Ali Storms Away With The Prize Despite The Gales

Ali Hood triumphed once again at the Autumn BGCC golf day, beating the blustery conditions and occasionally heavy rain, to post a record afternoon score for the tournament at Thornbury Golf Club.

Ali Hood (left) adds up his unbelievable score with partners Simon Hudson and Martin Williams

As the twelve Barrow players and friends teed up on Friday the relative calm of the morning gave little indication as to what was to come. Playing the Par 3 course in the morning, Jon Hood benefited from some good fortune on the first as he careered into the trees only for the ball to obligingly rebound to the front of the green. He then chipped in and that laid the foundation of a leading score for the morning of 38 stableford points as he continued to chip and put well. The Spring Golf day winner Mark Forge, also benefitted from a chip in as he made 37 points, whilst in the same group Ali pushed him hard with 36. Paul Gard and Barrow legend Gordon Ladd were only 1 further back as we broke for lunch.

Before the afternoon round everyone had an attempt to launch the ball with Matt Owen’s 4 wood (or was it a mashy niblek?) which was like a relic from the 19th century. But as the groups began to tee off for real, the wind started to pick up.

After 9 holes the combination of the wind and occasional driving rain played havoc with many players’ games. Gordon’s decision to visit his grandchildren after 9 holes seemed extremely wise. Martin Williams managed to lose 4 balls in consecutive shots, which must be some sort of record, but later recovered to win the longest drive at the Par 5 9th.

Jon Hood started with a bit of luck and went on to finish behind his brother.

Most found it hard to score on the back 9, but other difficulties faced some golfers as Martin fell down a hole on the 15th, and Mark was hit on the thigh pad by an errant ball (not from a Barrow player!) neither incident helping their cause.

But Ali seemed immune to the weather, and even managed not to be distracted when 2 golf buggies collided in front of the 18th tee when he was about to drive. 39 points was nothing short of sensational in the afternoon round and is a Barrow record over the 3 golf days so far. As chairman of the handicap committee he is sure to instigate a review into his handicap before the spring.

Paul Gard played consistent golf to come tied second and won the nearest the pin

Ali’s total score of 75 was well ahead of the rest. Brother Jon, despite taking an age to add up his score, was unable to make it reach anything other than 68 and so he tied for second with Paul Gard who was consistent throughout the day and also won the nearest the pin prize at one of the par 3s. Simon Hudson was a respectable 4th with 64 points.

We hope for better weather at the end of March for the next instalment and a chance to knock Ali off his perch.

Cricket & Curry End Barrow’s Season

Barrow Gurney saw the cricket season to a close on Sunday with an enjoyable event at Hobbs Lane, hosted by Premil Fernando. Premil brought together a team of players from his old school to play a Barrow Gurney XI in a friendly T20 game, before an afternoon of fun and a chance to sample some wonderful Sri Lankan-style food.

Premil’s Invitation XI with family & friends

Barrow, captained by Ed Holdaway, decided to bat first after the morning rain had passed away to enable the game to be played in breezy but fine conditions. Premil, himself, proved a handful with the ball, finding some bounce and unintentionally hitting several batters in areas where they would rather not have been hit!

After the initial onslaught Jonny Sykes and Ed Holdaway treated the spectators to some stylish and effortless shots, clearing the boundaries several times before they both retired on 34, Guy Fisher continued in similar vein and also retired on 30 but the later overs saw Premil’s XI bring the scoring rate under control and the total of 169 in 20 overs was perhaps only about par on a quick scoring ground.

The Barrow team and umpires.

In reply the bowling attack of Barrow started with the youthful enthusiasm of Isaac Todman (2/10) and Leo Brace (1/16) who both bowled with good control. The introduction of the left-arm “spin” of 72-year-old Rod Reeves proved a mystery to all including the batsmen who (unsure how far to hit the ball) quite often missed innocuous deliveries! Adam Brace (2/18) and Oscar Livesey (2/25) bowled well as the visitor’s resistance was led by the eponymous host, Premil, who made 46 in fine style before gloving to Bernie Forge behind the stumps. The Invitational XI’s innings came to a close at 127, as Mark Fisher’s experimental off-spin took 2/10 off his one over.

Adam Brace tucks in to the curry.

The teams and spectators were then treated to Sri Lankan curries with various trimmings as the sun set on the 2019 cricket season.

Premil treats the spectators to his singing.

There was time for some Karaoke and outdoor snooker whilst the families enjoyed the last hours of sunshine at the beautiful Barrow Gurney ground.

Barrow First Team Captain Frank Forge demonstrates his snooker prowess to his teammates.

