More T20 Fun At Barrow On A Hot Summer Night

The penultimate T20 game of the season took place against a spirited Babcock International team last Wednesday on a balmy summer night..

The game featured some fantastic fielding on both sides, some dashing strokeplay and some dodgy running and was followed by a barbecue kindly provided by the “visitors”, although of course Babcock are not really visitors as they hire our ground for their own inter-departmental games.

Batting first Barrow put on 117-8 in their innings after Mark Fisher (23) got the team off to a good start, a couple of early wickets was then followed by the arrival of Ali Hood, and a couple of runouts (the two events not being entirely coincidental!) soon left Barrow 58-5. Paul Barnes, sporting full Barrow Gurney kit making his debut was delighted to hit both his first run and first boundary before falling to the second run out. When Ali departed for 13 to one of several excellent catches, it looked as though Barrow would not make a competitive score. Bernie Forge (26*) however made sure they did hitting one glorious straight six and was assisted by quick, if brief, contributions by the rest of the lower order.

In reply Dan Garland launched a powerful assault, but Steve Owen did dismiss the other opener for a duck thanks to Oscar Livesey’s contender for catch of the season (a one-handed diving high catch at short-extra which looked a certain four).  Skipper Phil Milton tried 9 bowlers 8 of whom took a wicket, including Ben Thorne who took his first senior wicket courtesy of a stumping by Bernie. Paul also took his first wicket as Ben took another good catch in the deep. In fact, wickets fell at regular intervals although Babcock’s batsmen kept the score ticking over and were always in the game. The key turning point (apart from the retirement of Garland when he made 25, to return when the 9th wicket fell) was Frank Forge’s 2 overs in which he took 3/4. Babcock made 110 before Garland finally missed a straight one from Phil to end the game.

A really enjoyable evening once again, and it was nice to see some visitors and friends of players coming to watch the action.


The Barrow Gurney Archives

You may have noticed on our Facebook page that some pretty old videos transferred from cine film have been published. These seem to have been very popular with members, so we are in the process of transferring more of these to the website, not least so that a formal copy is kept for the future.

Here are a few examples, more will be added. If you yourselves have any old footage on VHS or DVD and would like added to the archives, then please just give it to your captain or a committee member.

Guy & Gard Almost Pull Off Unlikely Win In Otherwise Disappointing Weekend

In a weekend when Barrow Gurney played Chilcompton twice, the highlight was a thrilling game at Hobbs Lane on Sunday when, in a high scoring contest, Barrow lost by only 3 runs after a magnificent century from Guy Fisher who put on 175 for the first wicket with Paul Gard, brought Barrow to the brink of a famous win. On Saturday, however, the Barrow teams fought hard but were unable to challenge their opponents.

On Sunday at Hobbs Lane the Sunday XI had to face Chilcompton, which in an odd twist of fate, meant that they were facing 3 of the players that Barrow 2nds had played on Saturday plus some of Chilcompton’s first team and other players who play for other clubs, specifically the prolific Alex Nash of Midsomer Norton Methodists.

Frank Forge was skipper and lost the toss on a batting day. No surprise then that Chilcompton batted first.  Nash started like a train, but with the score on 40 (having made 32 of them himself) he was caught by Kian Ware on debut for Barrow.

With the fast-running outfield the score motored along and the hundred was up when Mark Fisher bowled Fudge for 34. As all Chilcompton’s top order made a start, Frank himself came on to take 2/29 aided by some good catching in the deep. Paul Gard took the final wicket but the score of 265-6 would normally be beyond the Barrow Sunday team.

After a Rosemary Reeves tea with some sumptuous cakes, Barrow set out in search of their target. Guy Fisher and Gard opened to incredible effect putting on an amazing 175 for the first wicket against a good attack. 5 sixes and 17 fours do not do justice to the timing, the style and the clean striking Guy displayed. Only one half -chance to slip might have curtailed his inexorable progress and with Gard at the other end also hitting anything loose to the boundary, they were well ahead of the rate.

