Rod Rolls Back The Years As Barrow Win Final Friendly

As Barrow Gurney played their last game of the season against a sporting Axbridge team, it was veteran player, Rod Reeves who enjoyed the late summer sunshine making his first half century since 2010 to set up a Barrow win.

 

Winning the toss, Barrow skipper, Mark Forge, chose to bat. This brought about a rare and confusing situation as Barrow opener Ali Hood had to face the Axbridge opening bowler who had the same name. After some confusion with the scorers, this 12 a side game got underway. Inevitably Ali was dismissed by his namesake for 9 whilst fellow opener, Kieran Owen, held down an end with steadfast defence. With the left-hander James Riley scoring freely at the other end (making 52 before retiring) the score moved into the nineties before Barrow suffered a middle order collapse. Kieran finally went for a dour 14, Stephen Webb and Leo Brace then failed to trouble the scorers and suddenly Barrow were 107 for 5 with Riley due to retire at 50. Then Rod entered the fray with his familiar mannerisms, adjusting the pad, changing the glove, adjusting his dress etc. Although there were plenty of the familiar shots behind square on both sides, Rod also played positively around the wicket, with one shot over mid on being both impressive and out of character. He found some support in the lower order from Frank Forge (21) and Nick Heal (25), with Frank tantalising the crowd with yet another attempt to hit his first ever 6. A lofted on drive seemed to have achieved the milestone but it landed a few inches short to the delight of the Barrow umpire! It was Nick who was to hit the only 6 of the innings, a fact which he did not fail to confer to Frank as Barrow headed towards a total of 238 in their 40 overs. Rod remained undefeated on 50 when he retired – only 21 short of his age!.

In reply, Axbridge lost an early wicket as Adam Brace carried out an amazing swallow-dive to dismiss the opener, hanging in the air for what seemed like an eternity before pouching the return catch. Adam, searching for the opportunity to overtake Frank Forge, to be the club’s highest wicket-taker, suffered a foot problem and had to retire to the pavilion missing out on several overs. With Nick Heal bowling his newly fashioned off spin (4-2-7-2) dismissing the other opener and No 3, Barrow looked to have the upper hand. This was reinforced as Kieran Owen had a 4 over burst taking 4/12, and then the off-spin of Phil Milton took 2/11. With the tail in and several runs still needed, Mark Forge bowled his loopy leg spin taking his first wicket for some years and Stephen Webb, in his first bowling spell for Barrow, then finished off proceedings to give Barrow a 72 run in an enjoyable and sociable game.

 

As the sun set on another season, and with only the double wicket competition to look forward to next Sunday, both teams resolved to try and play each other again next season.

Barrow End Season With Hat Trick Of Wins

Barrow Gurney finished the league season in style as all three teams recorded wins last weekend.

Visiting Abbots Leigh Barrow Firsts won the toss and batted, but soon found the pitch very difficult to bat on as the odd ball popped and several kept low. Losing a couple of early wickets and another to an unfortunate run out, only a captain’s innings of 76 by Phil Milton gave Barrow a score to defend. 3 enormous sixes clearing the changing rooms and pavilion were the highlight as wickets fell regularly at the other end as no one else scored more than 13. The innings was interrupted by a dreadful injury to an Abbots Leigh player who was struck on the jaw by a fielder’s throw and he had to be taken to A&E.

Barrow’s score of 156 all out started to look better as the home side lost early wickets. James Riley caught one off his own bowling to another that held up in the surface, whilst Matt Owen bowled a really effective spell of 9 overs 2/28 taking out the other opener and number 3 batsman.

Then Frank Forge came into the attack fresh from his 5 wicket haul last week. He was soon into his work bowling the dangerous Holdsworth with one which turned to take the top of off stump. With sister Bernie taking 2 catches, one from an edge and one from a skied shot, and Will Kerswell taking a brilliant one-handed slip catch, another 5 looked on the cards. A good catch in the deep by Ed Holdaway left Frank with 9 overs 5/20 bettering his figures of the week before and leaving the home side on the brink of defeat. With one player absent in hospital, the final wicket fought valiantly but eventually Ed trapped the batsman LBW to force a Barrow win by 49 runs. Barrow finished 6th in Division 5 of the Bristol & District League only one point adrift of Abbots Leigh.

