Barrow’s Sunday 3rd XI enjoyed their last home game of the season, beating league leaders Backwell Flax Bourton at Hobbs Lane and were then treated to a grandstand view of the mass ascent of balloons from Bristol’s famous Fiesta.
With regular captain Mark Forge injured and Vice-Captain Steve Owen gainfully employed elsewhere, Frank Forge took over the captaincy. Immediately we could see the enthusiasm of youth as he put the younger members of the side through some fielding drills before the start of play, although some of the older members of the side decided to give them a miss. Then followed a 10-minute lesson in how to toss a coin which caused much amusement as the new captain seemed unable to grasp it and ultimately the opposition skipper agreed to do it for him! With the toss won Barrow put Backwell in to bat.
Opening the bowling Kieran Owen was accuracy personified whilst Mark Fisher made the early break through courtesy of a good catch in the covers by Ben Thorne. The introduction of Adam Brace brought immediate success as Bernie Forge took the first of two opportunistic stumpings in the innings and then the other opener mishit to Matt Owen who safely pouched the catch. Adam completed his haul of 3/21 by inducing a false shot from the Backwell skipper which needed a clear call by Frank himself to avoid a collision in the field as he hung on to a high catch. With three wickets having fallen with the score on 52, Backwell needed a rear-guard action which was provided by young Danny Stewart with some crisp strokes. However, having reached 24, he took on Leo Brace and the ever-reliable Connor Jones completed another good catch. Connor had also taken a couple of quick wickets leaving the visitors reeling at 96-8. Conscious of his father’s mistake in allowing the opposition to mount something of a recovery on the previous Sunday, Frank then brought himself on to wrap up the tail getting one to turn sharply to bowl the belligerent Selby. Backwell all out for 128.
After tea Barrow’s opening pair of Connor Jones and Rod Reeves took to the crease. They took the score to 32 before Connor was caught behind just in time for his family to arrive having missed his entire part in the game! At the other end there was much drama as Rod, having started with his usual defensive nudges and nurdles, was suddenly felled by a short delivery which hit him flush on the jaw. As his bat flew away in the direction of short fine leg, Rod took a couple of minutes to recover insistent that he would carry on. His batting then took on the character of a wounded lion as another short ball was met with an upper cut over the keeper for 4 and he began to give himself room to cut which began to frustrate the bowlers. Eventually he was dismissed for 30 having put Barrow into a strong position.
A middle order wobble gave the opposition some hope but Kieran Owen, batting in the unfamiliar position of No 3, continued to battle away. Kieran starting as if he had hardly batted this season (which was true) but grew in confidence and fluency, in particular punching the ball through the covers off the back foot on several occasions, but it was when he was joined by Mark Fisher that the runs began to flow. Mark enjoyed a little bit of luck early on but soon was striking the ball cleanly and enabled Kieran to pick up several quick singles and twos. They put on 53 for the 6th wicket and saw Barrow home to an unexpectedly comfortable win.
This was a really good team effort, especially in the field where all catches but one half-chance were caught and few easy runs were give away.