Barrow Win In Two Low-Scoring Games

Barrow Gurney 1st XI won a thrilling low-scoring encounter at Chilcompton this weekend, whilst the 2s finally registered a win in another game where runs were hard to come by.

Guy Fisher (58) and Bernie Forge (27) whose partnership of 77 was the highest of the match.

With several regulars of the top 6 away, Barrow captain, Frank Forge, seemed to have taken a bit of a risk on choosing to bat after winning the toss. As Ben Skuse departed to the first ball of the game, it fell to the regular opening pair of Guy Fisher (58) and Bernie Forge (27) to put Barrow back on a solid footing with a partnership of 77 before Bernie edged to slip. Guy made his 50 in fine style with a lovely straight six into the sightscreens and one flowing cover drive, which was particularly easy on the eye.

Beyond Guy’s knock, which was ended by one which kept low, Barrow really struggled as a lucky stumping off the keeper’s pad, a silly run out and a couple of wild shots put them seemingly out of the game. Only a dogged 11 not out from Kieran Owen got the team to 130 all out.

Frank Forge (3/24) waits to bowl at a Chilcompton batsman.

Chilcompton set about getting the runs quickly but were pegged back by Frank’s off spin (3/24 off 9 overs) as he surprised the opposition by opening the bowling. With tight seam bowling from Mark Fisher and Premil Fernando at the other end, Hashan Mudiyanselage replaced Frank with his leg-spin. Having bowled the dangerous Rivers for 25, the game seemed to be slipping away from Barrow as Chilcompton were 119-6 needing only 12 to win. At his point the skipper inspired his team taking a breath-taking catch at silly cover, with Matt Owen bowling the No 9 and Bernie Forge taking a good catch off Hashan’s quicker ball (leaving him with 3/28), it was now 119-9 and game on. Matt Owen (2/5) gave nothing away and after having a close LBW turned down, finally bowled Chilcompton’s No 11 to win a famous victory by 4 runs.

Meanwhile at Hobbs Lane, the 2s also struggled with the bat until Simon Hudson (batting at 6) crafted an important 23, but still they found themselves 105-7. The unlikely partnership of Peter Rooney (39 not out) and Isaac Todman (16 not out) put on 49 for the last wicket batting out the remaining overs and giving Barrow something to bowl at.

Peter Rooney made his highest score for Barrow Gurney (39 not out)

Mike Lilley (6-2-6-2) and Paul Gard (8-2-13-0) kept things very tight early on, before Steve Owen (2/28) and Adam Brace (3/30) chipped away at the Coalpit Heath 3rds’ middle order. Injured Simon Hudson took 2/27 at half pace before Isaac Todman took the key wicket of Oliver Baldwin for 37. Coalpit Heath folded for 107 as Barrow finally recorded a win and regained touch with the teams in the lower half of Div 13.

Sunday turned out to be wet and with Barrow on 73-5 against Bitton, torrential rain ended proceedings.

Hood & Forge Take Barrow Firsts To Victory

Jon Hood and Frank Forge combined to give Barrow Firsts an exciting victory over Abbots Leigh 1sts on Saturday. However the 2nds struggled against the same club’s 2nd XI. Rain prevented any play on Sunday

Jon Hood made 95 after his recent return to the Barrow team

Barrow Gurney played a double-header against Abbots Leigh on Saturday as their respective 1st and 2nd XIs met.

On a glorious day at Hobbs Lane, Barrow 1sts enjoyed a hard-fought win in a high-scoring contest. On winning the toss and batting, Barrow had a good opening partnership between Bernie Forge (22) and Guy Fisher (19) before 3 quick wickets set them back. This brought Jon Hood to the crease playing only his third game back in cricket after a few years of retirement. Jon batted fluently, testing the fielders with some quick singles and twos, playing some pleasing drives, cuts and flicks off the legs, in partnership with Ben Skuse he took the score to 98 before Skuse fell for 15. With support from Ed Holdaway (28) and Mark Fisher (43) with whom Jon put on a partnership of exactly 100, the scoring rate was soon at 6 an over, but he selflessly gave his wicket away in search of 300 for the team, having anchored the Barrow innings with his 95. Barrow finished on 286-9.