 

Meanwhile at Hobbs Lane Barrow 2s were involved in a close contest with old friends Patchway 2s. Patchway put on a par score of 201-6 with Paul Thompson hitting 65. Skipper Ellie Holdaway who has had a good year with the bat, finally found her bowling boots to take 4/27.

In reply Barrow survived the unfortunate run out of their captain as Ali Hood (58) and Roger Finnemore (45) took the team to a commanding position. As so often though a middle order collapse left the situation in the balance until Adam Brace came in to steady the ship making a vital 32 not out to lead the team to victory by 3 wickets. This left the team 7th in Division 13 with 6 wins in their 18 matches.

 

The Sunday 3rd XI’s last game of the season against Carsons Mangotsfield took place on a warm, sticky afternoon.

Despite losing the toss, skipper Mark Forge got his wish and batted. The first 5 overs saw no score whatsoever against some accurate and skiddy bowling. The monotony was broken as Barrow’s captain was defeated by a slower ball yorker bringing Colin Fletcher to the crease who looked to continue his form of last week and seemed to get Mark Gracey moving too, before being caught at short cover for 5. Bernie Forge defended resolutely failing to score in a 32 run partnership as Gracey suddenly found some sweet timing and began to stroke the ball around finding the boundary several times but he was next to go when he was bowled for a top score of 36. Kieran Owen then took up the blocking role as Bernie cover drove a boundary before advancing to a pace bowler and despatching him over mid-wicket but another sharp catch at short cover left Barrow 60-4. Jonny Sykes did not really get going and chipped a catch back to the bowler and Simon Hudson was well caught in the outfield.

Kieran fell for 14, before an important partnership between Nick Heal and Leo Brace moved Barrow towards a total which just might be defendable. Nick (21) mixed dour defence and powerful blows whilst Leo scampered the runs and played a couple of pleasing off side shots of his own. A lofted ball into the outfield resulted in two fielders colliding leaving one rather injured. As Adam Brace strode in with 2 balls to go, he decided to play himself in by defending the first, before thrashing the next to the straight boundary to bring up a total of 146.

After tea and catching up on events at Southampton, Ashton Gate and various other places, Barrow knew that they had to bowl well.

With Melissa Owen bowling well from one end, Simon Hudson bowled an excellent 5 over spell removing one opener for only 12 runs. Barrow were then given a real boost as Jonny Sykes pounced on a push into the covers to flatten the middle stump and run out Mark Pitt by a couple of yards. This was closely followed by an incident which was both extraordinary and heart-warming at the same time. The ball came off Magg’s pad on the leg side and the batsmen went for a quick single, Bernie Forge threw off her keeping glove and threw down the stumps at the bowler’s end. The umpire was in no position at all to give a decision and having appeared to have been given not out the Barrow team started back to their fielding positions to find that Mr Maggs had walked knowing he had not grounded his bat. Such commendable sportsmanship is what cricket should be about.

Nick Heal  was now into a good spell (2/20) giving nothing away and finding some turn, his quicker ball caused everyone problems as the low bounce caused it to fizz away off the pitch and he benefitted from Gracey taking a steepling catch. At the other end Kieran Owen induced a top edge which Bernie pouched before McGowan came to the crease. His innings consisted of 4,6,4, bowled. Beautiful while it lasted but thankfully (for Barrow) brief and Kieran did well to keep the ball up to him to rattle the timbers.

