It is, at last, officially spring, indoor nets are about to conclude, and we will be preparing the Hobbs Lane ground for the season to come on Sunday. With only two weeks to go until the first outdoor cricket, the BGCC website continues to preview the 2017 season with its series of interviews with Barrow regulars. This week the club’s vice-chairman, and another long-standing Barrow player, Ali Hood is under the spotlight …
What is your first cricketing memory?
I remember playing in the Bristol schools cup final age about 10 at Clifton prep school, I was playing for Henleaze against my old school Stoke Bishop so knew both teams – we won & somewhere I still have the Evening post article
Who encouraged you to play cricket?
Paul Mizen takes all the blame! Until I was about 15 I played quite straight then Miz decided we needed to embrace quicker scoring & showed me how hit the ball to leg (your mum, an egg & a frying pan was the basic analogy).
Any representative cricket I played was because Miz championed my cause (& several other Barrow juniors of the time), he’s still a supporter today as he always picks me in his Fantasy team!
Who was your first cricket hero and why?
David Gower elegance personified & nifty leg side flick!
At Barrow, it was Mick Hardy, I must have a thing for elegant left handers! He was captain of the 1st team when I was first picked as a youngster & used to ferry me around in his Citroën 2CV wearing jellies sandals – Legend
Can you name-drop any top-class players you have played with or against?
I once bowled Marcus Trescothick in an U15’s cup match & you all know the story about my success against the Pakistan T20 International at Cornwood, if not feel free to ask me about it, it never gets old!!
Where is your favourite place to play, or watch cricket?
Other than Hobbs Lane, Shobroke Park in Devon is a favourite & I was lucky enough to play at a ground in Malaysia that EW Swanton included in his top 10 beautiful grounds of the world
Which England cricket player do you most remember and why?
Jack Russell local player, outstanding keeper, obdurate bat & mad as a box of frogs
Which county do you support?
Gloucestershire – although I can’t really say I am a supporter as I very rarely watch them or any cricket other than Test Matches
What other teams have you played for?
I have been a Barrow player since I was 11 but have at various points turned out for Imperial & Portway as well as being fortunate enough to play for several representative sides in my youth including Bristol, Avon & Glamorgan Schools & was captain of North Somerset
How did you come to join Barrow Gurney Cricket Club?
My Dad worked with both Geoff Warren & Miz who were junior coaches at the time I was first looking for a team
What do you think is special about the club?
I played in a 1st Team game a year or so back where all 11 players had (over a period of about 25 years) played in our junior section which says a lot. Like every club we have a turnover but other than to test themselves at a higher standard, I am not aware of anyone really who has left Barrow to play cricket elsewhere locally. I think it is worth mentioning the often unsung work of our band of ex-players who help run the club & in particular Pete Holdaway who does an unbelievable amount of time & effort in, doing a brilliant job for the club.
What was the most memorable performance you have seen by a Barrow team or another Barrow player?
Being at the crease for (Mark) Gracey’s first ever 50 is up there! There have been some great performances over the years but one game sticks in my mind where Pete got a glorious hundred & we made about 280-2. I came in at #3 when were 100 odd for 1 & got a first baller. At tea, I went to congratulate Pete who said ‘bad luck old boy you got the only good ball of the day’ it was a devilish in swinging yorker! Another time Stu Hood carried his bat having, unusually for him, batted very circumspectly the reason for this was that he had run me out & was giving me as much time as possible to calm down!
I know this is technically not answering the question but I would like to share the best performance I ever saw at Barrow by John Britton of St George. This goes back to the late 80’s he scored a double century reaching the milestone of 200 with a 6 over the old pavilion off the final ball of their innings.
What was your most memorable performance for Barrow?
Too many to mention clearly! There is something great about turning a game on it’s head & a few years ago, we found ourselves in trouble at 20-5 (to make it worse I had probably chosen to bat!). I joined Jonny Hood at the crease. ‘Are there demons in the wicket’ I asked ‘no our batters are %!@!’ he replied & left me to take guard. He might have had a point, we put on a match winning partnership of close to 200 with him going on to make a hundred & me falling just shy of 3 figures!
What is the funniest moment you have witnessed on a cricket field?
It would appear from previous ‘mates’ who have done 15 questions that I need a mirror to see the funniest things on a cricket pitch although I am surprised me being taken out by a footie style slide tackle in a cup game has not had a mention. I landed face first & got a large cut on my nose from of all things my own helmet!
For me Skusie (Ben Skuse) going over the fence backwards at Gordano & Frankie’s (Frank Forge) header stick out, I always remember the ball flying off his head to the boundary past our sweeper Paul Glazzard who was pole axed with laughter.
Who is your current favourite player and why?
James Riley because anyone who, in their 20’s has their Mum come up to the ground & chastise him loudly across the ground for not wearing a hat on a sunny day deserves our support.
What is your Barrow Gurney prediction for 2017?
That I will be up at Hobbs Lane at least once in the season on a Saturday afternoon enjoying our summer sport & I will be wearing every item of clothing from my cricket bag & more yet still be freezing.
Miz will repeat himself. Rod (Reeves) will tell me several very very long stories that I couldn’t really follow but wasn’t really listening to anyway. Miz will repeat himself. Pete will say he has prepared a batting track & we will be all out for under 100. Miz will repeat himself. We will all have great fun playing a brilliant game at a fantastic club on the best ground!