When Guy eventually fell for 113, Frank continued the momentum making a swift 25 before calling a tiring Gard for a run too many and being run out. When Gracey fell at 245-3 the game was in the balance.  

Chilcompton were pressing for a win, and were perhaps expecting a senior player to finish the job for Barrow, but Frank stuck with the spirit of the Sunday team by sending in young Leo Brace to have his chance of winning a glorious victory. Making 6 off 7 balls he nearly did it, but some brilliant fielding at third man saved 3 runs and then he just failed to clear mid off by 2 or 3 inches to win the game. With four needed off the last ball a weary Gard was unable to deliver but finished on a career high of 91 not out having batted the entire 40 overs. It was a shame to lose but a truly wonderful game from which many will draw confidence in future games.

On Saturday, however, the games were not so close, as the Firsts travelled to Bedminster 3rds and made a disappointing 171 all out. Several players made a start but Phil Milton, the captain, who made 30 was ultimately top scorer.  In reply Bedminster were rarely troubled and made their target for the loss of only 2 wickets, Skeet making 75 not out.

At Hobbs Lane, Barrow 2nds were asked to field and Chilcompton 2nds made 214 which was more than might have been the case if Barrow had pressed home their early advantage.  Adam Brace was the pick of the bowlers taking 3/38 whilst Pete Rooney took 3/50.

In reply Barrow lost three early wickets forcing Mark Forge (top scorer with 25) to dig in and rebuild the innings. When Mark departed with the score at 92 the innings slowly folded leaving the side well short on 139 all out.

BG Legends Of Tomorrow & Today

It was a really special evening at Hobbs Lane as Barrow Gurney, past, present and future met in a friendly T20 game. A packed pavilion of family and friends came to watch an exciting game which called to mind many memories of yesteryear and showed off how the legacy of former players is being continued by members of the current squad.

The match was the concept of Paul Mizen, Barrow’s long-standing fixture secretary, who tempted players from previous generations out of retirement for this one-off game. Captained by Mick Hardy, the Legends batted first and the skipper led the way taking an early boundary off Adam Brace with a familiar flick of his pads, but his cameo ended as he attempted to loft Frank Forge straight and picked out Mark Brown who safely pouched the catch.

His opening partner, Simon Wallis, was relatively untroubled and, joined by youthful looking Jon Hood, a 50 partnership was put on in quick time to the worry of Barrow’s present skipper Phil Milton. Jon rolled back the years with a stylish cover drive and despatched Paul Glazzard for a lovely clean straight six before being well-caught by the diving Phil Milton for a well-made 30. Phil Febrey had little chance to remind the crowd of his batting skills as he misjudged a straight one from Paul and was LBW.  Tim Patch was then a little too eager to up the scoring rate and was swiftly stumped by Bernie Forge.

Former Barrow captain Geoff Warren then joined Wallis, who by now was well on his way to a half century, and they took the total to 116 before Geoff became another victim of Phil Milton off the bowling of young Leo Brace. 

Leo then finally deceived the charging Wallis for Bernie to take another stumping, departing the scene for a brilliant 59 with 10 boundaries. With overs now ebbing away “Alfie” Alford aimed some lusty blows and connected with a number before skying a catch which saw bowler Phil Milton and keeper Bernie in danger of colliding momentarily.  Chris Warren fell soon after before Chris Patch came out to bat with a runner resulting, perhaps invevitably, in one of those confusing situations leading to a run out without Chris facing a ball. 141-9 though was a tough test for the present-day team.

After a short interval for some liquid refreshment, the present Barrow team went in to bat against some of their mentors, or, in some cases, players that they had only heard stories told about In whispered and reverential tones. Mark Brown fell victim to Alfie early on but then Bernie Forge and James Riley took charge of the Barrow innings. Bernie impressed the Legends with an extra cover drive and being severe on anything short, whilst James gradually overcame his fear of running for anything hit within 20 yards of his Barrow hero, Jon Hood, to score equally fluently at the other end.