Jonny Sykes replaced Kieran and bowled with pace for 5 overs and off spin for his last 3 taking 2/17, but Carsons were edging perilously close to Barrow’s total. Barrow’s skipper persuaded the limping Adam Brace  to have one last spell needing his accuracy to keep things tight as they pressed for the final wicket. The injured fielder came in at 11 and was intent on getting the runs quickly and with the added fun of a runner to add to the tension, the home side got themselves within a boundary of victory before Adam bowled the wounded batter to seal an exciting win, a clean sweep for the Barrow teams this weekend and a wonderful end to the league season.

The Sunday XI finish tied 8th (out of 14) in their division of the North Somerset League with 5 wins, a walkover and 8 losses, more importantly the team has tried to make sure everyone gets to take part.

 

 

Five Wicket Present For Frank As Firsts Win, Whilst Seconds Hold Their Nerve

After the abandonment against Shirehampton due to rain and Woodpeckers conceding last weeks match the 1st team were definitely safe in Division 5 and were now looking for a mid-table finish.  Playing Bristol Civil Service, who Barrow had bowled out earlier in the season for 47, the team were confident of repeating the trick, even more so when Phil Milton won the toss and put the opposition in. James Riley and Mark Fisher opened the bowling, Riley picking up the opener with BCS on 34.  

After the first bowling change with Matt Owen and Frank Forge coming on, wickets fell regularly.  Matt bowled his best spell of the season and finished with 2 wickets (for 22 runs); it could have been a couple more as two chances went astray in the slips; one a drop, the other when both slips left it to one another! Frank bowled well and picked up his first 5 wicket haul (5/35) to celebrate his 21st birthday weekend, and BCS were rushed out for just 116 in 27.5 overs. A mention must go to Jonny Sykes for his spectacular one handed catch at gully that he grabbed high above his head.

Bernie Forge and Will Kerswell went out to bat early due to the opposition’s short innings and set about batting the 15 overs without losing any early wickets. Unfortunately Will went for 10 but Bernie and Guy Fisher batted really well putting Barrow on 65-1 at tea.  Unfortunately Bernie fell just after the break for a well-made 46 with the score on 83 but Phil and Guy saw it home, Guy finishing 43 not out having played sensibly before opening his shoulders to play a couple of more expansive shots to get Barrow over the line.

A win next week over Abbotts Leigh will see Barrow finish in 5th which, Phil Milton commented, “would be brilliant for this very young team (I was the oldest player by 11 years yesterday!).  With 5 wins, a walk-over, 1 loss on run rate and 2 losses in the last over we could have finished even higher but I’ll happily take 5th this year”.

Meanwhile at Pucklechurch, Barrow 2nds were involved in a high-scoring and exciting contest where the bat dominated the ball for long periods of both innings.

 

Put into bat, Barrow survived an early wicket before captain Ellie Holdaway (52) and Ali Hood (84) but on 135 for the second wicket against some eclectic bowling. Ellie’s timing was immaculate as she despatched the frequent bad balls and was quick to rotate the strike, whereas Ali enjoyed several full tosses finding the long boundary 15 times hitting several onto the adjoining road with one enormous 6 into a nearby garden. With Barrow having passed 150 shortly after drinks a score of 300 looked on the cards, but the scoring slowed dramatically as Pucklechurch’s bowlers found some line and length and the middle order fell away with the exception of Paul Gard (32) who hit the shot of the day – a clean straight 6 which landed flush on Ellie’s helmet (fortunately it was in her cricket bag at the time).

When the 7th wicket fell at 210 it looked like Barrow were going to struggle to post much more than a par score, but some sensible lower order batting taking advantage of quick singles, and batting time to take advantage of the accruing extras (of which there were 39 in all) managed to get the team up to 251-9 at tea.