What an enjoyable event to finish off an enjoyable season. We have welcomed new players; we have seen many of our younger players develop and improve and we have enjoyed many happy times on and off the field during the season. We have seen many improvements to the facilities on the ground and in the pavilion and we can look forward to 2020 as Barrow Gurney Cricket Club continues to grow and develop, encouraging players of all abilities and expanding the number of its social members and supporters.

It may seem like a long winter, but before you know it we will be practicing for the new season!

Double Wicket Winners Keep It In The Family

Barrow Gurney’s end of season celebrations saw a rare, perhaps unique event as brother and sister duo, Frank and Bernie Forge, won the annual double wicket competition.

Frank and Bernie Forge with the Double Wicket Trophy

A glorious autumn morning greeted 14 players ready to do battle for the prestigious annual trophy. Players were drawn from 2 pools to make up the pairings and when the sibling pairing had been drawn it was always going to be interesting to see if it ended in harmony or acrimony!

With points being awarded for runs scored, wickets taken, catches and runouts achieved and points lost for drops and wickets lost, the first round involving all 7 teams, is always impossible to call as only Jane Holdaway, the scorer, has any idea of who is doing well or badly.

The finalists come off the field to await the final result.

As the teams gathered to hear the results of the group stage, it was Ali Hood and Kieran Owen who sailed through to the final on merit, with Kieran, in particular, discovering his six-hitting ability during the day.

A semi-final left Frank and Bernie up against Oscar Livesey and Phil Milton and for much of the game the unrelated team seemed to have the upper hand, scoring off nearly every delivery, but a lost wicket in the last over just allowed the Forges through to the final.

Frank Forge launches a six.

Frank and Bernie batted first, with Frank hitting a couple of fluent shots through the covers and one six, whilst Bernie was hitting straight and then moving across her stumps to sweep or pull off middle stump to the vacant long leg boundary. However, a suicidal run out and a good caught and bowled from Oscar seemed to have left Ali and Kieran with a very achievable target.

Bernie Forge straight drives.

Kieran continued where he had left off in the group stage and opened his shoulders to clear the fence on a couple of occasions, whilst Ali, who was cannily trying to work out how many he thought was needed, aimed to do just enough to see his side home, manoeuvring the ball around to exploit the tired fielders suffering from the effects of a long day in the sun after a late night on the town.

Ali Hood narrowly failed to get his team over the line.

Two wickets in two balls from the off-spin of Bernie, having more success then her regular off-spinner brother, set Ali and Kieran back a bit; but still heading into the final over they looked to be ahead of the game. A brilliant catch from Kian Ware in the deep brought it back into the balance, but nevertheless the outcome remained in doubt until Jane announced the results. In the end an extra wicket lost meant the shield went to the family pairing, meaning that Frank defended the title he won last year in partnership with Rob Figuereido.

Some of the supporters enjoying the end of season fun at Hobbs Lane.

The competition was well-supported as always as many players, ex-players came to join in the fun, the barbecue, and to sample some home-brewed beer and some fruit punch. Many thanks to Ali for organising the day, to Jane for scoring and, with Pete Holdaway, for the barbecue, and to Simon Hudson and Kevin Jones for their marvellous concoctions.

Sunday XI Finish The Season In Style

Barrow Gurney’s Sunday XI finished their league season with a win away at Keynsham.

Colin Fletcher signs off his season with a well-made 39

Winning the toss, the Barrow captain, Mark Forge, soon found himself needing to be involved in a recovery after the early loss of Ali Hood without scoring. Forge (10) and Colin Fletcher dug in with a 42-run partnership over 13 overs, before daughter Bernie came to the crease to inject some quick running and several well-struck boundaries, which were hard to come by on the large playing area.

Bernie Forge hits another boundary.

When Fletcher departed for an increasingly fluent 39 (the highlight being an exquisite straight drive), Mark Gracey joined Bernie to put on a 50 partnership, with Gracey playing some delightful shots of his own before being run out going for another quick single. With Bernie taking full advantage of some short-pitched bowling, Guy Fisher came in to make a quickfire 22 as the innings concluded on 185-4, with Bernie remaining unbeaten on 58 at almost a run a ball.

Bernie Forge’s 58 not out and Guy Fisher’s quick 22 helped Barrow to a competitive total.

After tea Bernie was soon in action with the gloves taking 2 early catches off the pace bowling of Mark Fisher including the key wicket of the opposition captain. With accurate spells from Leo Brace (5 overs for 10 runs) and Adam Brace (8 overs for 29), the pressure was on the young Keynsham batting line up.

