hit flush in front of the stumps for 21. Oakie joined Babington and the left hander was vicious on width; but Southwold soon set the trap – with Harry Booker cramping Oakie for room by bowling around the stumps and posting Garrard into no man’s land on the offside, Oakie slashed it high and was caught for 23. This wicket began the Booker Show as between the three of them 9 wickets fell. But it wasn’t until their opposition were 100 runs behind their total that the next wicket came as, with Terry Booker starving the batsmen of free hits, Humphries hacked at one and was caught by son Harry, and soon after he bowled Westgate to put the brakes on Brooke’s effort. Babington, who had completed a good fifty, was then bowled by Sam Booker as the dry, dusty track took plenty of turn before castling Duffield – and, not to be outdone, Terry chipped in to remove Dicks. Southwold’s skipper Sam then took a smart caught and bowled to get rid of Prewer-Andrews before injury struck the visitors. Hall, going for a skied catch off Bennett, broke his finger and was driven to hospital – the severity of the injury was clear to any who saw it and will put him out of action for the next month. However, this failed to distract the visitors from their objective, as via a smart stumping from Matt Barbrook and a catch in the outfield by Bailey, Harry Booker wrapped up Brooke’s innings for 174, giving Southwold a win by 36 runs.
This was by far Southwold’s most complete win – runs from the middle order and a test for Southwold’s change bowlers as well as their resolve when faced with opposition who could have taken the game away from them. The Saturday XI have a week’s break before their next game against Horsford.