On starting their innings, Pucklechurch made solid progress until Mike Lilley (2/15) struck to remove both openers and when the number 3 was picked up courtesy of an excellent one-handed catch by keeper Ali Hood off Steve Owen, it looked plain sailing for Barrow. Mark Wynter (42) though put together a very positive innings and in partnership with Andy Frankcom the scoring rate began to move above 4 an over. After Wynter fell to Paul Gard, Frankcom found good support in Ian Carter and the pair moved the score to 208 before Steve Owen (2/55) returned to bowl Carter (for 43) and take surely the decisive wicket. Pucklechurch needed 13 an over at this stage, but Frankcom put pressure on the Barrow bowlers and fielders to keep them in with a shout and when he despatched the first couple of balls of the final over for boundaries an unlikely win was very much on the cards. With 4 needed to tie off the last ball, Frankcom could manage only 2 to deep midwicket and Barrow ran out winners by 2 runs in the fading light.

The 2nds last game is at home to Patchway 2nds next Saturday.

Heavy rain cancelled the Sunday game V Keynsham, but the 3rds conclude their season at Carsons Mangotsfield next week.

 

 

Seconds Safe & Sunday Success For Barrow

With only 3 weeks to go of the league season, Barrow Firsts are comfortably mid-table of Bristol & District Division 5 after their opposition (Woodpeckers) conceded on Saturday.

 

At Hobbs Lane though Barrow were fighting for survival in Division 13 in a game against Coalpit Heath 3rd XI. Put into bat, a makeshift Barrow team did surprisingly well as Pete Holdaway found some form playing a classy innings of 63. Pete seemed unusually aggressive and added some powerful drives to his trademark cuts and pulls. One strike over mid off for six will last long in the memory. Pete found some support from Roger Finnimore (21) before skipper Mark Gracey joined the fray, Mark making 53 not out as the bowling often fed his leg side shots. Stranded for a long time on 49, debutant Jerry Sanders suffered being run out without facing a ball as Mark sought his half century. Barrow though had had a slow start and 185-6 seemed a little short of par on the quick scoring ground.

In reply Coalpit Heath suffered a scare, being reduced to 9-2 as Pete Rooney and Paul Gard took early wickets.  Pete soon took another before Mark Baldwin started to build an innings. With 3 wickets down and Baldwin nearing his half century, Nick Heal came into the attack to find some prodigious turn for his off spin taking a couple of wickets for 52 runs, but the fall of the 5th wicket seemed to galvanise Baldwin who accelerated rapidly to a chance-less century. Richard Hierons, also making his debut, having taken a good catch earlier was unlucky with a close LBW decision from the home (Barrow) umpire but there were few other scares as Coalpit Heath ran out the winners.

As the teams came off the ground, news reached them that Pucklechurch 2nds had conceded their game meaning Barrow were safe from relegation with 2 games to go.

At Blagdon on Sunday the game began in unexpected sunshine, the pitch looked a little green but the prospect of facing either the sun behind the bowler’s arm late on or the gloom of a cloudy evening suggested it was better to bat first. So, on winning the toss, skipper Mark Forge chose accordingly.

Opening up with Frank Forge and Connor Jones hoping to get a good start did not work as planned as Frank (after 2 delightful boundaries) was the first to experience that this pitch was much slower than expected and chipped up a catch to midwicket. When Connor creamed one to mid on and ran an ambitious single making only 90% of it before the fielder threw down the stumps at the bowler’s end, Barrow were struggling at 20-2.

Then followed, what turned out to be, the key partnership of the match as Colin Fletcher returned to the Barrow fold after 5 or so years to bat alongside Bernie Forge who he had probably never seen play before. At first there was some suspect running, and an occasional lucky shot. Fletch played lots of good shots but without fail seemed to hit the fielder. After 11 overs Barrow were on 25 and only 12 of those had been scored in the previous 8 overs. Bernie then started to find the boundary with some powerful shots and Fletch began to do the same. When Bernie failed to clear mid off the partnership had put on 67, Bernie making 26 of them. As all the batsmen struggled on the rather slow, dead pitch Rob Figuereido, also making a welcome return, added a useful 15 as Fletch finally succumbed for a really well-played 43. The tail then set out in search of a competitive score but apart from 13 from Nick Heal were disappointing in their efforts. 153 all out in the last over looked at least 30 lite of a good score but you can never tell until both teams bat can you?