Bernie made her half century to only modest applause from the crowd who seemed pre-occupied by the bar and barbecue at this stage, and then gave her wicket away charging the wily spin of Mick to be stumped by Spencer Mizen. Paul Glazzard then joined Riley and was quickly in his stride playing some powerful strokes. Meanwhile the Legend’s fielding was surprisingly mobile, helped by the fact that Chris Patch’s young runner (when he batted) also fielded alongside him in the outfield. Some, in fact, looked more lively in the field than half of Barrow’s second or third teams currently.

With only 12 needed off the last 2 overs, the Barrow team looked odds on. But then came Tim Patch, who bowled Paul sending one of the bails almost half way to the boundary and then trapped Phil Milton LBW, leaving the crowd wondering why he had not bowled before and leaving Barrow needing 10 of the final over. Alfie did his utmost in the final over but Barrow won with 2 balls to spare.

A fantastic evening and a wonderful game with lots of memories shared and friendships forged or re-kindled. Intended as a one-off it may become a feature of future fixture lists – who knows? It certainly demonstrated the fraternity and devotion of players of all generations to this small, but very special, village cricket club.



Cricket Not Coming Home As Barrow Lose In Another Close Finish, While Debuts Spare 2s Prospect Of Penalties

On a weekend where finding players was a problem for many teams, Barrow had 28 players unavailable which had an impact on all its teams. Nevertheless the Firsts were in a winning position in their game but failed to press home the advantage as Bath 4s fought hard to the end largely through an excellent innings from Beth Howe. Meanwhile the 2nds and 3rds struggled to be competitive in their games. 

At the scenic Hobbs Lane ground the 1st team went into the match with Bath 4’s still confident of doing the double after their victory in the first game of the season and winning 3 in a row.  Winning the toss in the blazing sunshine Phil Milton decided to have a bat although things didn’t go to plan as the returning Ali Hood was out first ball. Bernie Forge followed soon after leaving Barrow 14-2 but some steady batting from Guy Fisher (36) and Mark Fisher (24) got them to the 100 mark.  Ben Skuse and James Riley batted really well putting on a brilliant 105 run partnership before Riley went for 44.  Skuse finished 61 not out as Barrow finished on a pleasing 227-6 from their 45 overs.  A great all around effort was capped off by a nice Oscar Livesey 6 in the last over.

The timing of the end of the innings was perfect, as the teams  walked off just as the anthems started and the 2nds arrived following their defeat and all settled in to watch the football.


In the second innings Barrow got off to a great start, Riley removing the Bath captain for 0 and the dangerous looking number 3 for just 13. Things got better as Guy recovered from dropping a catch to run out the number 2 from a prone position on the ground!  With Barrow short of bowling Phil came on and took a wicket first ball as Oscar took a good catch in the deep but Bath moved onto 106-5; Barrow were definitely in the box seat however.  Wickets though were becoming increasingly difficult to come by as Bath moved to 124-7 before the key partnership of Tom Finn and Beth Howe took them to 211-8.  The return of Riley and Mark Fisher didn’t get the breakthrough Barrow hoped for and during this time the team lost a little composure and the bowlers got a little ragged.  A run out in in the penultimate over and the dismissal of Howe for a well-made 56 took Bath to 9 down but they hit they winning runs with 4 balls to spare.

The 2nds had agreed to play a 30 over match starting early to ensure a conclusion before the England game. With so few players available, Barrow were indebted to Petra Brace, Debbie Forge and Stephen Webb who made their debuts to avoid the team having to default and risk losing 10 points in the league for so doing


Mark Gracey won the toss and chose to bat and after the 30 overs Barrow had put on 89/5 with Pete Holdaway(21), and Gracey 24 not out top scoring as the team battled hard against some decent bowling which you would expect from a top of the table side. 

With a 15 minute rest, Barrow tried to limit the Twyford House scoring but alas to no avail with Melissa Owen picking up the only wicket and Twyford winning quite comfortably.

The Sunday team experienced a disappointing visit to Pak Bristolians.

