Barrow Teams Compete Well But Just Fall Short In League Openers

As Barrow Gurney’s league cricket season began, the club’s three teams enjoyed some batting successes but were on the losing side of highly competitive matches. On Saturday, it was Barrow’s women cricketers who really excelled with the bat as Bernie Forge hit 73 for the Firsts and Ellie Holdaway 48 in the Seconds, both being the top-scorers for their teams.

At Hobbs Lane, Barrow’s First XI, captained by young Frank Forge, featured some new faces, and they were playing last year’s Bristol & District Division 5 winners, Bristol Lions. On winning the toss, the Lions chose to bat first, But the new skipper was faced with an immediate problem when vice-captain, Ed Holdway,  arrived to say he couldn’t bowl because of a go-karting accident leaving Barrow with only 2 seamers for the day but a rather unusual amount of off spinners.

Mark Fisher took 3/45 as he led the Barrow Gurney attack

The pace of Mark Fisher and the off spin of the new skipper opened the bowling and kept things tight to start with. Eventually the wicket came with a genuine edge to slip and a good low catch from the injured Ed. Mark then took a good catch at long off moving to his left off Frank which meant that after about 10 overs the Lions were roughly 30-2. Barrow looked alive in the field and well on top at this stage. At drinks with the score being about 100-2, and with a few chances gone begging, saw former Barrow player Alwis getting into his stride. Despite good fight from the bowlers on a great track, the Lions pushed on and Barrow were struggling to help their bowlers by not fielding to the best of their abilities. There were some highlights in the field however including, barely moving Ed, taking a high catch in the most casual manner and Guy Fisher getting a run out at short third man. Barrow managed to finish well with Mark picking up a few well-deserved wickets (3/45) and Phil Milton (2/24), replacing Jonny Sykes, who sustained an injury whilst bowling, who proved to be a canny death bowler getting the wicket of Alwis (133), stumped by Bernie, and bowling economically. The Lions finished 295-9 off of 45 so Barrow managed to get 4 bowling points.

Bernie Forge’s 73 was the foundation of Barrow’s reply.

After a stern team talk, Barrow set about chasing the target. Bernie Forge and Phil Milton then put on over 100 for the first wicket, taking what the bowlers gave them while still managing to score at 5 an over. Phil was eventually out for a well-made 34. The batsmen kept fighting on with a good scoring rate,  Bernie the pick of them eventually out for a brilliant 73 and  a maiden 50 in the First XI. Debutant (and former Lions’ player) Benura Umanga  hit a very quick 39 and looked as if he was up for the challenge of winning the game for Barrow until a very unlucky run out where he slipped while trying to make his ground. Guy Fisher got a very good Yorker to be bowled and Barrow’s last hope was Mark Fisher who hit a few lusty blows including a straight drive 6 on his way to 30 not out. Barrow needed 10 an over off the last 7 or so but couldn’t quite get over the line due to running out of wickets, Jonny Sykes even heroically hobbling out at No 11!! Finishing 259 all out off of 41 overs was a brilliant effort and selfless batting all the way down the order.

Frank Forge said afterwards: “Overall it was an incredible batting performance from the team and a lot of fight was shown. We just needan improvement in the field and we will win a lot of games if we play as we did.” Barrow took 9 bonus points from the encounter.

Barrow’s Seconds Line Up Against Bedminster

Mike Lilley’s  first game as skipper started off well when he won the toss and inserted Bedminster but after that it proved a tough day for the 2’s at a very chilly and windy Clanage. Paul Gard opened up with the wind behind him, picking up an early wicket and with Pete Rooney doing a sterling job running into the wind, Bedminster were restricted to 40-1 off 10. Unfortunately, that early breakthrough proved to be the only success of the innings as Dave and Owen Peacock put on a father and son partnership of 247 that took the home side to a very imposing score of 285-1 off their 40 overs.

They were assisted by some of Barrow’s bowlers being a little rusty to say the least, Barrow’s less than athletic fielding (Ellie Holdaway aside who was magnificent and  saved Barrow at least 30 runs) and some short boundaries but credit to the Bedminster batters who played very well, and but for a couple of diving efforts by Roger Finnimore and Paul Gard,  their innings were pretty much chanceless.

