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!

Enjoyable Golf Day Leads To Surprise Winner Amidst Suggestions of Banditry!

Barrow Gurney CC held their spring golf day last week at Thornbury Golf Centre. As the sun (eventually) shone, there was the usual mixture of unbelievable play both good and bad. The overall outcome being met by cries of “bandit” although that was perhaps inevitable.

Despite a promising weather forecast, mist had settled over Thornbury on the morning of Barrow’s spring golf day. As we devoured a bacon roll or two, it lifted slightly but as we were playing the Par 3 course in the morning visibility was not at a premium.

13 players in all including some Barrow’s famous names of yesteryear and some non-cricketing friends assembled for the day’s stableford competition. It was interesting to see the different approaches to the Par 3 course with many favouring lob wedges hit high into the mist and a long wait for the ball to land, whilst your correspondent favoured the chip and run approach whenever possible. (Some might unkindly suggest a few were mishits and they might not have been wrong, but they rather worked!).

After 9 holes the mist cleared and as the sun began to shine so the greens quickened up which caught out a few on the back nine. But those of us favoured by the handicapping committee (organiser Ali Hood) continued to do rather well. As players began to dispense with jumpers and change into shorts over the lunch break the leading scores of the morning read:

            Mark Forge – 41 Points

            Ali Hood – 40 Points

            Gordon Ladd – 39 Points

            Connor Jones – 39 Points

With the lunchtime leader launching one into the trees (never to be seen again) on the first hole of the full course in the afternoon, there was all to play for. But overall scoring proved a lot harder with few playing to their handicaps.

Sam Turner was pleased to win the long drive competition, whilst the nearest the pin went to Simon Scammell who also ended with the highest number of points in the afternoon. The best scores being:

            Simon Scammell – 40 Points

            Mark Forge – 36 Points

            Ali Hood – 35 points

            Jon Hood – 34 Points

Thus your correspondent, having received the leniency of the handicapping committee at lunchtime, recorded an unexpected overall win, grateful for the Stableford format which wiped out a couple of horrendous holes, including 2 balls in the water on the penultimate hole of the day!

Many thanks to Ali for organising and to all who joined us for an enjoyable day, we look forward to the Autumn competition in September.

Barrow To Miss Floral Displays As Roy Retires

Barrow Gurney CC were sad to hear that Roy Hodges was retiring from helping maintain the Hobbs Lane ground.

For many years Roy, (pictured above on the right), has helped with the preparation of the playing area and in recent years has particularly focused on floral arrangements such as the hanging baskets from the pavilion and other floral displays.

Barrow Chairman, Pete Holdaway said that he was sad that Roy had decided to call it a day as his “colourful displays have been the talk of the town for over 10 years at the club!”  But more than that Pete enjoyed his discussions with Roy about Gloucestershire cricket past and present. However, Pete came to realise that his knowledge of Glos CCC was pretty patchy compared to Roy’s in-depth memories, including seeing the great Wally Hammond live at Bristol.

All at Barrow Gurney want to thank Roy (a former Clubman of the Year) for all his hard work over so many years and wish him a happy retirement.  We hope he may still come up and visit us occasionally to watch some play at the ground he loved so much and have a cup of tea with us in the pavilion and tell us some his cricketing memories over the years.

Barrow is lucky to have so many friends and former players who volunteer to keep the facilities at Hobbs Lane up to such a high standard, but as Pete says it is those like Roy “that give to the club and don’t actually play who are, to my mind, the most precious of all”.

Cornwall County Cap Calls For Barrow’s Bernie

Barrow Gurney’s Bernie Forge is looking forward to playing for Cornwall women in the County Championship this summer. Bernie, who has played for Barrow since Under 11s, has previously played for Somerset but, with their agreement, is on loan to Cornwall for the 2019 season. She has been taking part in their winter training programme in Truro for the last few months. She says she now feels “officially Cornish”. But that won’t stop her turning out regularly for her home club, even though at present we can’t offer a women’s team. But she is more than used to holding her own against the men as do Barrow’s other women players who compete on equal terms.

Opening bat and wicketkeeper for Barrow’s first team on Saturdays, Bernie faces some long journeys on Saturday evenings as county fixtures take place on Sundays. Meanwhile in midweek Bernie hopes to continue last season’s form in university cricket where she became the first woman to score a century for Cardiff Met University. It promises to be a busy season and we wish her every success.

Getting Ready To Play Cricket In 2019?

Barrow Gurney’s pre-season nets start this Sunday 3 March at Merchant’s Academy in Bristol and will run every Sunday between 10am and Noon until the 31st.

