Barrow’s 3rd XI ended their season with a nail-biting tie at Blagdon in a match which swung one way and then another.
Captain Steve Owen won the toss and decided to bat and when Guy Fisher continued where he left off on Saturday with some wristy flicks off the legs batting in partnership with James Riley, it looked like a good toss to win. With the score at 36 Guy was adjudged LBW by his brother but Riley was beginning to score fluently despatching Cadman for 6 in his first over. Steve then inexplicably decided to leapfrog a throw in, rather than make his ground, and was run out by a direct hit leaving Barrow a little precarious at 48-3. Riley then began to take charge aided by a watchful Kieran Owen, their partnership only ended by Riley choosing to retire having made 52 off 69 balls. When Kieran departed shortly afterward for a well-made 29, wickets began to tumble leaving Mark Fisher in danger of running out of partners. 137-4 suddenly became 143-7 which did not look anything like enough on a sunny day and firm wicket.
Then came a mature cameo innings from Isaac Todman in only his second senior game who ran well to make sure Mark kept the strike and batted for almost 5 overs for his four runs as the partnership put on a vital 26. Barrow finished on 172-8 with Mark Fisher 29 not out. Barrow tourist Jim Butcher was the pick of the Blagdon bowlers taking 3/19 including bowling Oscar Livesey with a delivery he later described as pitching middle and leg and hitting the top of off.
The Blagdon reply suffered a couple of early reverses against the opening attack of Mark Fisher and Kieran Owen. Mark induced the dangerous Sparkes to knick one to Bernie Forge who took the catch one-handed wide to her right. Kieran then bowled the number 3 and it was 29-2. Then followed a sensible partnership between the wily Andy Cadman and Paul Hudd, who, after Cadman had driven some good early boundaries against the quicker bowlers, progressed largely through rotating the strike against a very accurate spell from Frank Forge (8 overs for 17) and Oscar Livesey (8 overs 1/25). Unfortunately, a couple of chances were put down, before Hudd was well caught by Riley for 23. 82-3 off 25.
In need of acceleration the lower middle order looked to be much more aggressive especially after Cadman was caught by Frank off Melissa Owen for 62. With the score at 148-4 and 4 overs to go it was going to be tight but Blagdon looked favourites with wickets in hand. The opening bowlers returned and Mark Fisher bowled E Heath with a quick one which saw the off-bail fly at least 30 yards towards the boundary and then Kieran bowled Hunt for 24. 154-6 with 3 overs to go. Kieran was under a lot of pressure as he bowled the 38th but was well supported by his fielders as a quick single resulted in a run out by Guy Fisher at wide mid-on. Kieran then bowled the younger Heath to complete a wicket maiden. 152-8. Young Jack Haskins who earlier had bowled well for Blagdon (2/38) then was joined by the experienced Tippett and they made sure of getting bat on ball a ran hard taking 8 off Mark’s last over. 11 needed to win off Kieran’s final over. When Kieran dismissed Tippett off the first ball, with Isaac taking a pressure catch as if he was an old hand at senior cricket, it looked odds on a Barrow win again. However with the batsmen having crossed, it put Haskins on strike and after running a couple of twos and a nervy wide being bowled, 6 were needed to win off 2 balls. Haskins then played a glorious shot wide of mid-off for four leaving 2 to win off the last ball. Non-striker Butcher was going to run come what may and as Kieran delivered took off. The ball bobbled through to Bernie whose throw missed by a whisker leaving the match tied which was certainly a fair result.
The result leaves the 3rd XI in mid-table after a season which has seen 4 wins and a tie, 2 abandoned games in which Barrow were in a strong position and one cancelled match.
Mark Forge, captain for the 2017 season, said afterwards: “This has been a really enjoyable year of cricket for Barrow’s new team. We have seen some good performances from players old and young, and given some players who do not normally bat or bowl the opportunity to develop the other skill. I am really grateful to those Saturday players who have supported us to ensure we have been able to get a team out each week.”