The warmer weather of the last week heralded the start of the friendly cricket season at Barrow.
On Sunday Hobbs Lane hosted old friends, Bristol Sri Lankans, matched against a Barrow Sunday XI which always looked a little light in seam bowling and not that nimble in the field. The strong Sri Lankan team were one short so who should step in, but Barrow 1st team regular Sami! Unfortunately, that did little to match the teams. Undeterred and bowling first Barrow really needed something to inspire them and it seemed to have appeared in the first over and in the form of Pete Halladay, swooping on a push on the onside to realise that the opener had hopelessly committed himself backing up, and was stranded 2/3rds of the way down the wicket towards his rather dumbfounded and motionless partner. A perfect throw cleanly gathered by a fielder (who shall remain nameless for the purposes of this report) 2 feet (certainly no more) from the stumps, left the opposition just a flick of the bails away from losing a needless wicket. Friendly game or not this was not the time for quite such a charitable gesture as choosing not to flick off the bails off but to throw the ball at the stumps………
After an opening partnership of 70 broken only by the wily bowling of Mick Hardy, Rohsin (who was to retire on 106) and Mahdi (a technically correct player who batted beautifully to the eye of a purist) put on 128 for the second wicket. Whilst this sounds one-sided, that only tells half of the story. Poor Frank Forge induced numerous false shots and at least 3 or 4 catches went down off his bowling only to see the batsman celebrate his good fortune by middling the next one beyond the boundary. Rod Reeves injured himself in the process of attempting one such catch leaving further gaps in the field. Meanwhile Mick induced several edges, Nick Heal benefitted from an opportunist stumping from Bernie Forge standing back which helped to stem the carnage, Oscar Livesey bowled a few good overs taking the last wicket. Adam Brace took two wickets with some accurate bowling before going in the fetlock further hampering the fielding effort. Even James Riley was employed for 3 overs off his full run in an attempt to stop the bleeding. However much credit must be given to young Leo Brace from our Under 13 team who amongst a total of 282 off 40 overs bowled his four for only 9! Line and length and little bit of movement demanded respect from all the batsman.
Another whopping Halladay tea devoured, Barrow set off, if not in search of victory then in search of respectability. An exhausted Bernie Forge (after a lengthy innings the day before) opened with Riley against two young pace bowlers, one of whom, no taller than Leo, was whizzing it through extremely fast and soon penetrated Riley’s defence. Oscar then joined Bernie and soon displayed the famous Livesey leave which induced 4 byes, before he settled into a rhythm of block, block, drive to identical deliveries! After departing for 15, Mick Hardy rolled back the years with some trademark shots, including an effortless 6 towards the pavilion. At drinks Bernie had batted for another 20 overs for 24 finding the bowling not so easy to get away as on Saturday. Declining her captain’s offer for her to retire and rest for a Somerset game on Tuesday, she carried on only to aim a weary blow at Sami and was stumped.
Mark Forge’s brief innings ensued during which, deprived of the company of Mick rather too soon (for a top score of 29), he claimed a moral victory over Sami by caressing a leg-stump delivery to the square leg boundary with a flick of the wrists. Next ball Sami bowled what appeared to be the same delivery so Mark just had to repeat the dose, except of course it was slightly straighter and quicker! Frank Forge continued his good form with the bat and in partnership with young Leo kept him running twos to all parts. As with his bowling Leo showed some real talent with the bat. With an oppressive close field, he played a couple of lovely shots through the covers before glancing a leg side delivery for 4. Replacing him Dad, Adam, was not to outdone striking two Gower-esque boundaries through the covers while batting on one leg!
Overall Barrow fell about 120 short.
Earlier in the week the T20 friendlies started with a game against St Bonaventure’s. Arriving late due to traffic and unable to summon sufficient numbers to field, St Bon’s batted well making 136 with only James Halladay (2/16) making inroads into the batting line up.
In reply Ellie Holdaway (31*) batted beautifully hitting consecutive drives through the covers for four, in partnership with James Riley (26*) she put on a 50 stand before they both retired to give other players chance to bat. However despite some boundaries from Jonny Sykes (15) and James Halladay (12*) the light was closing in and Barrow were left with too much to do, needing 30 plus off the last three in near darkness against the sharp bowling of O’Gallagher.
Captain for the day was Bernie Forge, BGCC is intending rotating the T20 captaincy around some of our younger players to give them experience at senior level. Next T20 game is against Flax Bourton (Away) on 8th June.