New players are always welcome, so if you are looking to play cricket this year then why not come along or get in touch via this website or email:

There are many reasons to join Barrow Gurney Cricket Club but here are just a few:

  • Our lovingly-maintained ground is one of the most picturesque in the area with views over Dundry Hill, the Barrow reservoirs and Long Ashton, also with a wonderful view of Bristol’s famous balloons (who are regular visitors) and the planes arriving at Bristol Airport.
  • We offer 3 weekend teams (2 Saturday, 1 Sunday) and regular T20 friendlies throughout the summer ensuring cricket for everyone of all abilities. Women & girl cricketers are welcome and are a regular feature in all our sides and have their own newly-built changing facilities.
  • Young players (14 and above) are encouraged to play in the senior sides as well as in an Under 15 team which has its own fixtures.
  • Newly refurbished practice facilities and weekly practice sessions.
  • A friendly and welcoming environment for players, families and supporters in the pavilion and bar; with regular social events in the summer months.
  • A small well-run club which makes the most of its limited resources and puts every penny back into improving the facilities available.
  • A safe environment for all in accordance with ECB guidelines.

Winter Warmer – Diary of Barrow’s Summer Tour (Part II)

With cold weather sweeping across Barrow Gurney it is time for the BGCC website to reflect again on warmer times with the second part of our tour diary. Holiday makers in danger, young love shattered in one delivery, a masterclass in batting in flip flops and an unlikely half century made it another day to remember.

Day 2 started with promising signs of a thaw in relationships with our hotel manager, who agreed to opening up for breakfast early so that four of us could go golfing. When we booked we were hoping for a leisurely round of golf on what looked to be a beautiful course, followed by a bite of lunch before heading over to join our friends at the seaside as they toiled away playing Exmouth CC. However plans had already changed before we teed up as Exmouth could not raise a side, however they kindly let us have use of their ground and we had enough players to make two teams with the inclusion of a couple of the late-arriving golfers. So bang went the leisurely lunch but at least we had the golf to look forward to.

However, the ill-luck which had dogged the tour continued as we arrived at the course to hear that some fungus had attacked the greens overnight so we would be playing temporary greens. Disappointed but undeterred we carried on. Having not swung a club in anger for some while, I caught one off the toe on the second which flew high and right, landing on some holiday chalets, much to the amusement of my friends! After that though things settled down as on each hole we played “hunt the green” which was not always possible – we found one flag on a bridge. In fact the golf became a bit of a farce and the full refund we received was well-deserved. I was struck by how similar some of our golf games were to our cricket. After my initial shocking shot, I retreated into my shell, played defensively with irons off the tee and tried to not to get out of each hole by a reckless shot. Ali meanwhile was hitting the ball hard and often out of the ground into trees rather reminiscent of some of his high-scoring knocks of the season! Connor was silky smooth and looked a good player, if he had more time to play and practice he could be very good indeed. (For golf read cricket). Nick however was the slight exception to my theory as he hit many clean struct shots with a fade, whereas he favours a draw when batting.

With 18 unsatisfactory holes done and Connor declared the winner, we headed over to Exmouth to see how things were progressing. On arrival we saw the team captained by Phil Milton batting and Jim Butcher, our friendly No 11 from Blagdon at the crease. Butch had in fact opened the batting and was heading towards his half century which he duly did off only 59 deliveries, exiting the arena to great applause. Jonny and Phil both played good cameos to keep the scoreboard moving. Looking around the field it was clear that there were a few suffering after effects from the night before and they stood out among the fresh faces of those who had come down for the day, including some of our junior players. As Phil’s team headed towards 188-6 off 30 overs, there was a lovely moment when one of our Under15s had to face the bowling of his girlfriend. The tension was palpable, and the pressure immense, but the result strangely inevitable as he was clean bowled to the great amusement of all. Nevertheless, the relationship survived the rest of the season!

In reply, the team skippered by Ellie Holdaway found runs hard to find against the unlikely attack of Mike Lilley and Rod Reeves. Now Mike is a seasoned campaigner and is often hard to get away, but Rod is another story. “Flighted deliveries” does not really describe the height that he was able to get on the ball which landed with a thud out of the stratosphere with ice on it, however it was hard to score off!. If it had not been for the 8 wides, he only conceded 4 runs off his 3 overs. After Frank took a couple of quick wickets and being rewarded by being removed from the attack, Adam, in true languid Gower-esque fashion, began to give his team a chance with 33. The middle order did not really contribute many and despite a couple of late 20s from Riley and Mark Fisher the team had too much to do and fell 30 runs short.

The innings ended with Ali being called (unwillingly) to the crease in the final over. Being totally unprepared he went out in flip flops assuming he would be acting purely as a runner for his partner. However it is not easy to run 2 in inappropriate footwear, so he ended on strike. Without fearing injury, Ali smote the ball for 4! (However the cricketing gods would get their own back on the following day!)

