Barrow Gurney’s Saturday teams both recorded vital wins this week as they bowled out their respective oppositions for modest totals and chased them down with only one or two scares.
At Hobbs Lane, Phil Milton lost the toss again on Saturday and was surprised that Woodpeckers opted to bat first given the green tinged pitch. Ed Holdaway and James Riley opened the bowling and things looked ominous when the Woodpeckers’ skipper Gary Worgan hit Ed’s first ball for 6, things didn’t improve when he was dropped in the next over. Worgan’s batting out of his crease and big trigger movement was upsetting the bowlers but Ed started to bowl short of a length at him to contain the scoring rate. Unfortunately Barrow again struggled with their catching dropping too many chances and keeping Woodpeckers in the game. Ed and Riley were both unfortunate to finish wicketless. However the change of bowling brought wickets as Matt Owen and Mark Fisher picked up the dangerous Worgan and Curtis, Matt finishing with 2/32 and Mark 3/35, both having bowled well again. The introduction of the slow bowling of Paul Glazzard (3/19) and Frank Forge (2/5) wrapped up the tail quickly, leaving Barrow to chase just 128 having bowled Woodpeckers out in 29 overs.
Barrow didn’t get off to the best start losing a wicket in the first over. Mark Brown almost followed second ball as he was dropped by the bowler before going on to punish Woodpeckers hitting 50 from just 32 balls before falling LBW. Barrow then had a big wobble as Ben Hodges and Glazzard both went without scoring. Phil Milton departed for 28 but Ed and Guy Fisher saw the home side over the line scoring 16 and 21 respectively giving Barrow a 5 wicket win in 19.1 overs.
Meanwhile the 2nds turned up at the picturesque Westerleigh ground for their game against Coalpit Heath in the drizzle but thankfully it had cleared up by the time the game started and stayed away all afternoon. Barrow won the toss and inserted the opposition. Steve Owen and Paul Gard opened up, they both bowled well but without any luck but at least kept the scoring rate in check. Things changed when Simon Hudson came on and bowled a leg side full toss that was obligingly hit high into Gard’s hands at fine leg. Adam Brace came on and in his first over induced a nick behind before adopting his now trademark ploy of going round the wicket to bowl the batsmen first ball, and Barrow were firmly on top. Later Adam picked up a third wicket with a bottom edge this time well snapped up by Ali Hood moving low to his right, 3/22 for Adam. Then Pete Rooney got in on the act proving very difficult to get away and snaring 3 victims along the way for only 24 runs. Coalpit’s innings concluded on 148 all out with the final wicket giving Barrow full bowling points off the final ball via a run out.
After tea Barrow opened up with the contrasting styles of Ali Hood and Mark Forge, the latter taking on the job of seeing off a dangerous opening bowler while Ali at the other end was happily putting away anything loose to the short leg side boundary, including hitting a rather unfortunate dog that happened to be minding its own business just beyond the rope (the dog was unharmed thankfully). Barrow neared 50 from the opening partnership before Hood got in a muddle and was LBW and Forge followed relatively soon after having got a leading edge to a left arm spinner.
Mike Lilley and Mark Gracey then came together initially making slow progress but pushed Barrow up close to the 100 mark with a couple of nice shots and a lot of extras, which would end up passing 50 in the innings, compared to only 25 that Barrow conceded. After Lilley departed, Gracey upped the scoring rate including the shot of the day with a glorious on drive before the stage was set for someone to hit the winning runs. Enter young Leo Brace, who had previously fielded brilliantly, who, with the field in tight, duly hit the bowler back over his head to win the game in style.
Unfortunately, the success of Saturday could not be repeated on Sunday as the 3rd XI were on the wrong end of a maiden century by young opening batsman Haynes, who was well on his way to making it a double when the innings ended, with visitors Whitchurch scoring 324. Few bowlers enjoyed the afternoon, although Matt Owen (2/41) off 8 overs was outstanding in the circumstances.
In reply Barrow were 102-3 after 20 overs when the umpires brought the teams off for the constant drizzle that had accompanied the last few overs. Guy Fisher had taken advantage of some dropped catches with the wet ball to make another half century which contained some excellent shots all around the wicket.