After an enjoyable tea, Barrow opened the bowling with the pace and swing of Connor Jones at one end and the spin of Frank Forge at the other.

Well Connor showed just how much Barrow have missed him over the last few weeks bowling with genuine swing and pace and he soon accounted for one opener caught well at square leg by Ben Thorne before clean bowling the Blagdon skipper. Then Nick Heal took a brilliant catch at point to give Connor his 3rd wicket (for only 17) and with Frank being unlucky but accurate at the other end, Blagdon were 25-3.

Lyons then started to play some powerful shots and the total passed 50 well ahead of the required rate, but as Adam Brace came on and began to stifle the scoring rate (5 overs for 5 runs) a quick single attempt to Ben Thorne resulted in a quick throw to Bernie Forge to leave Blagdon 4 down. By this time Rob Figuereido was now bowling his off cutters to good effect, still finding some of that old pace with his quicker ball and when he dismissed Lyons for 42, he then ripped through the middle order taking 3/19.

Drinks were taken at 78-7, and Leo Brace and Nick Heal then came on with their different styles of off spin. Nick taking 1/5 and Leo (2/22) withstanding the brief resistance of a young Blagdon player who batted very well for 13, before finishing the innings off for 105.

Barrow ran out winners by 48 runs after a barren few weeks. It was a good team performance with some excellent bowling and fielding and the better batting on a difficult pitch.

 

 

Here Comes The Rain Again!

Heavy rain ruined the weekend’s cricket for many clubs, and it was no exception for Barrow Gurney.

On Saturday at Hobbs Lane only 23.3 overs were possible before the rain came, during which time Shirehampton 2nds had reached 86-3 with early wickets being taken by James Riley, Matt Owen and Frank Forge.

The seconds meanwhile visited Carsons Mangotsfield and managed to complete their innings at 182-7 with Ali Hood making 63, Mark Gracey 36 and Ellie Holdaway picking up where she left off before a two-month sabbatical with a classy 26. However, the last 10 overs of the innings were completed in persistent drizzle which got heavier as the tea interval approached. Barrow picked up 4 useful batting points which could still be very important in avoiding relegation from Division 13.

The rain continued overnight causing the compete abandonment of the Sunday game against Harptree Villages.

Hoping for better weather next week the Firsts are due to visit Woodpeckers, the Seconds are home to Coalpit Heath 3rds, and the Sunday team are due to visit Blagdon.

Meanwhile adult training takes place on Thursday evenings for the last few weeks of the season.

Holdaway Hundred Highlight Of Barrow’s Weekend

It was a disappointing week for Barrow teams despite a wonderful hundred from Ed Holdaway on Saturday as he dominated the scoring at the Bristol Cricket Club. The seconds’ game was cancelled due to Hambrook being short of players, which was a good result in terms of points but disappointing to those scheduled to play. Sunday saw the 3rds lose to Portishead.

 

Batting first at Bristol 3rds, Barrow lost their first 5 wickets cheaply due to some fine bowling from the Bristol openers and a couple of poor shots. As a low score beckoned Ed Holdaway and James Riley came together and started to rebuild, cautiously at first against some accurate bowling but as the heat told and the attack tired a few loose deliveries were severely punished as Ed in particular took advantage of the short boundaries hitting 6 sixes and 12 fours in an exhibition of clean and sensible hitting finishing on 112. James Riley provided steady support in his knock of 43 taking the score to 228-8 after 45 overs. Much higher than it might have been but still a bit below par.

 

In reply, Bristol lost an early wicket to Ed, but Mike Love made an unbeaten century of his own in a less flamboyant manner to move Bristol inexorably towards their target. Frank Forge had the No 3 caught behind but there were few other alarms as the home side won by 8 wickets.