Guy Fisher found the pitch to his liking as his leg-spin got prodigious turn from the end of season pitch, deceiving 2 batsmen with the turn to bowl them, before giving Bernie another 2 victims behind the stumps with a catch and a stumping.

Guy Fisher’s 5 for 28 tore the heart out of the Keynsham reply.

A late-order revival could not prevent Guy taking season’s best figures of 5/28, before Oscar Livesey (2/33) gave Bernie a fifth victim followed up by inducing a hit wicket dismissal. Mark Fisher (3/14) then finished things off to give Barrow and enjoyable end to the season.

Barrow Narrowly Miss Out As Guy Hits Personal High

As Guy Fisher crowned an excellent season by hitting his 1,000th run for Barrow, the Firsts missed a good chance for a podium position after a promising season. Both the 2nds and Sunday XI lost heavily.

On Saturday Barrow Gurney First XI finished agonisingly 13 runs short of a victory which would have seen them finish third in Bristol & District Division 5. At Coombe Dingle, Barrow shot out the hosts, Bristol University Staff, for only 128. The home skipper Ed Morgan scoring a quick half century, before Ed Holdaway took 5 for 27 in a devastating spell of bowling. Backed up by Frank Forge (2/36) and Paul Gard (2/9), it seemed that the bowling attack had put the visitors in pole position.

Ed Holdaway bowls at Coombe Dingle on his way to taking 5 wickets for 27 runs.

Barrow, though, found the University Staff bowling equally hard to get away and made extremely slow progress towards the low total. Nevertheless at 50-1, Barrow were not in any trouble until a couple of quick wickets fell. Jonny Sykes (25) then took the attack to the bowling hitting two sixes but when he fell on 88 the lower order crumbled to 116 all out. It was a sad end to a promising season for Barrow’s young team who at least have the satisfaction of an overall winning record.

There was little consolation for Barrow 2s who finished bottom of Division 13 after being comprehensively outplayed by Chilcompton 2nds at Hobbs Lane. Facing a mammoth total of 283 in 35 overs, Barrow were left with little to do than to deny the visitors the points they needed to finish top of the division by themselves. Mark Gracey made a good 55 before a 50 partnership between Adam Brace and Mark Forge saw Barrow finish on 192-4, one of their better totals of the season.

Another fluent drive from Guy Fisher ( who made 60 on Sunday) passing 1,000 runs in the 2019 season.

On Sunday there was great joy for Guy Fisher who passed 1,000 runs for Barrow in all cricket this season. Guy made 60 out of Barrow’s 144 in reply to another high score from Harptree Villages (263-4) built around a powerful 124 not out from Harry Stride.

Five For Forge As Barrow Beat Congresbury

Barrow Gurney First XI pulled off a convincing win against Congresbury 2nd XI this weekend with another good all-round performance. The 2nds lost again, not really getting into their stride against Carsons Mangotsfield whilst the Sunday team (without a league fixture) enjoyed a trip to Allerton to play Axbridge and an opportunity to give the younger Barrow players an extended game.

Jonny Sykes hits a six on his way to 54 for Barrow Firsts.

Saturday at Hobbs Lane was hot and steamy and skipper Frank Forge wanted to bat first. Losing the toss he was surprised to find that the opportunity was given to the home side anyway. Barrow suffered an early set back as Ellie Holdway was out LBW for 2, but Bernie Forge played fluently for 26 before being caught low down at short midwicket. Kieran Owen (44) anchored the innings as the returning Phil Milton hit a feisty 19. Jonny Sykes then took charge and raced to 54 off 36 balls with 3 sixes showing his clean hitting ability before being trapped in front for another LBW decision. Ed Holdway (38) hit a further 3 maximums and continued the high scoring before Guy Fisher (25 not out) and Kian Ware (29 not out against his former club) scored at an electric rate to take Barrow to a season’s best 287-6 off 45 overs.

Frank Forge celebrates another wicket on his way to 5/43.

In reply Congresbury lost 3 early wickets to Premil Fernando (3/17) who bowled with brisk pace, accuracy with an occasional yorker. Ben Lewis (60) dug in well and accompanied by Stephen Baker (43) gave the visitors a chance until Barrow skipper Frank Forge destroyed the Congresbury batting, twice being on a hat trick, taking 5/43 in all. Ed Holdaway (2/22) finished things off to give Barrow a 126 run win and their 7th win of the season.

Meanwhile at Carsons Mangotsfield, the 2s lost by 68 runs in a game with a little controversy. Pete Rooney 3/56, and Paul Gard 2/14 were the pick of the bowlers as Carsons made 174-9. Rooney (23 not out) was also the top-scorer as Barrow wilted to 106-9.

