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.

Barrow Face The Lions In Season Opener

As the Bristol & District League fixtures were recently published, Barrow Gurney found themselves facing last season’s Division 5 winners Bristol Lions in a tough start for the 1st XI under their new captain Frank Forge. At least they can look forward to starting the season at home at Hobbs Lane.

Meanwhile Mike Lilley’s 2nd XI face a trip to Bedminster 5ths to start their campaign in Division 13.

With pre-season nets scheduled to start in less than 2 months time (March 3rd) at Merchants Academy, it will soon be time to dust off the kit and look forward to the summer ahead.


Barrow Mixes Youth & Experience As Captaincy Teams Are Announced

Barrow Gurney Cricket Club this week unveiled the captaincy teams for next season and it features a blend of youth and experience.

The young and promising first team are to be captained by off-spinner Frank Forge, last season’s player of the year, with the experienced help and support of new vice-captain, and key all-rounder, Ed Holdaway.

The first team have been confirmed in Division 5 of the Bristol & District League where, it has recently been announced, they will play Abbots Leigh 1sts, Almondsbury 2nds, Bath 4ths, Bristol Lions 1sts, Chew Magna 2nds, Chilcompton 1sts, Congresbury 2nds, University of Bristol Staff 1sts and Winterbourne A. Frank and Ed are hoping to build on last year’s strong finish to the season which allowed them the comfort of a mid-table position after some close games went against them earlier in the season.

Meanwhile the 2nd team will be led by medium pacer Mike Lilley with the support of last year’s second highest wicket-taker, Adam Brace, both of whom are regular players in the Division 13 side. Mike, who joined Barrow from Hallen some years ago, is particularly keen to put something back into the club which welcomed him with open arms. They will be hoping to lead the team to a more consistent season supported by greater availability from players.

The 2nds will be playing sides they know well from the last 2 years: Abbots Leigh 2nds, Bedminster 5ths, Carsons & Mangotsfield 2nds, Chilcompton 2nds, Coalpit Heath 3rds, Mells 1sts, Old Park 1sts, Patchway 2nds and Thornbury 4ths.

Mark Forge is to continue for another season as Sunday 3rd team captain with the help of the much younger Oscar Livesey in the North Somerset Division 4 whose fixtures were published on the BGCC website a few weeks ago.

With the new team on board we look forward to the coming season and wish our new captains and vice-captains good luck!

Vote For Barrow’s Personality Of 2018

Last year BGCC website followers voted that James Riley was the club’s “Personality of the Year”, who will follow him by winning this year’s online poll. Why not case your vote for one of this year’s 6 contenders?

Adam Brace was the club’s second highest wicket taker in the season with 35. Often playing both Saturday and Sunday, Adam was reliable in keeping the batsman under pressure and getting a bit of nip off the pitch. He was often deadly when he first changed to round the wicket and surprised the batsman with the change of angle. With the bat he contributed some vital lower-order runs, getting the 2nd XI over the line in at least one very close game. Famed for using all parts of his body to field the ball, he ended the season with a vast collection of bruises. Who can forget the memorable moment when he emerged, half dressed, from behind the sightscreen to field the ball at Blagdon?

 Frank Forge was the 1st team player of the year after finishing the season with two five wicket hauls, ending the season as top wicket taker in all cricket. He had a memorable duel with Torquay’s overseas player whist on tour, finding some new variations of flight and guile and withstood an attempted onslaught to eventually get his man. Although limited in opportunity with the bat in the firsts, on Sundays and in the T20 games he showed some flair with the bat as his season became fixated on hitting his first genuine 6. He tried very hard, hitting the boards on the half volley a few times, and came quite close with a ramp shot on tour (played without a helmet), but he ended up having to be satisfied with a seasons average of 25 instead.

Guy Fisher was the club’s top run-scorer in the year. Making his first hundred on a Sunday he was reluctant to retire and came off after his captain’s insistence with the demeanour of a man who had been out first ball. His second hundred though was not far behind and with some other enjoyable knocks he showed what a clean striker of the ball he can be. 719 runs at over 37 per innings was a great return and was complemented by his new incarnation as a leg-spinner which showed some promise. Top of list of catchers with 11, he would be the first to admit that he dropped just as many!

Ali Hood professed that he hadn’t enjoyed cricket as much for years, as he experience a new lease of life in the 2nds after many years in the firsts. With 2 hundreds and 3 fifties, he averaged well over 50 in the 2ndXI games and was extremely severe on any loose bowling, finding that it was fairly common in Division 13! For much of the season he found himself with the wicket keeping gloves too, withstanding a challenge from the team vice-captain when, having arrived late, he won a memorable argument on the field in front of two rather bemused batsmen. He had a rather thin tour, but a memorable one, batting in flip flops when called into to bat in the last over, before a captain’s innings at Shobrooke Park when he attempted a scoop first ball, hit himself in the face and retired hurt!