At Portishead on Sunday, Barrow were asked to field and put in one of their best Sunday performances against a talented home team. After some tight opening overs from Mel Owen and Paul Gard, Kieran Owen made the breakthrough (2/37 in all). But it was the brilliant run out of Garrett (71) by keeper Jonny Sykes throwing to the bowlers end and removing one bail which resulted in Portishead losing a succession of wickets as Gard (2/24) and Oscar Livesey (1/34) bowled good spells before Jonny gave up the gloves and had his first bowl for over 2 months, destroying the tail with 3/11 in 4 impressive overs. 180-9 was a modest total and Barrow had done really well to restrict the home side as Barrow’s bowlers found good support in the field from young and old.

In reply, Barrow struggled from the off against a youthful attack with only a 54 partnership between Jonny Sykes (31) and Paul Gard (24) giving some hope that the target might still be achievable but despite late order cameos from Oscar (23) and Rod Reeves (23 not out) Barrow folded to 134 all out.

 

 

Rain Ruins Firsts Chances But Arrives Too Late To Save The Seconds

Rain ruined Barrow Gurney First’s chances of a win against PR Royals, as the heavens opened with Barrow in a strong position but marginally behind the run rate leaving the visitors to Hobbs Lane as victors. Meanwhile at Stanton Drew the rain failed to come quickly enough or for long enough to prevent the seconds losing against a good Whitchurch 3rd XI.

 

After last week’s defeat to top of the table Bristol Lions this week the Firsts faced PR Royals who were second in the table.

With the opposition only having 6 players at the toss PR Royals decided to bat when they won the toss but Barrow began brilliantly with James Riley picking up the opener to first ball of the match and Ed Holdaway also taking one in his first over too. The dangerous number 3 was next to go as Phil Milton took a bullet of a catch to leave the opposition reeling at 22-3. Wickets fell regularly as Phil brought on Mark Fisher (1/35) and Frank Forge (2/45), leaving Royals 81-7 at one point, and Barrow looking at chasing around a hundred second innings. As has been the case several times this season however Barrow then struggled to either contain or take wickets, despite Ed (2/45) and Riley (2/26) coming back on, and a hundred partnership developed before Ed bowled the number 8 for 34 with the Royals now on 153. Their number 9 (Habib) finished on 73* and Royals finished 212 all out in 38.2 overs. A high score considering their position but still short of a par score.

Will Kerswell and Bernie Forge opened up again and were looking good but Bernie was bowled for 18 with the score on 19. Sam Turner, in at 3, and Will took the score to 76 before Will was bowled for 33. However, the heavens then opened with Barrow on 95-2 from 24.1 overs. This left the home side behind the run rate by about 12 runs and despite Barrow being perfectly set going in the last 20 over this counted for nothing as the game was abandoned and they lost on net run rate.

Overall, Phil Milton felt that Barrow had improved their fielding and batting from last week but that the bowling attack needed to be a little smarter about how to bowl to the decent lower order batsmen.

 

The seconds struggled from the word go at the wind-swept Stanton Drew ground against a Whitchurch team competing for promotion.

Put into bat Barrow were soon in trouble losing both openers cheaply and in fact only Ali Hood (47) and Adam Brace (20) made a significant contribution to a disappointing score of 128. Ben Thatcher was the pick of the opposition attack taking 4/12 with some sharp outswing bowling.

In reply Whitchurch were never in trouble as Ben Lloyd anchored the innings with 62 not out. A dropped catch and a rejected appeal for a caught behind cost Barrow a point but overall the team deserved little from a poor performance.

The overnight rain put paid to the Sunday XI game against Lympsham & Belvedere thus being the first senior league game being totally lost to the weather this season.

T20 Season Ends With Misfits Win

It was another sweltering evening at Hobbs Lane for the final T20 game of the season.

The well-supported Misfits team arrived with several Flax Bourton players and, of course, our very own Pete Rooney. Mark Forge won the toss and decided to bat in order to avoid a potential late evening gloom and also because Barrow were missing one player and another was only arriving as Mark Gracey and his skipper walked out to bat.