The view at Allerton as Barrow played a friendly against Axbridge

With no Sunday league game, Barrow headed to the pretty Allerton ground to meet friendly rivals Axbridge. Batting first Matt Owen had a rare chance to open the innings making a good 25 before Frank Forge showed some of the younger (and older) players how to run in his 36. Jonny Sykes added 31 before being caught reverse sweeping and Guy Fisher  was 18 not out as Barrow ended their 30 overs on 160-7 just in time to watch and listen to the climactic end to the test match.

Barrow and Axbridge players celebrate the news from the Test Match at Headingley.

Axbridge replied well against the young Barrow attack led by Isaac Todman (1/32) who found some support from Jonny Sykes (1/21), although Melissa Owen and Leo Brace bowled good spells, the runs came just quickly enough for them to run out winners with 9 balls to spare by 8 wickets.

Owens Take the Bowling Honours In Mixed Weekend For Barrow Gurney

Barrow Gurney’s cricket teams were heavily in debt to the Owen family this Saturday with outstanding performances in both Saturday games. The 1st XI pulled off a win at Almondsbury, but the 2s season of misfortune continued as they let slip a winning position at home.

Matt Owen blew away the Almondsbury tail taking 4/19.

Away at Almondsbury, Barrow bowled well as a unit to dismiss the hosts for 166, with an early burst from Mark Fisher (2/15) having Almondsbury 8-2. A rally followed led by Jason Phillips (61), before Frank Forge (2/46) and Kieran Owen (2/27) struck. But it was the return of Kieran’s brother Matt for a second spell which was decisive as he took the last 4 Almondsbury wickets in 8 balls for 1 run to finish with 4/19 in all.

In reply Barrow were made to fight for their runs and whilst Oscar Livesey (36) anchored the innings there were useful contributions from Ellie Holdaway (18), Guy Fisher (21) and Kieran Owen (21) before Bernie Forge (25 not out) saw the visitors across the line with 3 overs to spare to record a 4 wicket win.

Steve Owen after taking 4 for 8 at Hobbs Lane.

Meanwhile at Hobbs Lane Barrow 2s faced a must-win game against Thornbury 4s. In the early afternoon it seemed like plain sailing as Steve Owen bowled with precision and some swing taking 5 for 8 in his 8 over spell to leave the visitors reeling at 94-9. As so often this season, Barrow failed to drive home their advantage and the last wicket added 101 with Sunil Reddy scoring an excellent 72. Simon Hudson also took 2/36.

An early run out dented Barrow’s chances, but Ali Hood hit another powerful 63 and found welcome company in the back to form Mark Gracey (52). At 129-2 Barrow were on course for a win but another batting collapse against bowlers who began to find some prodigious turn from the wicket caused Barrow to come up a disappointing 15 runs short. Relegation now seems an inevitability with only 2 games to go.

Ali Hood (63) and Mark Gracey (52) put Barrow in a position to win before a batting collapse.

On Sunday another poor Barrow Gurney batting performance left Westerleigh only 137 to chase for a first win of the season, Guy Fisher top-scoring with 41. The visitors had some alarms against a spirited Barrow attack but ran out 6 wicket winners.

Bill Nutt RIP

Barrow Gurney CC recently lost another of its former stalwarts, Bill Nutt, and we extend our condolences to his family and friends. Geoff Saunders writes with some personal memories of Bill….

Bill and his late brother Colin played for Barrow in the 1950s until he retired in the very early 1970s.

There are still some of us old boys, about 8 of us, who remain associated with the club, and are in our 70s and were young men when we started playing with Bill. Memories dim over the years and the modern technology of the day was a Brownie 123 camera and roll film so that photographs were few and mainly of the whole teams at the time.

Bill was always a fun chap to play with but sometimes his colleagues did not share his sense of humour as he developed an enviable record of running between the wickets with calling such as “Yes, no, sorry”. A new kind of dance was named because of this known as the “Barrow Shuffle”. But Bill was a fine local player bowling off spin and off cutters

One of Bill’s more  memorable  sayings at the end of this playing career occurred on a day when us “young bucks” wanted to play on in a miserable wet day to get a result and Bill was heard to say (rather unkindly to us, or words to the same effect) “ I wouldn’t work in it and so I’m not going to play in it”

I met Bill last year at Colin’s funeral and arranged a visit to our beautiful ground which has changed out of all recognition since Bill played. In his day the club had the minimum of facilities – no water being one of them and Bill had to take his turn, trudging down to a house, some 200 yards away to fill 2 water urns and returning with them full, arms aching and whites covered in soot from the bottom of the water urn. Mind you Bill often kindly delegated this task to us “young uns” at that time. We also had no electricity, no toilet, few catering facilities and a very small hut for the 22 players to change.

