Having watched most of the first team game on Saturday, surely the Sunday fixture at Winscombe could not match it for run-scoring and excitement. Well the runs scored were a couple of hundred lower but the game produced some excellent cricket and plenty of excitement…
Winning the toss Mark Forge put Winscombe in on a dry pitch with a few green tinges. Opening up Clough made a breezy 18 including a straight 6 off Matt Owen who got his revenge with an inswinging yorker in the same over. 23 for 1 became 23 for 2 as the other opener was run out for a duck as Steve Owen threw in and Bernie Forge tidied up behind the stumps. The innings then belonged to a young and stylish left-hander called Hall, who played nicely off his hip for countless runs and was powerful over mid-wicket. Runs came steadily despite accurate spells by James Halladay and Frank Forge, but the middle overs were a tale of increasing frustration for the hapless Oscar Livesey who saw 4 or 5 catches dropped in his spell only to find that each time he was then despatched by the lucky player to the fence. Hall benefitted from at least two of these as he moved on to 76, before holing out to the skipper (making amends for tipping an earlier effort “over the bar’); and, with support from the middle order took the total to 187 for 7. Nick Heal (2/31 off 8) and Steve Owen (2/22 off 4) had the best figures.
Rod Reeves opened up with Bernie. The first ten overs saw Barrow to only 26 for 0 off 10. As Bernie started to see more of the strike the run rate increased a bit to 69 for 0 at drinks. Rod fell for 28 inevitably to Hall who was now showing a good bowling action to add to his batting technique. Oscar played one lovely leg glance for 4 but skied one to the keeper, 100 for 2 and 88 needed off 12. Frank then joined his sister and, in a busy partnership of 39, the innings finally gained momentum. Bernie was hitting powerfully straight and despatching anything short, Frank guiding the ball into gaps. Putting the fielders under pressure, the running was a bit frenetic as Frank had to deploy a couple of full length dives to make his ground. He fell for 14 bowled by a spinner from Clough who previously had been bowling with a lively pace. 139 for 2 quickly became 146 for 5, as Bernie was finally run out for her highest score of 61, until Steve Owen (18) found good support from Nick Heal (14), Steve hitting one enormous 6 clearing the longest boundary by 20 yards. Nick employed the short-arm jab to good effect even managing to get a half volley away through square leg. Nick though tried once too often and fell LBW with 6 still needed for victory.
Enter the skipper in unfamiliar territory, batting 9 in a run chase; still Steve was surely going to see Barrow home. The final over began with only 3 needed and Mark Forge took a single to give Steve the glory, but Steve then he inexplicably played down the wrong line and was bowled. Last man Pete Halladay strode out into the fray, only 1 to tie. Instructions were given to “get something on it and run like hell”, but the skipper had not bargained for Pete creaming it to short mid on and charging down the wicket but the keeper failed to gather and broke the wicket without the ball, with Mark well short. Scores level 2 balls to come.
Thinking a tie was probably a fair result, a misfield by cover point left Mark no option but to take the winning run with 1 ball to spare.