In reply, Jon was soon in action in the field, keeping calm to execute a run out, whilst Mark Fisher, in an immaculate opening spell, took an early wicket and had a couple of chances dropped off his bowling. When Premil Fernando (2/30) ripped through the middle order, Barrow were in the ascendancy as Abbots Leigh were 77-4, but their captain, James Holdsworth, though had other ideas as he hit his first 3 balls for boundaries and appeared intent on turning the innings around. Barrow’s skipper, Frank Forge, decided to change the pace and came on to bowl himself.

Frank Forge’s 5/51 proved decisive

The change brought immediate success as Kian Ware executed a diving catch and then Frank bowled his opposite number to be on a hat trick after his first 2 balls. Although it was not to be, thanks to another good catch by Kian and one from Ed Holdaway the Abbots Leigh run chase (although on course in terms of run rate) looked likely to run out of steam. Frank finished with 5/51, before Mark Fisher (2/29) finished things off as the visitors fell 39 runs short.

Afterwards, Frank gave Jon Hood the Player of the Match award despite taking 5 key wickets himself.

The 2nds however endured a different afternoon away from home as Abbots Leigh made 232-6, with Barrow captain Mike Lilley (3/24) being outstanding with the ball, before he saw his team skittled out for 111, Mark Gracey top-scoring with 28.

Rain prevented the Sunday team fixture at Blagdon taking place.

Barrow Shows Its Support For “It’s In The Bag”

Barrow Gurney CC are proud to be supporting South West charity It’s In the Bag which supports men with testicular cancer and promotes awareness of this condition which affects so many men. It helps people to know how to check for warning signs as it a condition which can be treated effectively if caught early.

Barrow 2nds show support for It’s In The Bag.

When he experienced some discomfort “down below” last summer, Mark Gracey, never imagined that he had cancer. As a typical man he was reluctant to get himself checked out, but, thankfully, he did so and received the awful news before Christmas. After an anxious few months, radiotherapy and large dose of chemotherapy, Mark is now well on the way to a full recovery. Incredibly he was even able to take his rightful place in Barrow 2nds in the first game of the season (scoring a feisty 31), even if he had to move a little gingerly in the field.

Understandably Mark wants to help others who have suffered the same diagnosis and more importantly get his teammates and others to take steps to check themselves so that the condition can be treated early. He is raising funds for It’s In The Bag by selling wrist bands. Barrow Gurney CC have adopted the cause and are supporting Mark’s efforts which have already raised over £100.

Mark Gracey who has drawn on his personal experiences to start the fundraising effort

If you are visiting Barrow to play or watch, then why not make a contribution or do so direct by visiting  http://itsinthebag.org.uk/ (which also has details how to check yourself out). Or follow the charity on twitter @ItsInTheBag

Kian Enjoys A Weekend To Remember

Barrow Gurney all-rounder Kian Ware enjoyed an exceptional weekend, making his first half-century on Saturday, and then following it up with another on Sunday. It was not enough to bring Barrow 2s to their first victory, but his Sunday effort helped in a first North Somerset League win of the season.

Kian Ware celebrates his second half century of the weekend

Kian, was wicketkeeper for Barrow 2nds on Saturday in their game against Mells 1sts and took a difficult catch behind the stumps as Mells put on 227-7 at Hobbs Lane, Adam Brace (2/26), Simon Hudson (2/45) and Leo Brace (2/42) bowled well to restrict the opposition scoring. In reply, Barrow relied heavily on Ware’s powerful striking as he added 4 sixes to 5 fours, including reaching his 50 by clearing the ropes. The game was in the balance until his dismissal, but Barrow fell 33 runs short as the team still waits for its first win.