It was very hot, the ground was hard, brown and uneven, the pitch was dusty and Mark Forge lost the toss again meaning another spell in the field for some already very tired limbs.

Despite this Barrow stuck to their task well actually bowling out the opposition for 250 in under 37 overs. Dan Caie (ex of Long Ashton), playing his first game of the season bowled with pace and accuracy taking 3/31, taking the vital wicket of the number 3 who had hit his first 3 balls for 4. Simon Hudson also bowled well taking 3/34 including a caught and bowled when the ball seemed to stop in mid air requiring a final desperate lunge. It was the 6th wicket partnership which took the innings away from Barrow.  Oscar Livesey,  bowling a mixture of spin and seam took 2 wickets before Paul Gard closed proceedings.

The opening pair of Livesey and Gracey went to the wicket and played nicely until Oscar played too soon at one which might have stopped and was caught and bowled for 11. Thereafter only Frank Forge (9) who was caught behind chasing a wide and Gracey (top score of 13) looked comfortable as the odd ball started to misbehave. The introduction of Azan signalled the death knell for Barrow as he took 4 cheap wickets.

Add in a disastrous run out, there was not too much to take from Barrow’s innings save the shot of the day from Dan Caie – a straight drive back over a young fast bowlers head, but he too fell trying to repeat the dose. All out for 68.


90 Mark For Brown & Fisher Secure Weekend Wins For Barrow

Barrow Gurney 1sts recorded their third consecutive win on Saturday as they entertained Abbots Leigh in a high-scoring game. A blisteringly hot day, a fast outfield and Barrow’s bijou ground was made for batting and so it proved for long periods of the game. 15 balls were lost over the boundary to boot.

Abbots Leigh batted first and despite the high quality bowling of Ed Holdaway and James Riley, put on 50 for the first wicket. Mark Fisher, coming on as first change, started to make inroads into the opposition batting line up (eventually taking 3/37) by bowling the opening bat.  But by the time Matt Owen had chipped in with a wicket and Frank Forge (2/48) had exposed the middle order, the score had advanced to 156 before Mark claimed the fifth wicket with a run out. Abbots Leigh continued to build a total with contributions from most of their batsmen before late wickets for Holdaway (2/34) and Fisher’s last 2 wickets bowled them out for a competitive 269.

In reply Barrow started positively through captain Phil Milton and Bernie Forge but they were both dismissed as the score touched 40 off 5 overs. Mark Brown then came to the crease and in an innings of typical vigour and clean hitting began to take the game away from the visitors, scoring 94 off only 75 balls. He received good support from Guy Fisher (30) before Ed Holdaway added more firepower in seeing Barrow home with 4 overs to spare with 78 not out.

With the season at its mid-point, Barrow remain mid-table and look forward to playing Bath 4ths next weekend.

Things did not go so well for the seconds at Patchway as the home side scored 242-6, with only Adam Brace (3/35) having much success in restricting the team batting first. Barrow never looked like getting close and faltered to 120 not out after Ali Hood was dismissed for 31. This set back leaves Barrow in mid-table with a visit to Twyford House in prospect next Saturday.

A hot and humid afternoon with the prospect of a heavy shower was the weather forecast which greeted the players at Hobbs Lane on Sunday.

Carson’s openers faced a challenging new ball attack of Kieran Owen and the leg-spin of Guy Fisher. It was Kieran who struck first inducing a top edge which hit the other opener in the grille of his helmet and lobbed back to the bowler. The No 3 soon followed as Mark Fisher redeemed himself from missing a difficult chance when he was unsighted by the bowler, giving his brother his first wicket of the day.

In came the dangerous Digby who played a shot a ball and mostly connected, benefitting from another missed chance, he moved swiftly onto 36 before launching Guy to deep extra where Ben  Thorne ran in to take another excellent catch. 2/42 for Guy off his 8 overs.

The fall of Digby was greeted by the introduction of Melissa Owen who now had the challenge of bowling to Mark Pitt who was approaching a half century.  At the other end Frank Forge bowled the No 5 to make the score 94-4.

