Barrow Gurney’s three teams had a disappointing weekend with three losses, but there were many signs of hope for the future not least by the performance of young Ben Thorne from the Under 13s who made his senior debut and marked it in a fashion reminiscent of the young David Gower, by pulling his first ball for four to the cheers of the Barrow players, the opposition and supporters.
However, on Saturday, Barrow 1sts entertained Claverham 2nds who scored a decisive 241-8 despite some good bowling from Matt Owen (3/57), brother Kieran (2/36) and skipper Paul Glazzard (2/30). In reply Barrow began promisingly with Ben Skuse (52) playing well, and taking advantage of some leg side deliveries, whilst opening partner, Roger Finnimore (28), progressed more slowly making only 8 out of the opening stand of 89. When Roger departed at 127-2, Barrow were still in a strong position and with James Riley continuing his good form with the bat were always in the hunt. Riley though did not get the support he was hoping for from the lower order, and despite several good shots, he was the 9th wicket to fall as Barrow were bowled out for 192.
Meanwhile at the picturesque ground at Doynton, Barrow 2nds found a tricky wicket and a long outfield and, losing the toss, were bowled out for 124. Only Jordan Allen (33) who was severe on anything short and Gareth Ashley (29) who took the aerial route to avoid the slow outfield, made significant contributions. In reply Hinton & Dyrham seemed relatively untroubled despite Mike Lilley dismissing one of the openers thanks to a brave catch by Ellie Holdaway who had suffered a nasty blow at mid-off previously. Ellie herself was the pick of the bowlers taking a catch off her own bowling and another caught behind by keeper Bernie Forge. Ellie finished with 2/42 as the game was lost by 7 wickets.
On Sunday the Easton Cowboys rode into town to play the Sunday 3rd XI. Aggressive from the start, in a rain-reduced 30 over game, Barrow struggled to contain the Cowboy batsmen, whose fine headgear matched their powerful stroke play. Only James Riley, bowling some left-arm spin, had any success taking 3 wickets although the last one was off a somewhat longer run! Barrow stuck to their task and fielded well whilst under pressure but 205-3 off 30 was a tall order.
Losing Guy Fisher early was a blow but old-stager Mark Forge (14) and even older-stager Rod Reeves (30) built a platform but too slowly for Barrow to have a realistic chance of success. Some great shots from Riley brought some pressure on the Cowboys before young Ben entered for his first innings. To make 9, before being bowled by an experienced left-arm china man bowler, the likes of which he would not have seen at Under 13 level, was a creditable performance and he left to a standing ovation. Ben, Leo Brace and Melissa Owen are players for the future at Barrow and it is good to see them hold their own against some sizeable opposition. In the end, however, Barrow finished 47 short.
With all teams only having one win under their belts with a quarter of the season gone, Barrow will be hoping for some consistent performances and better availability from senior players over the next few weeks.