On Sunday at Hobbs Lane, Bath Exiles came up against Ware the bowler whose 8 overs (1/24) showed his all round abilities. The Exiles started quickly with Brian O’Calaghan making a fine 81, but they were later pegged back by excellent slow bowling from Frank Forge (2/24) and 2 brilliant run outs from boundary fielders, one by Frank, and another by Rod Reeves. Chasing 190 to win, Barrow lost both their openers for 52 before Ware entered the stage once again, with a display of clean hitting he struck 11 boundaries and 2 sixes, including one to reach his half century for the second day running. He found good support from 71-year-old Rod Reeves (29 not out) who took Barrow to victory after Ware had been bowled.

Rod Reeves’ 29 not out brought the Sunday XI to a first win.

Unfortunately for Barrow Firsts, they came up against a very strong Winterbourne A side who amassed 291-3 after being put into bat. Some bad luck with aerial shots going not going to hand, and some poor fielding on a fast outfield did not help the cause. Winterbourne then bowled equally as well, as the Barrow side, missing some key players, could only manage 92 in reply and scored only 1 point in a disappointing showing after last week’s highpoint. The team will hope to bounce back from this disappointment next week against Abbots Leigh.

Barrow Hit The Top With All Round Performance

Barrow Gurney charged to the top of B&D Division 5 with an emphatic maximum point win against, previously unbeaten, Bath 4ths at Hobbs Lane on Saturday. Unfortunately, the 2s and 3s lost at Patchway and Bristol Bangladeshis respectively.

Ellie Holdaway ensure a good foundation to Barrow’s innings as she scored 46.

At Hobbs Lane a lost toss resulted in Barrow batting first for the first time this season.

Barrow opened up with a new look opening partnership in Guy Fisher and Bernie Forge. Bath had very accurate opening bowlers and they were rewarded with the wicket of Bernie early on. This brought Ellie Holdaway to the crease to join Guy at which point they set out trying to set a good platform and did a stellar job of it putting on 55 for the second wicket. Guy played very sensibly putting away his flashier shots and knuckling down just as the team needed until getting out for 31 trying to boost the run rate.

This brought the long-anticipated return of Jon Hood who looked to push for quick singles while trying to push the run rate along with Ellie playing the anchor role. Ellie played a brilliant knock at a perfect pace for a number 3 and was fully deserving of a maiden first team 50. Unfortunately, it was not to be, but she scored a very good 46 nonetheless. On her departure Barrow were 131-4 so there was plenty of work to do to get a decent score. Jonny Sykes and Benura Umanga took this in their stride with Benura getting 50 off 35 balls and Jonny 33 off 18 with some monstrous six hitting. Mark Fisher (18) and Premil Fernando (15 not out) then finished the innings off nicely with a few big hits of their own as Barrow reached a score of 257-8. Another top team batting performance.

Benura Umanga hit 50 off 35 balls with 5 sixes

Mark Fisher and Kieran Owen opened the bowling and put the pressure on the Bath batsman immediately allowing them to score at 3 an over after the first 10 overs. Kieran (1/9) also picked up a wicket early caught behind safely by Bernie Forge with a cracking ball. Bath then put on a decent partnership before Premil Fernando managed to get one through the defences of the Bath number three trapping him LBW. In at 4 was Vik Prasher who had scored a hundred a week before and in rapid time too, so he was a key wicket. Enter Ed Holdaway who managed to pick up the wicket of the opener Beth Howe (35) and Prasher (32) in quick succession putting Barrow right on top. Ed picked up a further 2 and was well supported by Benura keeping it tight at the other end. Ed bowled with unexpected pace after his injury and with great control.  

With Bath looking too far behind to beat the Barrow score, the push for as many bowling bonus points as possible was on. The returning Jon Hood then got his first wicket caught well by Jonny Sykes at deep midwicket.  He soon took another bowled with a lovely slower ball. As Bath got over 200 with 8 wickets down, Barrow tried to take the final bonus point. Guy bowling a good over with no luck, so Barrow then entered the final over still needing 2 wickets for max points and they managed it with a Premil direct hit run out and a lovely floaty long hop caught at square leg off Frank Forge’s bowling.