Ed Holdway played more games for Barrow than he had in recent seasons and it was good to see him back as he became a key allrounder in the firsts. His hundred against Bristol was a joy to watch showing great responsibility in digging the team out of a crisis before opening his shoulders and clearing the ropes several times. His overall stike rate of almost a run a ball in the season showed how fluent he was with the bat. As well as averaging 38 with the bat he took 18 wickets for the firsts including a memorable spell bowling in tandem with James Riley as they ran through the Bristol Civil Service side. Ed was a key figure in keeping up the morale of the team after a series of defeats and helping his skipper in shepherding the young team.

 Rod Reeves had a typically niggardly season with the bat proving extremely hard to dismiss on Sundays. He perhaps played the most important single figure innings of the season at Harptree, when on a wicket with no bounce at all he batted 20 overs or so for his 8 not out, sometimes without glasses, gloves or other protection! The result was a win by 1 wicket in a low-scoring game. He was delighted to score his first half century for several seasons at the end of the season. His fielding, as always, belied his 70 + years, and one catch he took on the boundary in a 2nd XI game would have been caught by no-one else in the team! His season will always be remembered for the trouser malfunction whilst batting at Bath Exiles which resulted in them being at half-mast by the time he had completed a run. Rod endured many difficulties and frustrations but still managed to organise yet another successful cricket tour.

Sunday XI On The Road For First Game of 2019

Barrow’s Sunday 3rd XI will start the 2019 season  by playing Kilmersdon away at the Peasedown St John ground on 5th May, hoping to improve on their poor batting performance there last season. Lympsham & Belvedere are the first Sunday visitors to Hobbs Lane on the following weekend. For the full fixture list recently published by the North Somerset Conference click the menu.

News is currently awaiting of the Bristol & District Fixtures.

Tour Diary – Against All Odds The Tour Goes Ahead And Barrow Start With A Win!

To continue our attempt to cast off the winter cricketing blues, BGCC website recalls our summer tour with the first part of our tour diary:

Leading up to the beginning of August, there were doubts as to whether the famous Barrow Gurney Cricket Tour would take place at all. The hotel had cancelled on us, one set of opponents were unable to put out a team and of course there were the perennial worries about whether we would have enough players. All of this proved quite a test for the normally phlegmatic Rod, our tour organiser, who also feared the magnificent weather of the summer would suddenly turn and we would get rained off.

But on a pleasant Monday morning we set off, first stop Wetherspoons in Nailsea for breakfast and to sort out car space for kit and passengers. Whilst sampling the delights of the full English, the non-drivers started early on the amber nectar before we had to digest the news that the day’s opponents, Abbotskerswell, were unable to play the scheduled 40 over game due to player availability. With extra time suddenly on our hands it was decided that we would go and check out the hotel, the last minute find after last year’s accommodation cancelled on us.

On arrival in Torquay we were welcomed or rather pounced upon by a rather enthusiastic son of the proprietor to show me where (and how) to park in the rather awkwardly shaped car park. 15 minutes of the car parking sensors wailing, my wing mirrors indicating certain collision with a wall, and several blood pressure tablets later, the young man happily pronounced I was parked to his satisfaction. Somewhat shakily I approached reception to receive the check in protocol and a guided tour with a list of a few “dos” and a lot more “don’ts”. The proprietor was understandably nervous of accommodating a cricket club of whom he probably knew very little.

At least there was no problem with my single room this year; so no-one would have to suffer the consequences of my snoring! After having settled in we headed off to Abbotskerswell, to find (as always) a warm welcome and some happy hospitality in the wooden pavilion. It took about 5 seconds for the younger Barrow players to head off to the nets, not for practice but to play the traditional “one hand one bounce”, while our chairman and groundsman headed off to inspect the equipment shed with his counterpart.


Phil Milton was captain for the day and winning the toss decided to bat first on a glorious evening. Barrow opened with two of their Sri Lankan “guest” players Hashan and Roshan. It was Hashan who immediately caught the eye playing a stylish innings and was relatively untroubled as he made his half century, with home-grown Guy Fisher continuing his good form of late falling just shy of a 50 himself. Barrow put on a competitive 159-4 in their 20 overs.


