This year’s Barrow Gurney Cricket Club tour again was based in Torquay and featured some old rivalries and some new fixtures. It all started by marking a special birthday, as you can read in Ali Hood’s Tour Diary
Tour started with a wet drive down the M5 but by the time we reached our rendezvous at the Beer Engine for a quick pre game pint the sun was out & remained so through most of the week.
The first game was at the picturesque Shobrooke Park, a team we have been playing for many years who are always very hospitable & play the game in the right spirit. Club legend Mick Hardy ‘fresh’ from his surprise 60th birthday party at the weekend was skipper and as is the tradition we batted with the aim of posting a score of around 200. Ed Holdaway (21) & Jordan Allen (25) made starts but Mark Gracey & Sam Turner fell cheaply leaving Barrow on 88 -4 off 17. This brought Ali Hood(39) and Mick Hardy together, who put on 70, before falling in quick succession, Mick for 58 just shy of 60 on his 60th! The lower order with some lusty blows from Ed Jones & Premil Torrington took us to the perfect score of 201 from our 40 overs
Tea was befitting of Mick’s recent Evening post article where he nominated Shobrooke as his favourite ground & tea. Worryingly Mick appeared to then have the first ‘senior moment’ of his 7th decade when he opened the bowling with Sam but it turned out to be inspired as he bowled 7 overs for just 10 runs meaning Shobrooke were well behind the rate when Johnny Sykes picked up the 1st wicket. This brought Frank Forge, who was guesting for the opposition, to the wicket and it’s fair to say that he did little to up the tempo. Fernando bowled well before Ali was brought into the attack to help up the run rate but with wickets for Ed Jones, Premil & Mick the total proved beyond Shobrooke & Barrow earned an opening win. One blot on the tour was Dan Jones going over on his knee putting him out of the rest of tour at least in terms of playing.
Mick got 90 odd & there were centuries for Ali, Sam & Gracey – unfortunately all made at Dainton Park golf course! Gracey holed a 6ft putt on the last to ensure Hardy/Gracey had a share of the match for anyone who is interested. Meanwhile in Brixham a youthful Barrow side led by Ed Holdaway was playing Llanhydrock from Cornwall, who wore coloured kit & produced a pink ball for us to bowl with.
Llanhydrock batted first & went after literally everything with some mediocre success but lost wickets regularly – Frank Forge 2-24, Mark Fisher 1-37, Oscar Livesey 2-6, James Halladay 2-45 & were reduced to 90-8 before a couple of batsmen took advantage of some generous bowling from Barrow to dramatically increase the score to 220.
Llanhydrock opened up with some very hostile bowling that ripped through the Barrow youth and we were soon 30-5, when Premil was then bowled off an inside edge that no one actually saw hit the stumps but was found to have dislodged the bail the game was pretty much up and despite some late order resistance Barrow were all out for 118.
Barrow retired back to the hotel for a BBQ, a few beers and some well earned sleep in the bunk beds!
Well the best thing about this game is that we could walk to the ground!
Torquay fielded a team of overseas players & 1st /2nd teamers – whilst our side was weakened by the loss of Premil & Fernando which was a real blow as this year we did not have a number of other regular 1st team tourists. It was always going to be a tough day in the field. Ed Holdaways’s figures were a very acceptable 3-42. The remaining bowling figures are best not be printed as Torquay pumped us for 348 off 40 overs, however Oscar does deserve a mention for a brilliant piece of bowling that with fine support from Jordan saw their no 3 beaten by flight & width & comprehensively stumped. Other than that it should be said that everyone kept going in the field.
With eleven very good cricketers in their side it was no surprise that the opening bowlers were testing & quickly removed Gracey & Sykes before Ali fell to the first change bowler – so at this point we were staring down the barrel again but Mick & Sam dug in before Mick was run out, not really anticipating a bullet throw from cover with 1 stump to aim at! At this point the part time bowlers came on & Sam Turner cashed in with a half century. With 9 wickets down James & Frank decided to restore some pride by ensuring that we were not all out with a dogged last wicket partnership but a heavy defeat none the less
So to the final cricket day of tour and we headed off for our first proper game against Abbotskerswell (we played a 20 over game there last year) – with Mick & Sam on their way back to Bristol & Dan & Jordan injured we were down to the bare bones so Ali invited the opposition to have first bat. Abbots’ team was probably the best balanced for a tour game with some decent young players interspersed with a few senior pros all very ably marshalled by their affable Chairman & Groundsmen Paul. Unfortunately our Chair/Groundsman’s competitive activity was limited to quizzes & the crossword by injury!
Frank picked up an early wicket & Johnny deserved a better return than 0-29 from his 8 overs. The 2nd wicket partnership rode their luck ( and our ‘ it’s been a long week’ fielding) to take the score up to 160 before Ed 2-32 & Ali 3-36 kept the score to a respectable 240 odd. It should also be noted that Gracey picked up a wicket – caught at the 3rd or 4th juggle by Ali at cover with the batsmen wondering how he got the Gracey dribbler up in the air!
In reply we lost the Forge’s early Bernie conventionally & Mark retired hurt after getting one on the toe – Gracey (finally getting into double figures for the tour) & Ed 30 put on a decent partnership but after that we fell away a bit until some terrific late strikes from Steve Allen gave us all something to cheer before we ran out of overs about 100 short of the victory target
So only the one win and some tough games but everyone had a good time, enjoying the opportunity to play with or share a beer/game of pool with people they may not normally see too much of during the regular season.