After a wet week Barrow travelled to Horserace Lane on a sunny afternoon with a team missing four regulars including the skip who was at an all-day NTC class. Ali Hood followed Phil Milton’s lead & lost the toss so Barrow found themselves batting first once again.
The Failand & Portbury openers bowled well using their local knowledge of the sloping wicket to their advantage but Mark Brown & Ali took Barrow past 40 in the 10th over but by the end of the 13th both were back in the pavilion – Mark Brown particularly unlucky to slip while retreating on an aborted quick single to be left run out. Nick Moore & Mick Hardy found the going tough as the openers continued to plug away & were then replaced by two spinners who only conceded 26 off the first 10 overs they bowled, so drinks were taken at 75-2. Barrow’s steady but unspectacular progress continued & importantly no more wickets fell as they reached 110-2 off 30 overs, then Nick cut loose & Mick found his touch and by 35 overs the score had progressed to 162-2 and a total of around 220 started to look within reach. Mick perished for an important 39 and ended a partnership with Nick of around 130, to be replaced by Johnny Sykes who brought his good form from the seconds with him making a rapid 30 not out. Nick was undoubtedly the star man making 124 (10 4’s & six 6’s) before being stumped in the penultimate over. So tea was taken with Barrow having posted a very useful 249-4, 172 of which were made in the second half of the innings at 7.8 runs per over.
The defence of 249 got off to a good start when in the first over Failand’s opener pulled a hammy & was cleaned up next ball by James Riley – the next 10 overs saw a tight contest between bat & ball Barrow had opportunities putting down a couple of tough chances whilst Failand punished bad balls so it was fairly even as Failand progressed to 41 from 12 before Riley softened up the other opener with a bouncer that hit on the grille & then cartwheeled his stumps next ball finishing his first spell with 2-11 from 7. Paul Glazzard , was keeping things increasingly tight with his last 6 overs only going for 18 well supported by Browner but although the run rate was creeping up the breakthrough remained elusive again with a couple more tough chances going begging. Eventually though Barrow’s pressure began to tell & Browner picked up 3 wickets (3-57) & Connor Jones chipped in with an important one as well so with F&P on 172-6 off 35 they needed 78 from the final 10. At this point Ali called upon the ever reliable Mick & the excellent James Riley who did the job meaning the final over started with the opposition needing an unlikely 23 with only 2 wickets left. Riley delivered the final over & picked up his 4th wicket (12 -4- 36-4) meaning with the league win last week and the cup game on Weds he has picked up 11 wickets for not very many.
So a very good win with a relatively depleted team against a side who this time last year were playing Division 1, this was a great team effort with everyone showing energy & enthusiasm in the field – especially Mark & Guy Fisher who didn’t otherwise get much of a game and Johnny who did a sterling job behind the stumps (there aren’t many 6ft 5 keepers around)!
Next week the Firsts have another big game, a local derby, as Long Ashton pop up the road.