It was the familiar left arm swing of Rooney at one end which Mark (F) played with the appropriate respect for one over at least. After 2 overs the score had progressed to 12 runs without either batsman scoring. But Barrow could not rely on the generosity of the Misfits for ever so Mark (F) despatched one to the long leg boundary and followed it up with a deft deflection to third man, before being bowled by a much quicker one with the score on 26. With Gracey holding an end (mainly the non-strikers) it was good to have Connor Jones back in action and he looked in good form having not played much this year. He made 18 quick runs before being bowled as then was Gracey leaving Barrow 63-3 off 10. Paul Barnes hit one nice boundary before being caught in the ring, setting the stage for a rare sibling partnership between Bernie and Frank Forge. Managing to avoid running each other out, Bernie made a quick 19 with another lovely straight six before mistiming another lofted shot.

Simon Hudson (“Bomber” to the Misfits, “Cyborg” to the Barrow players) entered the fray to much good-natured abuse from many of his former Flax teammates. They put on an important 61 in the last 5 overs. Before Simon was out to the last ball of the innings for 15, leaving Frank 37 not out, scored mainly through the leg side and (almost) containing his first ever six as the ball hit the board on the half volley! 145-6 at the close.

Steve Owen had an early success against the opening batsman but then Joyce and Burge began to take the game away from Barrow. Connor Jones was the pick of the bowlers, troubling both batsmen and bowling Joyce for a well-made 48. Burge was to retire on making his fluent 50, but the only other success for Barrow was Adam Brace bowling a bemused looking Shah having appeared to have changed his shot twice with a ball that bounced and dropped onto the bails on its way down. Misfits winning in the penultimate over was well-deserved and only a slightly disappointing way for Barrow to end the T20 season.

The evenings we have had this year have been really enjoyable and well-supported and the club would like to thank everyone who has come up to play or watch. The decision to provide something to eat after the game has been popular and thanks to Dave Milton and Pete & Jane Holdaway for their help in organising that side of things. The additional revenue generated will further help the club’s plans for improving the ground and playing facilities.

 

 

Two Weeks To Go To The BGCC Cricket Tour

As the club looks forward to its annual tour, co-ordinator Rod Reeves is busy making the final arrangements and working out the logistics.

The games against Abbotskerswell, Exmouth, Shobrook Park and Torquay have long been scheduled, but as always it is hard to get everyone to finalise their plans.

Rod has prepared a list of those he has recorded as requiring overnight accommodation which can be found by clicking the link on the main menu for Tour 2018. Please contact Rod as soon as possible if circumstances have changed.

The rooming arrangements are only a guide and of course other players and spectators will be joining us for individual games.

Barrow Scare The Lions – But Are Exiled From Bath

It was an unsuccessful weekend for the Barrow teams but the Firsts can take a lot of credit from giving the unbeaten Bristol Lions a run for their money.

 

The scenic Dunkerton ground had been left derelict for some time before the Bristol Lions took on the project of restoring it. And whilst there is still a lot to be done, they have done an amazing job of preparing the square and getting to grips with some of the brambles which surround the boundary, revealing in some places a babbling brook near which the pavilion stands.

Batting first, the Lions were bowled out for 249 due to some good bowling from James Riley (2/37) Ed Holdaway (3/43) and Mark Fisher (2/28). Paul Glazzard bowled an excellent spell of off spin too, varying flight and pace and his 9 overs 1/40 did not really reflect how well he bowled. Unfortunately this was another game where Barrow’s tendency to drop catches at key moments told heavily as former Barrow player Suresh de Alwis was generously given a life from a regulation catch at long on before he had scored, and then proceeded to punish his former teammates with shots to all parts making 80.

In reply Barrow started positively as Bernie Forge and Will Kerswell (36) found the boundary several times from any overpitched or leg-side deliveries. When Bernie fell for 27 the middle order fell away with one or two extravagant shots and a needless run out in the face of some solid ground fielding on an uneven outfield.