Ed Holdaway’ s 4/29 proved decisive.

Frank said afterwards: “It was an almost perfect performance with the bat, ball and in the field. As you can see from my report all 11 players were mentioned in what was a true team performance. My Player of the Match would be Ed Holdaway for taking two important wickets and finishing with figures of 9-3-29-4. Honourable mentions go  to Ellie and Benura who also played big roles in the win.”

Ben Skuse top-scored for the 2s with 58.

At Scott Park, Patchway Barrow 2s made 180-7 in their 40 overs thanks to a good partnership between Ben Skuse (58) and Pete Holdaway (41), Nick Heal (24) added some useful late order runs. Patchway though plotted their way to a comfortable win with 3 overs to spare as all their top-order made a contribution. Simon Hudson was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 26.

On Sunday, Barrow travelled to Oldbury Court to play Bristol Bangladeshis. Losing the toss Barrow were faced with bowling with a wet ball on an unpredictable pitch. Captain Numani hit a powerful 115 and found support from Khan (73) as Barrow struggled in the field, the home side amassing 272-7. 15-year olds, Isaac Todman (3/50) and Ben Thorne behind the stumps (1 catch, 1 stumping) were outstanding.

Guy Fisher added a wicket to his 88 runs at Oldbury Court

Barrow’s reply was once again spearheaded by Guy Fisher (88) who played a flawless innings and seemed destined for another hundred. But the rest of team struggled as the pitch lost much of its bounce with the old ball, and Barrow faded to 184 all out.

Barrow Bowlers Dominate In Season’s First Win

Barrow Gurney First XI chalked up their first win of the season in emphatic style against Chew Magna. Meanwhile the 2nds competed well at times but ended up on the losing side against Old Park, and the Sunday team were frustrated by a late concession by their opposition.

Player of the match Premil Fernando dismisses a Chew batsman on his way to taking 3 for 13

It was a much sunnier and brighter day as Barrow Firsts arrived at the scenic Chew Court for their game against Chew Magna 2s. Frank Forge won his first league toss of the season and decided to put Chew in.

Mark Fisher and Matt Owen opened and bowled with machine-like accuracy putting the ball on a length outside off relentlessly, resulting in several plays and misses. Eventually Mark (1/19)  picked up the first wicket, bowling the Chew opener and Matt (also 1/19) getting the second, a nick off to Bernie Forge behind the stumps.

Premil Fernando, on his first game back with Barrow then bowled in partnership with Frank (2/25)  and the scoring continued at a very slow rate. Premil bowled very well hitting the pitch and bowling with great control. At drinks, the team hadn’t conceded a boundary. A floaty off-spinning full toss that got cracked over the road soon put paid to that but all in all Barrow continued with amazing control.

Kieran Owen came on and again continued the squeeze. Bernie seeing a Chew batsman batting outside his crease decided to stand up and took a good stumping off Kieran. Kieran took a wicket with the very next ball nicked off again with Bernie catching it safely, overall Kieran’s figures were 3/27. Premil (3/13) got the final wicket (of the opener Richard Gattan who had batted doggedly throughout the innings for 39) as Barrow bowled Chew out for 109 off of 43 overs.

Frank said afterwards “One big positive this week was how everyone fielded and backed up the accurate bowling which really helped in keeping the run rate so low. A special mention to Guy Fisher who had several good stops at point.”

Ellie Holdaway and Bernie Forge saw Barrow home.

After tea, Phil Milton and Bernie Forge opened up, and after their hundred partnership last week, they followed it up with a 50 partnership. Phil looked in great form hitting 3 big sixes over the road and looking like he wanted the game over quickly. He was out for a quick-fire 41 at which point Bernie and Ellie Holdaway joined in the first all-female partnership in Barrow’s first team history. They continued scoring at a good run rate without ever looking in trouble as Barrow cruised to the target with only 15.5 overs bowled, Bernie finishing on 26 not out and Ellie 18 not out.