Ellie Holdway on her way to top-scoring with 48 for Barrow 2nds

Barrow’s reply got off to a flyer with a flurry of boundaries from Ali Hood but Bedminster soon  found their line and length and fielded very well in the ring preventing easy singles,  cutting off the boundary an over Barrow needed to stay in touch. Ali (38) and Roger (6) perished before drinks, the latter to an enthusiastic desire to take a quick single but an unsuccessful attempt to turn around when it was declined leaving him on the deck as the ball returned to the bowler. Ellie Holdaway was then joined by Mark Gracey (31) who played some great shots including a straight six and some unusual shots including one back over the keepers head. It was by now clear that maximum batting points was probably more realistic than a victory and Barrow closed in on this as Ellie was unluckily run out just shy of her half century (48) after a great pick up & throw down from the covers. An Adam Brace boundary and a last ball 4 byes meant that Barrow did get the 5 points by closing on 202-7.

Guy Fisher being congratulated on his 102, following a fine partnership with Ben Thorne (30 not out)

On Sunday the 3rd team visited Peasedown St John to play Kilmersdon. Batting first Guy Fisher survived a couple of chances to make his third century for Barrow, 102 including 2 sixes. He was ably supported by 15-year-old Ben Thorne who made 30 not out – his highest senior score. 189-5 looked a competitive total but a second wicket partnership of 129 between Ashley Davies and Mark Batchelor saw Kilmersdon home with 3 overs to spare.

Temperature Soars But Barrow’s Batting Fails To Ignite

Top Scorer Bernie Forge (39) straight drives

Barrow’s second pre-season friendly was played out in significantly higher temperatures than the previous week, however the batting did not sufficiently warm up as Backwell/Flax Bourton comfortably dominated proceedings.

The match was played in a similar fashion to warm up games on recent England tours with both teams committed to bowling 40 overs against each other irrespective of the number of wickets down or the match result.

Batting first Barrow started well with the opening partnership of Bernie Forge and Guy Fisher playing well against a spirited opening attack, but some middle order set-backs slowed the scoring rate and whilst Bernie struggled with her timing grafted her way to top-score of 39, it was Paul Gard (31) who injected some pace to the innings clearing the ropes a couple of times off the spinners. When he fell the lower order contributed little apart from one glorious lofted straight drive from Isaac Todman.

Paul Gard sweeps on his way to 31.

Batting a second time Ed Holdaway (22) and Guy Fisher took the score to a disappointing 186.

As Flax’s quality players Martin and Flowers both put on unbeaten half centuries, with Martin in particular looking in excellent early season form, it was clear they would easily exceed Barrow’s total. But Frank Forge rotated his bowlers making sure they all got some overs under their belt with Isaac Todman the pick of them with 2/22. Matt Owen, Mark Fisher and Kian Ware all took one a piece and bowled better than their figures suggested against the height of the Flax onslaught. Finally, Frank finished matters off with a couple of wickets in the final over. Flax finished on a genuine 239-7.

All Barrow’s young bowling attack had a good work out.

Next week the final pre-season game against Blagdon at Hobbs Lane, and an opportunity for the Barrow batters, in particular, to get some time at the crease under their belts and adjust to outdoor play after indoor nets.

Kerswell Keeps His Cool In Chilly Start To The Season

Top Scorer Will Kerswell (Left) with Oscar Livesey who announced his departure to Claverham after the match.

The cricket season officially began at Hobbs Lane, with a pre-season friendly against Redcliffe. A warm-up for the season it may have been but it was played in extremely cold conditions despite the spring sunshine, and provided a close game.

Winning the toss, Redcliffe put the home side in. Will Kerswell soon shook off the winter rust playing some classic drives, whist opening partner Pete Holdaway tried to get his feet moving against the slower bowler before finally failing to do so and being bowled. Whilst Kerswell carried on serenely to see Barrow close to a hundred before he fell for 39, unluckily picking out the fielder, his partners at the other end all made double figures but without ever getting in. At 108-5 when Phil Milton departed for 19, and with plenty of overs to go, skipper Mark Forge and Kieran Owen dug in, trying to ensure a competitive total could be posted.

