On a weekend where finding players was a problem for many teams, Barrow had 28 players unavailable which had an impact on all its teams. Nevertheless the Firsts were in a winning position in their game but failed to press home the advantage as Bath 4s fought hard to the end largely through an excellent innings from Beth Howe. Meanwhile the 2nds and 3rds struggled to be competitive in their games.
At the scenic Hobbs Lane ground the 1st team went into the match with Bath 4’s still confident of doing the double after their victory in the first game of the season and winning 3 in a row. Winning the toss in the blazing sunshine Phil Milton decided to have a bat although things didn’t go to plan as the returning Ali Hood was out first ball. Bernie Forge followed soon after leaving Barrow 14-2 but some steady batting from Guy Fisher (36) and Mark Fisher (24) got them to the 100 mark. Ben Skuse and James Riley batted really well putting on a brilliant 105 run partnership before Riley went for 44. Skuse finished 61 not out as Barrow finished on a pleasing 227-6 from their 45 overs. A great all around effort was capped off by a nice Oscar Livesey 6 in the last over.
The timing of the end of the innings was perfect, as the teams walked off just as the anthems started and the 2nds arrived following their defeat and all settled in to watch the football.
In the second innings Barrow got off to a great start, Riley removing the Bath captain for 0 and the dangerous looking number 3 for just 13. Things got better as Guy recovered from dropping a catch to run out the number 2 from a prone position on the ground! With Barrow short of bowling Phil came on and took a wicket first ball as Oscar took a good catch in the deep but Bath moved onto 106-5; Barrow were definitely in the box seat however. Wickets though were becoming increasingly difficult to come by as Bath moved to 124-7 before the key partnership of Tom Finn and Beth Howe took them to 211-8. The return of Riley and Mark Fisher didn’t get the breakthrough Barrow hoped for and during this time the team lost a little composure and the bowlers got a little ragged. A run out in in the penultimate over and the dismissal of Howe for a well-made 56 took Bath to 9 down but they hit they winning runs with 4 balls to spare.
The 2nds had agreed to play a 30 over match starting early to ensure a conclusion before the England game. With so few players available, Barrow were indebted to Petra Brace, Debbie Forge and Stephen Webb who made their debuts to avoid the team having to default and risk losing 10 points in the league for so doing
Mark Gracey won the toss and chose to bat and after the 30 overs Barrow had put on 89/5 with Pete Holdaway(21), and Gracey 24 not out top scoring as the team battled hard against some decent bowling which you would expect from a top of the table side.
With a 15 minute rest, Barrow tried to limit the Twyford House scoring but alas to no avail with Melissa Owen picking up the only wicket and Twyford winning quite comfortably.
The Sunday team experienced a disappointing visit to Pak Bristolians.
It was very hot, the ground was hard, brown and uneven, the pitch was dusty and Mark Forge lost the toss again meaning another spell in the field for some already very tired limbs.
Despite this Barrow stuck to their task well actually bowling out the opposition for 250 in under 37 overs. Dan Caie (ex of Long Ashton), playing his first game of the season bowled with pace and accuracy taking 3/31, taking the vital wicket of the number 3 who had hit his first 3 balls for 4. Simon Hudson also bowled well taking 3/34 including a caught and bowled when the ball seemed to stop in mid air requiring a final desperate lunge. It was the 6th wicket partnership which took the innings away from Barrow. Oscar Livesey, bowling a mixture of spin and seam took 2 wickets before Paul Gard closed proceedings.
The opening pair of Livesey and Gracey went to the wicket and played nicely until Oscar played too soon at one which might have stopped and was caught and bowled for 11. Thereafter only Frank Forge (9) who was caught behind chasing a wide and Gracey (top score of 13) looked comfortable as the odd ball started to misbehave. The introduction of Azan signalled the death knell for Barrow as he took 4 cheap wickets.
Add in a disastrous run out, there was not too much to take from Barrow’s innings save the shot of the day from Dan Caie – a straight drive back over a young fast bowlers head, but he too fell trying to repeat the dose. All out for 68.