The win propels Barrow to third place in Division 5 at this early stage of the season.

When the 2s arrived at a much warmer Hobbs Lane for this week’s game, they were pleased to find that the new covers had already done a great job in leaving the pitch in good condition despite the torrential rain we had in mid-week. Mike Lilley lost the toss and Barrow found themselves in the field.

Paul Gard and Pete Rooney opened up and again bowled well without any luck, some deliveries being unplayable and far too good to induce a nick at club level, in addition there were a few slashes through wide slip and at least one very close LBW shout but the breakthrough didn’t come and Old Park passed 50 without loss.

Adam Brace had the best figures for the seconds of 2/22 and took a brilliant caught and bowled (Library picture)

Adam Brace entered the fray and in his customary way duly picked up a wicket in his opening over as  Old Park reached 80-1 at drinks and looking well placed to accelerate to a 200 plus total. Pasidu Eros (1/31) picked up a wicket  with Mark Gracey taking the catch and he bowled well and was energetic in the field sweeping on the boundary for much of the game.

Overall the bowling was much better this week but the fielding was on a different level altogether as epitomised by two truly outstanding moments. Firstly, from Chairman Pete Holdaway who, fielding in the covers, picked up the ball and threw down the stumps at the bowlers end to run out the opposition captain going for a quick single. Then Adam held onto a spectacular one-handed return catch from a firmly struck drive that appeared to be past him before he somehow got a mitt to it, this gave him the best bowling figures on the day of 2/22). Steve Owen (1/41) also charged in manfully up the hill to deliver 8 overs straight through at the death and gave very little to hit whilst bowling a few away swinging pearlers. Old Park closed on 190 -6 after 40 which perhaps was a few less than they had hoped for.

As Barrow went out to bat Pete Holdaway stepped up to open with Ali Hood after Ellie’s promotion to the first team. At drinks Barrow had made 85-2, losing both Ali (30) and Pete(12) but were probably slight favourites at this stage. Shortly after Gracey fell to a run out, it was a tight one and the fielder did well but it was definitely an untimely dismissal and was unfortunately followed, as so often it seems,  with a second wicket in the over when Eros nicked one and was superbly caught in the slips.

Roger Finnimore top-scored for Barrow with 44 (Library picture)

Roger Finnimore, without being at his fluent best, was digging in and it always felt that Barrow were just one decent partnership away from making a real go of the chase but it never quite happened and the run rate started to climb.  Eventually Barrow ended up 38 runs short with Roger top scoring on 44, so picking up 6 bonus batting and bowling points and still looking for a maiden win for the season at Patchway next week.

Beautiful weather and the warmest day of the month so far added to the frustration of the Sunday team as opposition Lympsham and Belvedere could not muster a team, but it was promising that so many players took on the opportunity of an impromptu net session.

Barrow Teams Compete Well But Just Fall Short In League Openers

As Barrow Gurney’s league cricket season began, the club’s three teams enjoyed some batting successes but were on the losing side of highly competitive matches. On Saturday, it was Barrow’s women cricketers who really excelled with the bat as Bernie Forge hit 73 for the Firsts and Ellie Holdaway 48 in the Seconds, both being the top-scorers for their teams.

At Hobbs Lane, Barrow’s First XI, captained by young Frank Forge, featured some new faces, and they were playing last year’s Bristol & District Division 5 winners, Bristol Lions. On winning the toss, the Lions chose to bat first, But the new skipper was faced with an immediate problem when vice-captain, Ed Holdway,  arrived to say he couldn’t bowl because of a go-karting accident leaving Barrow with only 2 seamers for the day but a rather unusual amount of off spinners.