Then Barrow staged a fight back as Riley (46) and Mark Fisher (37) forged a solid partnership whilst keep the score moving at the required rate. After Mark fell to Alwis, who after keeping wicket was now turning his hand to bowling,  Nick Heal launched a couple of mighty blows, one of which landed in the adjacent river before leaving the way for the last wicket pair to provide some entertainment. 43 runs were needed off 7 overs as Riley and Frank Forge chanced their arm including running a 3 during which one or other of them might have been run out on each run before going for overthrows. With 26 still needed, the bowler of the day Benura Hitiyamudiyanselage bowled Riley to take his fifth wicket and leave Barrow to content themselves with maximum batting and bowling points.

At Hobbs Lane, the Seconds had one of the strongest sides of the season out, or at least it appeared that way on paper. Winning the toss and batting first, Barrow though found themselves in trouble losing three quick wickets for 19. Ben Skuse (29) and Jordan Allen (19) set about repairing the damage but when they both fell close together leaving Barrow 64-6, the mission turned into batting the overs and setting some sort of target. Paul Gard, continuing his recent form with the bat marshalled the tail making 39, supported by Adam Brace (19) but the final score of 134-9 looked nowhere near enough on the fast scoring Barrow ground. And so it proved as Old Park knocked off the runs in 25 overs with Jamie Hunter 49 not out at the close. Simon Hudson and Gard took the only two wickets to fall. 

On Sunday another burning hot day greeted the Sunday team as they ventured to Bath Exiles ground up on Lansdown.

The outfield, like so many was brown and hard with barely a tinge of green, the pitch was the same without the green tinge. Barrow won the toss and decided to bat. On a pitch offering tennis-ball type bounce, the opening partnership of Mark Forge and Guy Fisher put on 37 as Guy continued his imperious Sunday form, before Mark fell to a catch of a leading edge. After hitting a lovely 6 to add to his 8 fours, Guy got one which popped and was caught and bowled. Ben Thorne quickly followed to one which skidded rather than bounced leaving Barrow struggling at 59-3.  James Riley was joined by Leo Brace who after a nervy start hit a couple of clean boundaries but then was not alert to Riley’s call for a quick single and run out. Rod Reeves then joined Riley in an all left-handed partnership of vastly contrasting styles. Riley bustling with energy and looking to be positive whilst Rod treated every ball with extreme caution. The partnership used up a few overs with little addition to the score.

James was bowled for 20 shortly after Rod departed and with Steve Webb being adjudged LBW to one he appeared to have hit, Barrow were struggling to build a total.  It was left to Frank Forge to get the total to 147, aided by a couple of boundaries by Mark Fisher and a good supporting innings from Melissa Owen who, although she did not score, survived 18 balls to allow Frank to make 24 before being last out caught in the deep off a top edge.

In view of the pitch Frank and Adam Brace were the unlikely opening attack bowling with a slip and leg slip or short leg for the one that popped. When Adam (2/18) clean bowled the opener and the opposition skipper in his first couple of overs it looked like game on. Frank (2/22 off 8 overs) was bowling with accuracy and turn and ended the innings of the familiarly bearded figure of O’Callaghan bowling him, before the inevitable catch came off one which leapt off a length leaving Riley diving forward to take the catch 47-4 but with Frank bowled out and Adam needing a breather, it was going to be up to others to press home the advantage.  Guy’s leg spin did just that to make the score 60-5 whilst Leo, after a succession of wides in his first over, then kept it very tight at the other end, as did Mel in her couple of overs. But a partnership was brewing between Syed Rivzi and Faizan Asif. Neither was totally comfortable against Guy but they pushed singles, batted time and waited for the full toss to hit.

Mark Fisher ended the partnership by sending Faizan’s middle stump cartwheeling out of the ground but the 67 put on by the pair was decisive. Riley swopped the gloves with Frank to bowl some left arm spin, which soon became quicker and quicker before he floored Syed with one that popped up but there were no other dramas as Bath Exiles recorded their first win of the season.