Barrow Firsts Outpace The Pakistani Express

On a lovely day at Hobbs Lane the first XI welcomed Pakistani Express. Like the return fixture, the skipper (Sam Turner standing in for new Dad Phil Milton) lost the toss and was inserted into bat – albeit unlike last time, this made no difference as it felt like a day to bat first and put runs on the board. At 2-1 after six overs it didn’t look quite so clear. Will Kerswell was out shortly afterwards and Mick Hardy joined Nick Moore at 20-2. The main game changing moment happened in the next over, with Nick dropped twice on 11 – one a relatively straightforward caught behind by the keeper, and three balls later a tougher chance at first slip. Nick and Mick then built a superb partnership, starting cautiously but gaining momentum the longer it went on. At drinks Barrow were around 80-2. Nick moved serenely through the gears to bring up a determined fifty and finally went for 77 when run out unluckily trying to push the scoring rate.

Mick went next for a fluent 55, including two excellent straight sixes. Mick’s first scoring shot was the most gorgeous cover drive and he really did look back to his best. At 169-4 and with 9 overs to go it was really important to keep pushing towards 230, but with two new batsmen this target was never going to be easy. But James Mitchell played the role perfectly, scoring 44 at better than a run a ball, with the remaining batsman rotating the strike well, before James was out stumped in the final over.. 233-7 was probably around par (if not slightly above), but after a poor start and with runs on the board Barrow all happy with the score.

James Riley, as he usually does, started well, swinging the ball late and quickly and had the opener caught behind in the third over. James Mitchell (standing in behind the stumps) went on a lap of honour to celebrate the catch. At the other end, Ed Holdaway was making his Barrow return, and bowled a very disciplined line around off-stump. The decision to have a third man rather than fine leg turned out to be inspired when the dangerous looking skipper Ali top edged a cut shot and it went straight down Riley’s throat. When Riley got the big wicket of Shahid – bowled for 4 (32-3), Barrow were well on top. Ed chipped in with another and after 12 overs Pakistani Express were 43-4. A decent partnership followed and after the attacking early fields dispersed as Barrow were cautious given what happened the last time the teams met.

Next came a moment of controversy. Rob Figs bowled a second beamer and hurt the batsman – the umpires issued him with a second warning and there was some debate as to whether he was still allowed to bowl, eventually it was determined that he could.

Ed bowled 12 straight overs and he was rewarded with the fifth wicket in his eleventh over – a very good catch by James Mitchell – cue another lap of honour! The next few came and went cheaply (Mick Hardy (4-0-24-2) with both wickets – one being another caught behind from Mitchell capping an excellent day behind the stumps. However, one danger man remained – finally dismissed for 51 by Johnny Sykes (5-0-27-1), a diving catch at mid-wicket by Sam Turner. The game was up and it was all about whether Barrow could claim maximum bowling points. Riley (12-0-37-2) was unable to break through in his second spell, but Kieran Owen (6-0-19-1) managed to get his first BGCC 1st XI wicket (another caught third man!) – well deserved after bowling really well. The field in the final over was interesting to try and get the final wicket (two slips, leg slip, gully, short mid-wicket, two short covers, silly mid-off and silly mid-on) but the number ten didn’t bite and Pakistani Express finished nine down.

A really important win in a league which is becoming more and more bunched – anyone can beat anyone on their day (shown by Redcliffe bowling Hampset out for 47 yesterday).

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