Mark Fisher took 3/45 as he led the Barrow Gurney attack

The pace of Mark Fisher and the off spin of the new skipper opened the bowling and kept things tight to start with. Eventually the wicket came with a genuine edge to slip and a good low catch from the injured Ed. Mark then took a good catch at long off moving to his left off Frank which meant that after about 10 overs the Lions were roughly 30-2. Barrow looked alive in the field and well on top at this stage. At drinks with the score being about 100-2, and with a few chances gone begging, saw former Barrow player Alwis getting into his stride. Despite good fight from the bowlers on a great track, the Lions pushed on and Barrow were struggling to help their bowlers by not fielding to the best of their abilities. There were some highlights in the field however including, barely moving Ed, taking a high catch in the most casual manner and Guy Fisher getting a run out at short third man. Barrow managed to finish well with Mark picking up a few well-deserved wickets (3/45) and Phil Milton (2/24), replacing Jonny Sykes, who sustained an injury whilst bowling, who proved to be a canny death bowler getting the wicket of Alwis (133), stumped by Bernie, and bowling economically. The Lions finished 295-9 off of 45 so Barrow managed to get 4 bowling points.

Bernie Forge’s 73 was the foundation of Barrow’s reply.

After a stern team talk, Barrow set about chasing the target. Bernie Forge and Phil Milton then put on over 100 for the first wicket, taking what the bowlers gave them while still managing to score at 5 an over. Phil was eventually out for a well-made 34. The batsmen kept fighting on with a good scoring rate,  Bernie the pick of them eventually out for a brilliant 73 and  a maiden 50 in the First XI. Debutant (and former Lions’ player) Benura Umanga  hit a very quick 39 and looked as if he was up for the challenge of winning the game for Barrow until a very unlucky run out where he slipped while trying to make his ground. Guy Fisher got a very good Yorker to be bowled and Barrow’s last hope was Mark Fisher who hit a few lusty blows including a straight drive 6 on his way to 30 not out. Barrow needed 10 an over off the last 7 or so but couldn’t quite get over the line due to running out of wickets, Jonny Sykes even heroically hobbling out at No 11!! Finishing 259 all out off of 41 overs was a brilliant effort and selfless batting all the way down the order.

Frank Forge said afterwards: “Overall it was an incredible batting performance from the team and a lot of fight was shown. We just needan improvement in the field and we will win a lot of games if we play as we did.” Barrow took 9 bonus points from the encounter.

Barrow’s Seconds Line Up Against Bedminster

Mike Lilley’s  first game as skipper started off well when he won the toss and inserted Bedminster but after that it proved a tough day for the 2’s at a very chilly and windy Clanage. Paul Gard opened up with the wind behind him, picking up an early wicket and with Pete Rooney doing a sterling job running into the wind, Bedminster were restricted to 40-1 off 10. Unfortunately, that early breakthrough proved to be the only success of the innings as Dave and Owen Peacock put on a father and son partnership of 247 that took the home side to a very imposing score of 285-1 off their 40 overs.

They were assisted by some of Barrow’s bowlers being a little rusty to say the least, Barrow’s less than athletic fielding (Ellie Holdaway aside who was magnificent and  saved Barrow at least 30 runs) and some short boundaries but credit to the Bedminster batters who played very well, and but for a couple of diving efforts by Roger Finnimore and Paul Gard,  their innings were pretty much chanceless.

Ellie Holdway on her way to top-scoring with 48 for Barrow 2nds

Barrow’s reply got off to a flyer with a flurry of boundaries from Ali Hood but Bedminster soon  found their line and length and fielded very well in the ring preventing easy singles,  cutting off the boundary an over Barrow needed to stay in touch. Ali (38) and Roger (6) perished before drinks, the latter to an enthusiastic desire to take a quick single but an unsuccessful attempt to turn around when it was declined leaving him on the deck as the ball returned to the bowler. Ellie Holdaway was then joined by Mark Gracey (31) who played some great shots including a straight six and some unusual shots including one back over the keepers head. It was by now clear that maximum batting points was probably more realistic than a victory and Barrow closed in on this as Ellie was unluckily run out just shy of her half century (48) after a great pick up & throw down from the covers. An Adam Brace boundary and a last ball 4 byes meant that Barrow did get the 5 points by closing on 202-7.