Exmouth is such a lovely ground that it always hard to leave after the game as we enjoyed the views from the balcony while enjoying a drink after the game. Although perhaps not as competitive a game as we had planned, it was really good to see the whole club enjoying the game no matter what team they played in. It was wonderful too to see some of our former players and families come down to make a real day of it.

Back to Torquay in the evening and a meal out at a well-known pub chain where I got a bit of stick by matching a different wine to each of my 3 courses. I like to pretend I am used to fine-dining! As the youngsters headed out for yet another night at Torquay’s solitary night spot, and finding mine host had closed the bar early, it was time to rest ready for last 2 days of tour and dream of making my tour debut this year.

Barrow Seeking New Sponsors For 2019

Barrow Gurney CC are looking for new sponsorship partners for 2019. As a small village cricket club, we rely on the contributions of sponsors and donors to help us to grow and expand. In the last few years we have been able to purchase new net facilities, an electronic scoreboard, refurbish the pavilion and build a new women’s changing room for the growing number of women and girls who are playing in our sides.

Our Hobbs Lane ground affords beautiful views over Dundry Hill and the Ashton Court estate and we often have Bristol’s famous balloons as well as planes arriving at Bristol Airport flying overhead. With 2 Saturday teams, a Sunday team, Juniors and friendlies, and with 2 other cricket teams regularly using our facilities, Hobbs Lane welcomes over 1,000 players, supporters and visitors each year. By sponsoring our club your firm would be showing its support for grass roots cricket at its traditional heart, whilst helping a club which has been playing cricket since 1874 to continue to thrive.

Opportunities exist for sponsors to display their banners around the ground including by the scoreboard, to advertise in our fixture lists, in the pavilion, and on our website,  which has attracted interest from touring teams all over the UK and even from the Netherlands. In addition, sponsorship banners would form the backdrop to the many photos we display on our website for supporters to enjoy.

In 2019 the club intends to purchase new roll-on covers to help guard against the vagaries of the English weather. This opens up an opportunity for a large sponsor to display their name and logo visible from the air as well as to our many visitors.

Why not think about associating your business with Barrow Gurney CC, and, as a sponsor, you would be most welcome to join us for home games, social events and our annual awards evening. Contributions as small as £100 would make a real difference to the club and support us in the next stage of our development and maintaining facilities which are enjoyed by all who visit each summer.

For more information on how to become a sponsorship partner, just use the “contact us” facility on the main menu.

Barrow Face The Lions In Season Opener

As the Bristol & District League fixtures were recently published, Barrow Gurney found themselves facing last season’s Division 5 winners Bristol Lions in a tough start for the 1st XI under their new captain Frank Forge. At least they can look forward to starting the season at home at Hobbs Lane.

Meanwhile Mike Lilley’s 2nd XI face a trip to Bedminster 5ths to start their campaign in Division 13.

With pre-season nets scheduled to start in less than 2 months time (March 3rd) at Merchants Academy, it will soon be time to dust off the kit and look forward to the summer ahead.


Barrow Mixes Youth & Experience As Captaincy Teams Are Announced

Barrow Gurney Cricket Club this week unveiled the captaincy teams for next season and it features a blend of youth and experience.

The young and promising first team are to be captained by off-spinner Frank Forge, last season’s player of the year, with the experienced help and support of new vice-captain, and key all-rounder, Ed Holdaway.

The first team have been confirmed in Division 5 of the Bristol & District League where, it has recently been announced, they will play Abbots Leigh 1sts, Almondsbury 2nds, Bath 4ths, Bristol Lions 1sts, Chew Magna 2nds, Chilcompton 1sts, Congresbury 2nds, University of Bristol Staff 1sts and Winterbourne A. Frank and Ed are hoping to build on last year’s strong finish to the season which allowed them the comfort of a mid-table position after some close games went against them earlier in the season.

Meanwhile the 2nd team will be led by medium pacer Mike Lilley with the support of last year’s second highest wicket-taker, Adam Brace, both of whom are regular players in the Division 13 side. Mike, who joined Barrow from Hallen some years ago, is particularly keen to put something back into the club which welcomed him with open arms. They will be hoping to lead the team to a more consistent season supported by greater availability from players.

The 2nds will be playing sides they know well from the last 2 years: Abbots Leigh 2nds, Bedminster 5ths, Carsons & Mangotsfield 2nds, Chilcompton 2nds, Coalpit Heath 3rds, Mells 1sts, Old Park 1sts, Patchway 2nds and Thornbury 4ths.

Mark Forge is to continue for another season as Sunday 3rd team captain with the help of the much younger Oscar Livesey in the North Somerset Division 4 whose fixtures were published on the BGCC website a few weeks ago.

With the new team on board we look forward to the coming season and wish our new captains and vice-captains good luck!