Winning the toss and bowling first seemed the obvious choice under leaden skies and in humid conditions at Hobbs Lane. However the opening attack of Mark Fisher and Barrow debutant Nick Heal found little swing although the odd ball did a bit off the pitch. Axbridge’s openers Hatcher and Packham were extremely severe on anything outside off stump or full and rushed away to 90 off 15 overs before Hatcher retired on 51; then Liam Moore (2 for 27) dismissed Packham for 44 and followed that up in the following over with another success, Jackson Bryant taking a good low catch at Mid Off.
Jackson (2 for 19) then came on to bowl, fresh from his success in the Under 15s last week (3 for 1) and straight away he found some movement off the pitch cutting one back to clean bowl Reeves and repeating the feat to dismiss the opposition skipper for a duck. With Guy Fisher bowling a tight five over spell (1 for 7), the middle overs offered Barrow the only period of control against an experienced batting line up. Axbridge continued to score well, although without the dominance of their openers, and racked up 195 for 7 in 40 overs. The latter stages of the innings being notable for Nick Heal’s first wicket (1 for 42 off eight) and the dismissal of J Fisher inevitably by M Fisher (1 for 39).
The total always seemed an ambitious one for a team with no first-teamers lurking down the order to perform some heroics. Nevertheless the Barrow team batted well but kept losing wickets just as a batsman got set. Bernie Forge (16) hit 3 early boundaries before perishing to a full toss marginally below shoulder height from spinner Bush. Guy Fisher top-scored with 34 including two sixes over the straight long-on boundary and into the members’ enclosure. Jackson started promisingly before falling for 19, Frank Forge then followed for an elegant 19, leaving Barrow needing 85 off the last 10 overs. The skipper then joined James Halladay at the crease. Mark Forge having got off the mark with a crashing blow over extra cover for 4 soon settled into a more familiar rhythm of nudges and nurdles and with James trying hard to puncture a close set field at the other end, the rate began to climb although the scoreboard kept ticking over. James (16) hit a lovely straight drive (dubbed “shot of the day” by the Axbridge umpire), whilst with time running out Mark fell for 27 playing across the line. Mark Fisher then had time to repay the compliment giving his wicket to Axbridge’s J Fisher and the innings closed with Nick (6 not out) scoring off the only two deliveries he faced. Barrow falling short by 33 runs.
The team voted Nick, man of the match, for some good bowling, a catch and a positive attitude in the field on debut.