When they were both dismissed in quick succession, it was time for the evocatively named Passidu Eros to make his debut for Barrow. After a couple of “fresh air” shots against a spinner floating the ball into the firm breeze, Passidu found his timing and finding the short straight boundaries at Hobbs Lane much to his liking. His cameo of 32 not out featured 4 sixes and helped to take Barrow to 186-8 at the closure of the innings.

After tea, the opening bowlers for Barrow found it hard to hit their line and length, but Steve Owen (2/14) managed to find a couple of good ones after battling into the freshening wind courtesy of a one-handed keeper’s catch by Phil Milton and an outfield catch to Nick Heal. Nick then took another excellent catch, having appeared to misjudge the flight of the ball completely before stretching back and taking it to give Passidu his first wicket for the club. Two more were to follow as Passidu (3/36) had the best figures on the day despite there being little turn for any of Barrow’s 3 spinners.

It was a masterful innings by James Thrower which turned the match, very powerful and severe on anything short of a length outside off stump he saw his team home with 55 not out. He had good support from Matthew Davies (31) and Kevin Loud (24 not out).

A great work out for both sides who had to pay tribute to an excellent early-season pitch prepared by groundsman Pete Holiday, as hardly a ball misbehaved.

Next Saturday Barrow entertain Backwell/Flax Bourton for another friendly.

Fantasy Cricket – Who Will You Follow In 2019?

With 2 days to go to the start of the cricket season at Hobbs Lane, once again Barrow Gurney is launching a Fantasy Cricket competition so that all members and supporters can get involved in a friendly but competitive way by following all the Barrow teams as they play their way through the 2019 season. All league, friendly and tour fixtures count so identifying who might play and who might not is as important as working out who is good value for money. Whose team will triumph come early September? James Riley and Frank Forge identify some of their “ones to watch” to help you make your selection of players:

Simon Hudson.  “The Cyborg” is inexplicably under priced at a mere £5 million. This amount will give you a man who lives and breathes the sport. A keener bowler I’ve not met and his swashbuckling batting with a swishing Duncan Fearnley is sure to net him even more points. A must buy bargain bowler that you will be happy to have in your squad this year.

Kian Ware at £4M looks like a real steal. Brought to the ‘Bee Gees’ by the Fishers via Congresbury, Kian is keen to make an impression for Barrow. A decent bowler and a quick scoring batsman Kian is an affordable option with a lot of upside and could be a major player in the fantasy market. Another bonus is his fielding with certainly the potential to lead his new club in catches and fielding wickets.

Jon Hood.  This selection could be a real game changer at the all-rounder position. Jon has the potential to score copious amounts of points with his tight bowling that always attacks the stumps, his water tight technique for scoring runs and a safe pair of hands, he could truly score points to rival James Riley if he was still at Barrow this year. The only gamble with this selection is how much will he play. You may need a second player who can stand in for the weeks that Jon is unavailable but overall this could be a brilliant pick for your team in 2019.

At the wicketkeeper position, a really good option could be Ali Hood. Ali has really taken to his new position of opening in the 2’s dominating in the run charts like the Bradman of Division 13. Ali also contributed 7 catches last season which is perhaps surprising due to the calibre of fielding we have seen from him over the years at the Lane. Worth noting however that there are no lost points for drops so if you’re looking for a heavy run scorer who’ll chip in with a few wicketkeeping wickets, look no further than Ali.

Another new player who could be a fantasy sleeper to many of you is Benura. Benura has come to Barrow with great pedigree having played for Bristol Lions. A heavy run scorer and big wicket taker last season, Benura brings the potential of perhaps being the leading fantasy option this season. Though he has an expensive price tag, Benura brings an assurance of being a consistent scorer for any fantasy team. Also a good option to use your triple captain as he has been known to produce a Herculean performance here or there (namely against us last season).

