It is a rare event indeed when two Barrow Gurney batsmen make a hundred in one weekend, but that is what happened this week as Ali Hood and Guy Fisher made telling contributions to victories for the 2nds and Sunday 3rds. Sadly the 1sts were unable to join in the fun, but nevertheless took maximum bonus points whilst losing at home.
The 2nds faced a tough challenge on Saturday away at Old Park and bowling first found themselves up against the unconventional but extremely talented Shane Shepherd who has made runs against Barrow in the past. He did not disappoint his side this week as he cruised to 87 as Old Park made 197 for 5 in their 40 overs. Adam Brace was the pick of the bowlers taking 2/24 off his 8. But the total looked an imposing one for a team coming off the back of two opening defeats.
Enter Ali Hood, who had not been spotted with a bat in his hand since last August, an invisible man at pre-season training and thwarted in his attempt to get some practice on a Sunday by an unexpected concession. Ably supported by the in-form skipper, Ellie Holdaway, Ali destroyed the attack hitting 16 4s and 2 6s in his 102 made off 91 balls. Ellie adopted the holding role and faced more deliveries in her 37 as they shared a partnership of 154 before Ali was dismissed. A couple of quick wickets caused some anxiety and a close finish was in prospect at 174-5 but Adam and Pete Holdaway saw the team home to a much-needed win to take the side off the bottom of Division 13.
On Sunday, Bath Exiles put the 3rd XI in the field in the blazing heat at Hobbs Lane. Nick Heal started well, varying his pace, and soon accounted for one opener. Bath Exiles kept the score ticking over without ever dominating just using the fast outfield to their advantage with an occasional boundary. Leo Brace then bowled a very accurate 5 over spell, pinning the other opener LBW, before Mark Fisher induced the first of two hit wicket dismissals in the innings. Mark’s 2/30 were the best figures, but all bowlers bowled accurately apart from a couple of loose overs due to tiredness or looseners! 179- 7 looked to be achievable with the batting line up Barrow had.
After tea Barrow got off to a really good start against an unusual opening attack of an accurate slow left armer and a medium pacer. Mark Forge took the spinner whilst Guy Fisher dealt very firmly with the bowler at the other end. Barrow quickly had an opening partnership of 50 of which Mark made an invaluable 6 before leaving Guy to it. A couple of quick wickets set the team back but Guy was playing some expansive shots and striking the ball very well. Given a couple of lives he reached his maiden hundred, which gave his captain great pleasure having watched him play for so many years all through the Barrow junior set up.
Having celebrated his hundred and asked to retire, like any true batsman he had to be dragged from the crease having hit 18 4s and 2 6s in his 103. Barrow were well on the way to a victory but had a little wobble as the scoring rate dried up. Rod Reeves began to nurdle his way to 19 whilst Nick struck some more aggressive blows including a low flat 6 in his 29. Eventually with 3 overs to go, after Nick had perished, Steve Owen hit the winning runs with the most exquisite Harrow drive.
Barrow find themselves joint second in the Sunday League after this win and next week face a trip to Lympsham and Belvedere.
Unfortunately, the first team came up short against Bristol Lions on Saturday. Losing the toss (again) they were asked to field. James Riley and Matt Owen opened up with Riley producing a wicket first ball of the game as their opener player on. Matt got a second soon after caught behind. After that however wickets were hard to come by as yet again Barrow bowled too many boundary balls, gave away extras and maybe didn’t defend the boundaries early enough. Three of the Lions batsmen made 50, including former Barrow player Alwis as the Lions finished on 260 all out despite Mark Fisher bowling really well for his 3 wickets.
Barrow’s innings began badly as firstly Ben Skuse ran himself out and Bernie Forge was bowled soon after. Sam Turner, Guy Fisher and James Riley came and went quite quickly but Paul Glazzard and Phil Milton put on 50 odd before Phil managed to scoop one to the keeper and Glazzard, in his first innings of the season, went soon after for 58. Late cameos from Mark Fisher, Simon Hudson and Matt Owen got Barrow to 217 before being bowled out, although they reached the 10 bonus point by getting past 200.
The Firsts remain in mid-table as they face a challenging trip to PR Royals next week who have won their opening three fixtures.