In those early days we sometimes struggled to field just one side each weekend so quite often when we were short of players. Bill and Colin used to collar some unsuspecting members of Bishopsworth British Legion to play, with words like “Do you like cricket – if they answered in the affirmative, he would continue that’s good you are playing for us today”.

Bill’s visit to the club on a super day with a couple of us who had played with Bill was full of joy for him when coupled with a beer and a wall full of photos of yesteryear, so much so that we were to repeat the visit this year but a combination of cold and wet weather and logistics prevented this up to the end of June, and now following his death at 95 sadly did not take place as I had hoped.

Bill was the oldest living member of the club and his successor to that title, the Club President, Brian Mayled, is a mere 85 years old.

So Bill, this is a fond farewell and thank you from all your friends at the club

Barrow Firsts In Dramatic Tie At Abbots Leigh

A thrilling tie at Abbots Leigh and a close game on Sunday at Hobbs Lane made for compelling watching for the Barrow Gurney supporters. Meanwhile Jonny Sykes dominated the weekend with his batting.

Jonny Sykes made 76 not out in the tie at Abbots Leigh, and added a further 23 not out against Blagdon on Sunday.

Barrow Gurney First XI tied with Abbots Leigh 1st team on Saturday in a thrilling encounter. Batting first on their home ground, Abbots Leigh made 212-6 with Barrow’s Benura Umanga taking 4/39.

Barrow’s reply started slowly, and they always looked to be behind the required rate. Guy Fisher’s 31 kept the visitors in the hunt, but it was Jonny Sykes (76 not out) who began to get Barrow back in the game, helped by Premil Fernando (26) and Matt Owen (20). With 2 needed to win, Keiron Owen was run out off the penultimate ball to leave the teams tied.

Ali Hood’s quickfire 68 was not enough to put Barrow 2s into contention.

At Hobbs Lane there was no such drama as Abbots Leigh 2s comfortably made light work of Barrow 2s. 243-9 being too many for Barrow to chase down despite a spirited 68 from Ali Hood. The home side fell 82 runs short, leaving the team precariously placed in B&D Division 13.

On Sunday at Hobbs Lane, Barrow gave their younger players the chance to shine against Blagdon. Although Oscar Livesey (44) top scored as the home side made 177-6, Jordan Allen made a fluent 23, Leo Brace made a stylish 15, whilst father Adam opened his shoulders to make 21 not out at the close alongside Jonny Sykes who (batting at 9) added another 23 not out to his weekend’s tally.

The occasional bowling of Ben Thorne accounted for 3 Blagdon wickets including 2 family members.

Blagdon lost 3 early wickets to the occasional bowling of Ben Thorne (3/29) who managed to dismiss his cousin and uncle into the bargain, whilst a catch was dropped which would have made it a four-wicket haul.

Whilst overseas player Wade rode his luck to make 58, Barrow persisted with giving their younger players the chance to impress as Melissa Owen and Seb Allen bowled 16 overs between them for only 63 runs. Oscar Livesey’s spin accounted for two Blagdon batsmen as the game moved towards a close finish but the visitors narrowly squeezed home by 2 wickets.

Depleted Barrow Falter Against League Leaders

Barrow Gurney fielded depleted teams this weekend as many players were taking a well-earned break. However, with both First and Second Teams playing against their respective league leaders, it meant for some rather one-sided games.

Guy FIsher celebrates his half century with Matt Owen

At Hobbs Lane, Barrow 1st XI batted first but could only make 136, largely due to Guy Fisher’s 66 after visitors Winterbourne A spilled a few chances. Kieran Owen also made 24 but the outcome was never in doubt as Winterbourne knocked off the target with the loss of only 2 wickets.

Barrow 2s travelled all the way to Mells and having lost the toss watched as the home team made 313-5, with Mike Lilley having the consolation of 2 wickets as he fielded a side with a lack of bowling options. The opposition’s superior bowling made light work of the Barrow line-up as they were skittled out for 70.

Last wicket pair Steve Owen and Mike Lilley batting at Mells on Saturday

On Sunday at Bath Exiles, Barrow again struggled for runs making 163 all out, which the Exiles surpassed easily despite Paul Gard taking 3/39.

Overall it was a week to forget but with players returning next week we hope for much better as the Saturday teams match up for a double-header against Abbots Leigh and the Sunday team entertain Blagdon.