Whilst the firsts were clocking up their third win of the season, Barrow Seconds chalked up a much-needed second success at Hobbs Lane. Both teams were affected by Glastonbury absentees, and perhaps with this in mind Mells put Barrow into bat on a greenish pitch . Mells opened with a pair of brothers, one of whom bowled sharp left arm and the other deceptively skiddy seamers. Barrow’s opening pair of Pete Holdaway and Mark Forge did well to see off the threat through dour defence such that the score was 10-0 after the first ten overs.
The partnership then picked up the pace as Pete started to use his feet to the slower bowlers whilst Mark despatched 3 boundaries through the leg side. Mark fell for 24 with the score on 67 just after drinks but acting skipper Mark Gracey (53 not out) continued the acceleration and when Pete departed for 30 found a willing ally in Jordan Allen (44 not out).
Jordan found his timing quickly and played one glorious shot straight for four as well has hitting a big six to one of the longer boundaries. Gracey meanwhile used good hand/eye coordination to play several good shots through the covers. At the close the partnership was unbeaten having added 87 in 12 overs or so despite a long rain interruption during which tea was taken. Barrow’s total of 185-2 was competitive but a good bowling and fielding effort was going to be needed to win.
Mells started out very positively and put Barrow on the back foot putting on over 50 for the first wicket in under 10 overs. Mike Lilley, having unusually struggled to find his line and length, finally struck getting the dangerous Watts for 44 thanks to a juggling catch by Grant Ashley. The door having been opened, Steve Owen came on to bowl a decisive spell, starting by having the other opener caught behind by Jordan Allen, the first of four (for 29) before Jordan (2/20) dispensed with the gauntlets to join the bowling attack. This not only unveiled the keeping talents of Jordan’s dad Steve, but also brought immediate success as he induced a false shot gleefully pouched by his skipper and then a top edged pull which brought an unlikely catch from Mark Forge taking it over his shoulder running back behind the square leg umpire. Peter Rooney had waited a long time to get into the attack but came on to take the last two wickets for 10, with Paul Gard taking a nonchalant one handed catch to finish proceedings.
The win keeps the 2nds in touch with the pack in their division as they visit fellow strugglers Coalpit Heath next week.