Barrow players old and new gathered at the pavilion on Sunday to celebrate the birthday of Chairman Pete Holdaway who was 65 not out. As Pete was thinking about drawing his pension, wife (and cricket widow) Jane had been long planning a surprise celebration. The ruse was a final warm up game between 2 teams of Barrow Gurney players with an open invitation for everyone to come and watch. Jane provided not only the tea but an evening buffet too, so how Pete did not notice the mountain of food in the car we will never know. The evening was topped off with a cricket-themed birthday cake.
The game itself saw a team captained by 1st XI skipper Phil Milton, play a team captained by new 2nd XI leader Ellie Holdaway, daughter of the birthday boy.
Phil’s team batted first and, despite the low bounce afforded by the early season wicket, the scoring rate was good. Roger Finnimore mastered the conditions using deft nudges to keep the score moving whilst driving anything full through the covers for 4. With Roger retiring on reaching 50, the stage was set for Phil Milton and Guy Fisher to play some more expansive shots as the total headed towards 180 plus. The best bowling figures (2/30) belonged to Ellie who had the satisfaction of dismissing brother Ed along the way.
In reply Ellie’s team struggled with some accurate bowling (especially from Adam Brace who took 2 for 3) and even lower bounce. It seemed that 21 was the most anyone could score, achieved (in vastly different styles) by Mark Brown, Mark Forge and Ellie herself. The innings had started with the master batsman himself, Pete Holdaway, showing a little cameo of the batting technique which brought him so many runs over the years. After hitting his son over the top for 4 he retired, perhaps unwisely, to leave things to the younger players.
Despite some terrific late order hitting from Premil Torrington and Mark Fisher, Ellie’s team fell short. The game ended in wonderful fashion as Under 13 Leo Brace took his first senior wicket with the last ball of the innings – surely a sign of many more to come. His celebration was reminiscent of a premiership footballer!
A warm up match was probably a misnomer as the game was played in freezing conditions with occasional drizzle and no sign of the sun. However, the company was warm enough and the food splendid. It was a great opportunity to celebrate with a man who gives so much of his time to ensure that a small village club like Barrow Gurney continues to thrive.