Barrow Gurney finished the league season in style as all three teams recorded wins last weekend.
Visiting Abbots Leigh Barrow Firsts won the toss and batted, but soon found the pitch very difficult to bat on as the odd ball popped and several kept low. Losing a couple of early wickets and another to an unfortunate run out, only a captain’s innings of 76 by Phil Milton gave Barrow a score to defend. 3 enormous sixes clearing the changing rooms and pavilion were the highlight as wickets fell regularly at the other end as no one else scored more than 13. The innings was interrupted by a dreadful injury to an Abbots Leigh player who was struck on the jaw by a fielder’s throw and he had to be taken to A&E.
Barrow’s score of 156 all out started to look better as the home side lost early wickets. James Riley caught one off his own bowling to another that held up in the surface, whilst Matt Owen bowled a really effective spell of 9 overs 2/28 taking out the other opener and number 3 batsman.
Then Frank Forge came into the attack fresh from his 5 wicket haul last week. He was soon into his work bowling the dangerous Holdsworth with one which turned to take the top of off stump. With sister Bernie taking 2 catches, one from an edge and one from a skied shot, and Will Kerswell taking a brilliant one-handed slip catch, another 5 looked on the cards. A good catch in the deep by Ed Holdaway left Frank with 9 overs 5/20 bettering his figures of the week before and leaving the home side on the brink of defeat. With one player absent in hospital, the final wicket fought valiantly but eventually Ed trapped the batsman LBW to force a Barrow win by 49 runs. Barrow finished 6th in Division 5 of the Bristol & District League only one point adrift of Abbots Leigh.
Meanwhile at Hobbs Lane Barrow 2s were involved in a close contest with old friends Patchway 2s. Patchway put on a par score of 201-6 with Paul Thompson hitting 65. Skipper Ellie Holdaway who has had a good year with the bat, finally found her bowling boots to take 4/27.
In reply Barrow survived the unfortunate run out of their captain as Ali Hood (58) and Roger Finnemore (45) took the team to a commanding position. As so often though a middle order collapse left the situation in the balance until Adam Brace came in to steady the ship making a vital 32 not out to lead the team to victory by 3 wickets. This left the team 7th in Division 13 with 6 wins in their 18 matches.
The Sunday 3rd XI’s last game of the season against Carsons Mangotsfield took place on a warm, sticky afternoon.
Despite losing the toss, skipper Mark Forge got his wish and batted. The first 5 overs saw no score whatsoever against some accurate and skiddy bowling. The monotony was broken as Barrow’s captain was defeated by a slower ball yorker bringing Colin Fletcher to the crease who looked to continue his form of last week and seemed to get Mark Gracey moving too, before being caught at short cover for 5. Bernie Forge defended resolutely failing to score in a 32 run partnership as Gracey suddenly found some sweet timing and began to stroke the ball around finding the boundary several times but he was next to go when he was bowled for a top score of 36. Kieran Owen then took up the blocking role as Bernie cover drove a boundary before advancing to a pace bowler and despatching him over mid-wicket but another sharp catch at short cover left Barrow 60-4. Jonny Sykes did not really get going and chipped a catch back to the bowler and Simon Hudson was well caught in the outfield.
Kieran fell for 14, before an important partnership between Nick Heal and Leo Brace moved Barrow towards a total which just might be defendable. Nick (21) mixed dour defence and powerful blows whilst Leo scampered the runs and played a couple of pleasing off side shots of his own. A lofted ball into the outfield resulted in two fielders colliding leaving one rather injured. As Adam Brace strode in with 2 balls to go, he decided to play himself in by defending the first, before thrashing the next to the straight boundary to bring up a total of 146.
After tea and catching up on events at Southampton, Ashton Gate and various other places, Barrow knew that they had to bowl well.
With Melissa Owen bowling well from one end, Simon Hudson bowled an excellent 5 over spell removing one opener for only 12 runs. Barrow were then given a real boost as Jonny Sykes pounced on a push into the covers to flatten the middle stump and run out Mark Pitt by a couple of yards. This was closely followed by an incident which was both extraordinary and heart-warming at the same time. The ball came off Magg’s pad on the leg side and the batsmen went for a quick single, Bernie Forge threw off her keeping glove and threw down the stumps at the bowler’s end. The umpire was in no position at all to give a decision and having appeared to have been given not out the Barrow team started back to their fielding positions to find that Mr Maggs had walked knowing he had not grounded his bat. Such commendable sportsmanship is what cricket should be about.
Nick Heal was now into a good spell (2/20) giving nothing away and finding some turn, his quicker ball caused everyone problems as the low bounce caused it to fizz away off the pitch and he benefitted from Gracey taking a steepling catch. At the other end Kieran Owen induced a top edge which Bernie pouched before McGowan came to the crease. His innings consisted of 4,6,4, bowled. Beautiful while it lasted but thankfully (for Barrow) brief and Kieran did well to keep the ball up to him to rattle the timbers.
Jonny Sykes replaced Kieran and bowled with pace for 5 overs and off spin for his last 3 taking 2/17, but Carsons were edging perilously close to Barrow’s total. Barrow’s skipper persuaded the limping Adam Brace to have one last spell needing his accuracy to keep things tight as they pressed for the final wicket. The injured fielder came in at 11 and was intent on getting the runs quickly and with the added fun of a runner to add to the tension, the home side got themselves within a boundary of victory before Adam bowled the wounded batter to seal an exciting win, a clean sweep for the Barrow teams this weekend and a wonderful end to the league season.
The Sunday XI finish tied 8th (out of 14) in their division of the North Somerset League with 5 wins, a walkover and 8 losses, more importantly the team has tried to make sure everyone gets to take part.