Rod Reeves may seem like a surprise selection but just stop to think. You’ve already got in your first round semi-professional fantasy player, maybe a Frank Forge or even better an Ed Holdaway and your wallet is looking a little light. Who can you rely on to play often yet cost very little? This man is the cornerstone of Sunday cricket for Barrow, similar to AB De Villiers he has his own unique batting style, his own unique fielding style and “please don’t let him bowl” style but the crux of the matter is Rod turns up and delivers. He will score a gritty 23 from 30 overs but that’s 23 more points than you’d get otherwise. You’d struggle to find someone at a cheaper price who will play as much and contribute. A secondary option to this is Steven “Wepl” Webb who for an even cheaper price could show what the crowds have been expecting from him over the last year

To pick your team just click the link on the main menu and register using an email address. Good luck and enjoy the season!

Enjoyable Golf Day Leads To Surprise Winner Amidst Suggestions of Banditry!

Barrow Gurney CC held their spring golf day last week at Thornbury Golf Centre. As the sun (eventually) shone, there was the usual mixture of unbelievable play both good and bad. The overall outcome being met by cries of “bandit” although that was perhaps inevitable.

Despite a promising weather forecast, mist had settled over Thornbury on the morning of Barrow’s spring golf day. As we devoured a bacon roll or two, it lifted slightly but as we were playing the Par 3 course in the morning visibility was not at a premium.

13 players in all including some Barrow’s famous names of yesteryear and some non-cricketing friends assembled for the day’s stableford competition. It was interesting to see the different approaches to the Par 3 course with many favouring lob wedges hit high into the mist and a long wait for the ball to land, whilst your correspondent favoured the chip and run approach whenever possible. (Some might unkindly suggest a few were mishits and they might not have been wrong, but they rather worked!).


After 9 holes the mist cleared and as the sun began to shine so the greens quickened up which caught out a few on the back nine. But those of us favoured by the handicapping committee (organiser Ali Hood) continued to do rather well. As players began to dispense with jumpers and change into shorts over the lunch break the leading scores of the morning read:

            Mark Forge – 41 Points

            Ali Hood – 40 Points

            Gordon Ladd – 39 Points

            Connor Jones – 39 Points

With the lunchtime leader launching one into the trees (never to be seen again) on the first hole of the full course in the afternoon, there was all to play for. But overall scoring proved a lot harder with few playing to their handicaps.

Sam Turner was pleased to win the long drive competition, whilst the nearest the pin went to Simon Scammell who also ended with the highest number of points in the afternoon. The best scores being:

            Simon Scammell – 40 Points

            Mark Forge – 36 Points

            Ali Hood – 35 points

            Jon Hood – 34 Points

Thus your correspondent, having received the leniency of the handicapping committee at lunchtime, recorded an unexpected overall win, grateful for the Stableford format which wiped out a couple of horrendous holes, including 2 balls in the water on the penultimate hole of the day!

Many thanks to Ali for organising and to all who joined us for an enjoyable day, we look forward to the Autumn competition in September.

Barrow To Miss Floral Displays As Roy Retires

Barrow Gurney CC were sad to hear that Roy Hodges was retiring from helping maintain the Hobbs Lane ground.

For many years Roy, (pictured above on the right), has helped with the preparation of the playing area and in recent years has particularly focused on floral arrangements such as the hanging baskets from the pavilion and other floral displays.

Barrow Chairman, Pete Holdaway said that he was sad that Roy had decided to call it a day as his “colourful displays have been the talk of the town for over 10 years at the club!”  But more than that Pete enjoyed his discussions with Roy about Gloucestershire cricket past and present. However, Pete came to realise that his knowledge of Glos CCC was pretty patchy compared to Roy’s in-depth memories, including seeing the great Wally Hammond live at Bristol.

All at Barrow Gurney want to thank Roy (a former Clubman of the Year) for all his hard work over so many years and wish him a happy retirement.  We hope he may still come up and visit us occasionally to watch some play at the ground he loved so much and have a cup of tea with us in the pavilion and tell us some his cricketing memories over the years.

Barrow is lucky to have so many friends and former players who volunteer to keep the facilities at Hobbs Lane up to such a high standard, but as Pete says it is those like Roy “that give to the club and don’t actually play who are, to my mind, the most precious of all”.