Guy Fisher being congratulated on his 102, following a fine partnership with Ben Thorne (30 not out)

On Sunday the 3rd team visited Peasedown St John to play Kilmersdon. Batting first Guy Fisher survived a couple of chances to make his third century for Barrow, 102 including 2 sixes. He was ably supported by 15-year-old Ben Thorne who made 30 not out – his highest senior score. 189-5 looked a competitive total but a second wicket partnership of 129 between Ashley Davies and Mark Batchelor saw Kilmersdon home with 3 overs to spare.

Temperature Soars But Barrow’s Batting Fails To Ignite

Top Scorer Bernie Forge (39) straight drives

Barrow’s second pre-season friendly was played out in significantly higher temperatures than the previous week, however the batting did not sufficiently warm up as Backwell/Flax Bourton comfortably dominated proceedings.

The match was played in a similar fashion to warm up games on recent England tours with both teams committed to bowling 40 overs against each other irrespective of the number of wickets down or the match result.

Batting first Barrow started well with the opening partnership of Bernie Forge and Guy Fisher playing well against a spirited opening attack, but some middle order set-backs slowed the scoring rate and whilst Bernie struggled with her timing grafted her way to top-score of 39, it was Paul Gard (31) who injected some pace to the innings clearing the ropes a couple of times off the spinners. When he fell the lower order contributed little apart from one glorious lofted straight drive from Isaac Todman.

Paul Gard sweeps on his way to 31.

Batting a second time Ed Holdaway (22) and Guy Fisher took the score to a disappointing 186.

As Flax’s quality players Martin and Flowers both put on unbeaten half centuries, with Martin in particular looking in excellent early season form, it was clear they would easily exceed Barrow’s total. But Frank Forge rotated his bowlers making sure they all got some overs under their belt with Isaac Todman the pick of them with 2/22. Matt Owen, Mark Fisher and Kian Ware all took one a piece and bowled better than their figures suggested against the height of the Flax onslaught. Finally, Frank finished matters off with a couple of wickets in the final over. Flax finished on a genuine 239-7.

All Barrow’s young bowling attack had a good work out.

Next week the final pre-season game against Blagdon at Hobbs Lane, and an opportunity for the Barrow batters, in particular, to get some time at the crease under their belts and adjust to outdoor play after indoor nets.

Kerswell Keeps His Cool In Chilly Start To The Season

Top Scorer Will Kerswell (Left) with Oscar Livesey who announced his departure to Claverham after the match.

The cricket season officially began at Hobbs Lane, with a pre-season friendly against Redcliffe. A warm-up for the season it may have been but it was played in extremely cold conditions despite the spring sunshine, and provided a close game.

Winning the toss, Redcliffe put the home side in. Will Kerswell soon shook off the winter rust playing some classic drives, whist opening partner Pete Holdaway tried to get his feet moving against the slower bowler before finally failing to do so and being bowled. Whilst Kerswell carried on serenely to see Barrow close to a hundred before he fell for 39, unluckily picking out the fielder, his partners at the other end all made double figures but without ever getting in. At 108-5 when Phil Milton departed for 19, and with plenty of overs to go, skipper Mark Forge and Kieran Owen dug in, trying to ensure a competitive total could be posted.

When they were both dismissed in quick succession, it was time for the evocatively named Passidu Eros to make his debut for Barrow. After a couple of “fresh air” shots against a spinner floating the ball into the firm breeze, Passidu found his timing and finding the short straight boundaries at Hobbs Lane much to his liking. His cameo of 32 not out featured 4 sixes and helped to take Barrow to 186-8 at the closure of the innings.

After tea, the opening bowlers for Barrow found it hard to hit their line and length, but Steve Owen (2/14) managed to find a couple of good ones after battling into the freshening wind courtesy of a one-handed keeper’s catch by Phil Milton and an outfield catch to Nick Heal. Nick then took another excellent catch, having appeared to misjudge the flight of the ball completely before stretching back and taking it to give Passidu his first wicket for the club. Two more were to follow as Passidu (3/36) had the best figures on the day despite there being little turn for any of Barrow’s 3 spinners.