In reply Abbotskerswell opener Connor Adams also made a half century whilst overseas player Ricky, a modern-day version of the great Richie Richardson treated us to some languid stroke play in his floppy sunhat just like the great man. Abbotskersell however never recovered from a slow start against some accurate bowling by Mark Fisher and Hashan in particular and when they tried to accelerate, they lost key wickets as Oscar Livesey took 2/19.  Barrow ran out the winners by 16 runs. By which time the barbecue was all fired up and we decided to stay and enjoy it whilst the sun set on day one of the tour.

Then we repaired to the hotel for a few drinks out on the terrace where the cooler night air was very welcome after such a hot day. The fact that we were able to stay chatting well beyond curfew began to suggest that the hotel rules were a little more flexible then we first thought, although I was not brave enough to attempt the car park again, preferring a bit of a walk!

After we had all run out of banter and the “in-jokes” had been exhausted, the oldies retired to bed whilst the younger members of the party headed off to Torquay’s only night spot where reports suggest a good time was had by all and one member of the party brushed up on his French conversation.  



Looking Back At Cricket Tour 2018

Over the coming weeks, BGCC’s website will be looking back at yet another successful Cricket Tour to Devon. As the weather gets colder and our cricketers go into hibernation or turn to other sports, reminders of the summer just gone will help keep out those winter chills!

We start today by publishing a selection of photos taken during the tour. Just click the Photos link on the main menu and enjoy!

Barrow Members Invited To AGM Next Sunday

Barrow Gurney CC will hold its AGM next Sunday 11th November at The Angel Inn, Long Ashton. The meeting, which begins at 7.30pm, is a chance for all members of the club to have their say over the how it is developing and growing and to appoint the committee and captains/vice captains for next season.

It is also a chance for players and supporters to find out what ground and pavilion improvements are taking place over the winter, and to recall some of the highlights of last summer’s play.

A full report of the meeting will be featured on this website next week.

2018 Review – Lots Of Promise But Some Missed Opportunities

2018 First Team Captain Phil Milton reflects on the 2018 season:

Barrow Gurney CC 1st XI began the season away to Bath 4’s and started with a fantastic win thanks to the late hitting of Matt Owen taking us to 237-9, Oscar Livesey then was the pick of the bowlers picking up 4 wickets giving us our first win of the season, Unfortunately we then went on a poor run losing to Bristol 3’s, Bristol Lions, PR Royals and Bedminster 3’s in successive weeks. Despite playing much better against Shirehampton we unfortunately lost on the last ball when we had the match seemingly won, the captain missing a run out to win the game for us from the penultimate ball!

However, we then went on a winning run defeating Woodpeckers, Bristol Civil Service and Abbotts Leigh, all in convincing victories, with notable performance from Mark Brown 50 and 94, Ed Holdaway 78 and 5-18 and James Riley 5-15. At that point we were probably safe in the league and began to look up rather than down.

Unfortunately, we then went on another losing run as we slipped to defeat against Bath (a game we should have won), to Lions (who we could have beaten but for an important dropped catch), PR Royals (who we would have beaten if it wasn’t for the rain) and Bristol (despite a brilliant 112 from Ed).

The final part of the season ended in abandonment against Shirehampton due to the rain, a cancellation to Woodpeckers due to their lack of players before convincing victories against Bristol Civil Service and Abbotts Leigh (that contained back to back 5 wicket hauls for Frank Forge and a 76 for Skipper Phil Milton) finished the season on a high.

A 6th placed finish for Barrow was probably about right considering the team’s inconsistency but it could easily have been 4th, even 3rd, if we had got over the line in a few of the close games and had taken our catches. This was an extremely positive season in so many ways with so many young players making their mark on games, often in winning causes. The average age of the team in the low 20’s with the Skipper often being the oldest player in the team by nearly 10 years! It’ll be important next year to build upon this increasing experience and keep the improvements going.

1st team player of the year this year was Frank Forge for his 21 wickets, including 2 5fers. His cricket has come on again this year including his fielding. Well done Frank.

Finally, I would like to say thank you…. To Pete Holdaway and his team for the superb wickets this season, to all of the Ground Staff for their work on the pavilion and ground, to Jane Holdaway and Debbie Forge for the assistance with scoring, to Mark Forge for umpiring, to Ellie Holdaway and Mark Gracey for allowing me to take your players from the 2nd team far too often and to everyone for supporting and playing. 26 players were used this season including 1st team debutant Leo Brace which is fantastic in many ways but undoubtably it would benefit both the 1st and 2nd team if availability was better and players available more consistently.

Stats – 1st XI League games 2018

Runs: Phil Milton (320), Ed Holdaway (266), James Riley (225) and Guy Fisher (219)
Wickets: James Riley (25), Frank Forge (21), Ed Holdaway (18) and Mark Fisher (17)