Cornwall County Cap Calls For Barrow’s Bernie

Barrow Gurney’s Bernie Forge is looking forward to playing for Cornwall women in the County Championship this summer. Bernie, who has played for Barrow since Under 11s, has previously played for Somerset but, with their agreement, is on loan to Cornwall for the 2019 season. She has been taking part in their winter training programme in Truro for the last few months. She says she now feels “officially Cornish”. But that won’t stop her turning out regularly for her home club, even though at present we can’t offer a women’s team. But she is more than used to holding her own against the men as do Barrow’s other women players who compete on equal terms.

Opening bat and wicketkeeper for Barrow’s first team on Saturdays, Bernie faces some long journeys on Saturday evenings as county fixtures take place on Sundays. Meanwhile in midweek Bernie hopes to continue last season’s form in university cricket where she became the first woman to score a century for Cardiff Met University. It promises to be a busy season and we wish her every success.

Getting Ready To Play Cricket In 2019?

Barrow Gurney’s pre-season nets start this Sunday 3 March at Merchant’s Academy in Bristol and will run every Sunday between 10am and Noon until the 31st.

New players are always welcome, so if you are looking to play cricket this year then why not come along or get in touch via this website or email: Barrowgurneycricket@gmail.com

There are many reasons to join Barrow Gurney Cricket Club but here are just a few:

  • Our lovingly-maintained ground is one of the most picturesque in the area with views over Dundry Hill, the Barrow reservoirs and Long Ashton, also with a wonderful view of Bristol’s famous balloons (who are regular visitors) and the planes arriving at Bristol Airport.
  • We offer 3 weekend teams (2 Saturday, 1 Sunday) and regular T20 friendlies throughout the summer ensuring cricket for everyone of all abilities. Women & girl cricketers are welcome and are a regular feature in all our sides and have their own newly-built changing facilities.
  • Young players (14 and above) are encouraged to play in the senior sides as well as in an Under 15 team which has its own fixtures.
  • Newly refurbished practice facilities and weekly practice sessions.
  • A friendly and welcoming environment for players, families and supporters in the pavilion and bar; with regular social events in the summer months.
  • A small well-run club which makes the most of its limited resources and puts every penny back into improving the facilities available.
  • A safe environment for all in accordance with ECB guidelines.

Winter Warmer – Diary of Barrow’s Summer Tour (Part II)

With cold weather sweeping across Barrow Gurney it is time for the BGCC website to reflect again on warmer times with the second part of our tour diary. Holiday makers in danger, young love shattered in one delivery, a masterclass in batting in flip flops and an unlikely half century made it another day to remember.

Day 2 started with promising signs of a thaw in relationships with our hotel manager, who agreed to opening up for breakfast early so that four of us could go golfing. When we booked we were hoping for a leisurely round of golf on what looked to be a beautiful course, followed by a bite of lunch before heading over to join our friends at the seaside as they toiled away playing Exmouth CC. However plans had already changed before we teed up as Exmouth could not raise a side, however they kindly let us have use of their ground and we had enough players to make two teams with the inclusion of a couple of the late-arriving golfers. So bang went the leisurely lunch but at least we had the golf to look forward to.

However, the ill-luck which had dogged the tour continued as we arrived at the course to hear that some fungus had attacked the greens overnight so we would be playing temporary greens. Disappointed but undeterred we carried on. Having not swung a club in anger for some while, I caught one off the toe on the second which flew high and right, landing on some holiday chalets, much to the amusement of my friends! After that though things settled down as on each hole we played “hunt the green” which was not always possible – we found one flag on a bridge. In fact the golf became a bit of a farce and the full refund we received was well-deserved. I was struck by how similar some of our golf games were to our cricket. After my initial shocking shot, I retreated into my shell, played defensively with irons off the tee and tried to not to get out of each hole by a reckless shot. Ali meanwhile was hitting the ball hard and often out of the ground into trees rather reminiscent of some of his high-scoring knocks of the season! Connor was silky smooth and looked a good player, if he had more time to play and practice he could be very good indeed. (For golf read cricket). Nick however was the slight exception to my theory as he hit many clean struct shots with a fade, whereas he favours a draw when batting.