It was a masterful innings by James Thrower which turned the match, very powerful and severe on anything short of a length outside off stump he saw his team home with 55 not out. He had good support from Matthew Davies (31) and Kevin Loud (24 not out).

A great work out for both sides who had to pay tribute to an excellent early-season pitch prepared by groundsman Pete Holiday, as hardly a ball misbehaved.

Next Saturday Barrow entertain Backwell/Flax Bourton for another friendly.

Fantasy Cricket – Who Will You Follow In 2019?

With 2 days to go to the start of the cricket season at Hobbs Lane, once again Barrow Gurney is launching a Fantasy Cricket competition so that all members and supporters can get involved in a friendly but competitive way by following all the Barrow teams as they play their way through the 2019 season. All league, friendly and tour fixtures count so identifying who might play and who might not is as important as working out who is good value for money. Whose team will triumph come early September? James Riley and Frank Forge identify some of their “ones to watch” to help you make your selection of players:

Simon Hudson.  “The Cyborg” is inexplicably under priced at a mere £5 million. This amount will give you a man who lives and breathes the sport. A keener bowler I’ve not met and his swashbuckling batting with a swishing Duncan Fearnley is sure to net him even more points. A must buy bargain bowler that you will be happy to have in your squad this year.

Kian Ware at £4M looks like a real steal. Brought to the ‘Bee Gees’ by the Fishers via Congresbury, Kian is keen to make an impression for Barrow. A decent bowler and a quick scoring batsman Kian is an affordable option with a lot of upside and could be a major player in the fantasy market. Another bonus is his fielding with certainly the potential to lead his new club in catches and fielding wickets.

Jon Hood.  This selection could be a real game changer at the all-rounder position. Jon has the potential to score copious amounts of points with his tight bowling that always attacks the stumps, his water tight technique for scoring runs and a safe pair of hands, he could truly score points to rival James Riley if he was still at Barrow this year. The only gamble with this selection is how much will he play. You may need a second player who can stand in for the weeks that Jon is unavailable but overall this could be a brilliant pick for your team in 2019.

At the wicketkeeper position, a really good option could be Ali Hood. Ali has really taken to his new position of opening in the 2’s dominating in the run charts like the Bradman of Division 13. Ali also contributed 7 catches last season which is perhaps surprising due to the calibre of fielding we have seen from him over the years at the Lane. Worth noting however that there are no lost points for drops so if you’re looking for a heavy run scorer who’ll chip in with a few wicketkeeping wickets, look no further than Ali.

Another new player who could be a fantasy sleeper to many of you is Benura. Benura has come to Barrow with great pedigree having played for Bristol Lions. A heavy run scorer and big wicket taker last season, Benura brings the potential of perhaps being the leading fantasy option this season. Though he has an expensive price tag, Benura brings an assurance of being a consistent scorer for any fantasy team. Also a good option to use your triple captain as he has been known to produce a Herculean performance here or there (namely against us last season).

Rod Reeves may seem like a surprise selection but just stop to think. You’ve already got in your first round semi-professional fantasy player, maybe a Frank Forge or even better an Ed Holdaway and your wallet is looking a little light. Who can you rely on to play often yet cost very little? This man is the cornerstone of Sunday cricket for Barrow, similar to AB De Villiers he has his own unique batting style, his own unique fielding style and “please don’t let him bowl” style but the crux of the matter is Rod turns up and delivers. He will score a gritty 23 from 30 overs but that’s 23 more points than you’d get otherwise. You’d struggle to find someone at a cheaper price who will play as much and contribute. A secondary option to this is Steven “Wepl” Webb who for an even cheaper price could show what the crowds have been expecting from him over the last year

To pick your team just click the link on the main menu and register using an email address. Good luck and enjoy the season!