It was a really special evening at Hobbs Lane as Barrow Gurney, past, present and future met in a friendly T20 game. A packed pavilion of family and friends came to watch an exciting game which called to mind many memories of yesteryear and showed off how the legacy of former players is being continued by members of the current squad.
The match was the concept of Paul Mizen, Barrow’s long-standing fixture secretary, who tempted players from previous generations out of retirement for this one-off game. Captained by Mick Hardy, the Legends batted first and the skipper led the way taking an early boundary off Adam Brace with a familiar flick of his pads, but his cameo ended as he attempted to loft Frank Forge straight and picked out Mark Brown who safely pouched the catch.
His opening partner, Simon Wallis, was relatively untroubled and, joined by youthful looking Jon Hood, a 50 partnership was put on in quick time to the worry of Barrow’s present skipper Phil Milton. Jon rolled back the years with a stylish cover drive and despatched Paul Glazzard for a lovely clean straight six before being well-caught by the diving Phil Milton for a well-made 30. Phil Febrey had little chance to remind the crowd of his batting skills as he misjudged a straight one from Paul and was LBW. Tim Patch was then a little too eager to up the scoring rate and was swiftly stumped by Bernie Forge.
Former Barrow captain Geoff Warren then joined Wallis, who by now was well on his way to a half century, and they took the total to 116 before Geoff became another victim of Phil Milton off the bowling of young Leo Brace.
Leo then finally deceived the charging Wallis for Bernie to take another stumping, departing the scene for a brilliant 59 with 10 boundaries. With overs now ebbing away “Alfie” Alford aimed some lusty blows and connected with a number before skying a catch which saw bowler Phil Milton and keeper Bernie in danger of colliding momentarily. Chris Warren fell soon after before Chris Patch came out to bat with a runner resulting, perhaps invevitably, in one of those confusing situations leading to a run out without Chris facing a ball. 141-9 though was a tough test for the present-day team.
After a short interval for some liquid refreshment, the present Barrow team went in to bat against some of their mentors, or, in some cases, players that they had only heard stories told about In whispered and reverential tones. Mark Brown fell victim to Alfie early on but then Bernie Forge and James Riley took charge of the Barrow innings. Bernie impressed the Legends with an extra cover drive and being severe on anything short, whilst James gradually overcame his fear of running for anything hit within 20 yards of his Barrow hero, Jon Hood, to score equally fluently at the other end.
Bernie made her half century to only modest applause from the crowd who seemed pre-occupied by the bar and barbecue at this stage, and then gave her wicket away charging the wily spin of Mick to be stumped by Spencer Mizen. Paul Glazzard then joined Riley and was quickly in his stride playing some powerful strokes. Meanwhile the Legend’s fielding was surprisingly mobile, helped by the fact that Chris Patch’s young runner (when he batted) also fielded alongside him in the outfield. Some, in fact, looked more lively in the field than half of Barrow’s second or third teams currently.
With only 12 needed off the last 2 overs, the Barrow team looked odds on. But then came Tim Patch, who bowled Paul sending one of the bails almost half way to the boundary and then trapped Phil Milton LBW, leaving the crowd wondering why he had not bowled before and leaving Barrow needing 10 of the final over. Alfie did his utmost in the final over but Barrow won with 2 balls to spare.
A fantastic evening and a wonderful game with lots of memories shared and friendships forged or re-kindled. Intended as a one-off it may become a feature of future fixture lists – who knows? It certainly demonstrated the fraternity and devotion of players of all generations to this small, but very special, village cricket club.