With 18 unsatisfactory holes done and Connor declared the winner, we headed over to Exmouth to see how things were progressing. On arrival we saw the team captained by Phil Milton batting and Jim Butcher, our friendly No 11 from Blagdon at the crease. Butch had in fact opened the batting and was heading towards his half century which he duly did off only 59 deliveries, exiting the arena to great applause. Jonny and Phil both played good cameos to keep the scoreboard moving. Looking around the field it was clear that there were a few suffering after effects from the night before and they stood out among the fresh faces of those who had come down for the day, including some of our junior players. As Phil’s team headed towards 188-6 off 30 overs, there was a lovely moment when one of our Under15s had to face the bowling of his girlfriend. The tension was palpable, and the pressure immense, but the result strangely inevitable as he was clean bowled to the great amusement of all. Nevertheless, the relationship survived the rest of the season!

In reply, the team skippered by Ellie Holdaway found runs hard to find against the unlikely attack of Mike Lilley and Rod Reeves. Now Mike is a seasoned campaigner and is often hard to get away, but Rod is another story. “Flighted deliveries” does not really describe the height that he was able to get on the ball which landed with a thud out of the stratosphere with ice on it, however it was hard to score off!. If it had not been for the 8 wides, he only conceded 4 runs off his 3 overs. After Frank took a couple of quick wickets and being rewarded by being removed from the attack, Adam, in true languid Gower-esque fashion, began to give his team a chance with 33. The middle order did not really contribute many and despite a couple of late 20s from Riley and Mark Fisher the team had too much to do and fell 30 runs short.

The innings ended with Ali being called (unwillingly) to the crease in the final over. Being totally unprepared he went out in flip flops assuming he would be acting purely as a runner for his partner. However it is not easy to run 2 in inappropriate footwear, so he ended on strike. Without fearing injury, Ali smote the ball for 4! (However the cricketing gods would get their own back on the following day!)

Exmouth is such a lovely ground that it always hard to leave after the game as we enjoyed the views from the balcony while enjoying a drink after the game. Although perhaps not as competitive a game as we had planned, it was really good to see the whole club enjoying the game no matter what team they played in. It was wonderful too to see some of our former players and families come down to make a real day of it.

Back to Torquay in the evening and a meal out at a well-known pub chain where I got a bit of stick by matching a different wine to each of my 3 courses. I like to pretend I am used to fine-dining! As the youngsters headed out for yet another night at Torquay’s solitary night spot, and finding mine host had closed the bar early, it was time to rest ready for last 2 days of tour and dream of making my tour debut this year.

Barrow Seeking New Sponsors For 2019

Barrow Gurney CC are looking for new sponsorship partners for 2019. As a small village cricket club, we rely on the contributions of sponsors and donors to help us to grow and expand. In the last few years we have been able to purchase new net facilities, an electronic scoreboard, refurbish the pavilion and build a new women’s changing room for the growing number of women and girls who are playing in our sides.

Our Hobbs Lane ground affords beautiful views over Dundry Hill and the Ashton Court estate and we often have Bristol’s famous balloons as well as planes arriving at Bristol Airport flying overhead. With 2 Saturday teams, a Sunday team, Juniors and friendlies, and with 2 other cricket teams regularly using our facilities, Hobbs Lane welcomes over 1,000 players, supporters and visitors each year. By sponsoring our club your firm would be showing its support for grass roots cricket at its traditional heart, whilst helping a club which has been playing cricket since 1874 to continue to thrive.

Opportunities exist for sponsors to display their banners around the ground including by the scoreboard, to advertise in our fixture lists, in the pavilion, and on our website,  which has attracted interest from touring teams all over the UK and even from the Netherlands. In addition, sponsorship banners would form the backdrop to the many photos we display on our website for supporters to enjoy.

In 2019 the club intends to purchase new roll-on covers to help guard against the vagaries of the English weather. This opens up an opportunity for a large sponsor to display their name and logo visible from the air as well as to our many visitors.

Why not think about associating your business with Barrow Gurney CC, and, as a sponsor, you would be most welcome to join us for home games, social events and our annual awards evening. Contributions as small as £100 would make a real difference to the club and support us in the next stage of our development and maintaining facilities which are enjoyed by all who visit each summer.

For more information on how to become a sponsorship partner, just use the “contact us” facility on the main menu.