Soon after Melissa discovered some inswing and dip and began to trouble Pitt finally inducing him into clipping one in the air to Guy. Then Carsons began to fold as Bernie Forge took 2 excellent stumpings, one off her brother and another standing up to Adam Brace. 2/24 for Frank before Oscar Livesey came on to mop up the tail (2/20). Carsons 141 all out off 32.2 overs.

So an early tea, courtesy of Laura Owen, was enjoyed by all before Barrow began their attempt to overhaul the opposition total under cloudy and rather threatening skies.

Kieran and Mark Fisher started slowly against a decent attack with young Redfern eventually bowling Kieran for 9 and then getting James Riley caught behind soon after.  After a break for a rain shower Mark Fisher began to score freely taking 4 fours off an over. Ben Thorne offered good support at the other end defending well and pulling a couple of boundaries before Adam Brace was a victim of indecision and the slippery ground, being run out whilst in a prone position in the middle of the wicket.

89-4 and still work to do as Mark was serenely moving through the gears and he despatched the winning runs over the hedge for his second 6, only the finishing line could deprive him of a century but 90 not out was a fine knock helping the Sunday XI to a much-needed win.


Pace Duo See Off Civil Service, Whilst 2nds Edge Another Thriller At Barrow

Last Saturday saw another great double triumph for the Barrow teams as the Firsts bowled out their opponents cheaply and knocked off the runs well before tea had been taken in a tense match at Hobbs Lane, where the Seconds came out on top after another close finish.


At the Civil Service Club, Bristol Civil Service won the toss and decided to bat. James Riley and Ed Holdaway opened the attack for Barrow and what followed has to go down as one of Barrow’s best fielding and bowling displays of recent years.   Phil Milton took a diving one hander to remove the opener, Will Kerswell followed up by taking a good one at second slip, Ed Holdaway had a smart caught and bowled, Riley splattered some stumps and got an LBW. Both openers were bowling fast, with lots of swing, and showing lots of control, Civil Service had no answer on this occasion.  The final wicket summed up the innings as Ed induced a nick to Mark Brown at first slip but he fumbled and knocked it up to Riley who took the catch!  Finally taking their catches meant Barrow had the opposition under the pressure from the get go and they never let them off the hook; Civil Service were bowled out for just 42, Riley taking 5/15 and Ed Holdway 5/18.


Bernie Forge and Phil Milton opened but Phil went without scoring bringing Mark Brown to the crease.  He hit 37 of the 43 needed as Barrow won by 8 wickets in just 9.4 overs including a couple of massive 6’s.   

So another 29 point win for Barrow, next week the firsts face Abbots Leigh.

Due to the extremely early finish the team all went up to watch the 2nds play and saw the end of another brilliant game.  It made for a great atmosphere at Hobbs Lane, where skipper, Mark Gracey elected to field in the heat meaning Pucklechurch 2nds were to bat first with the skipper taking the wicket-keeping gloves for the first time.

Pukklechurch started slowly and steadily with only 31 scored after the first 10 overs with Paul Gard bowling with his usual economy ably supported by Leo Brace and Pete Rooney at the other end. Unfortunately, wickets were hard to come by and as Rivers and Francomb began to open their arms they started to accelerate the score. But after a 125 opening partnership Simon Hudson struck to take the wicket of Francomb for 46. Mike Lilley, not wanting to be outdone at the other end struck 2 overs later to remove the number 3 and not long after Rivers for a well-made 70. Pucklechurch now had two batsman at the crease who felt very comfortable striking the ball, and when Adam Brace picked up Barrow’s final wicket with the last ball in his spell, Barrow were left needing a target of 212.

 During tea, the first team had arrived at the ground having won their game with ease. What a grandstand finish they were to witness!

Pete Holdawway and Mike Lilley  started as though they wanted to get to the bar pretty quickly with a win and scored 14 off the first over and a further 8 off the second. With the score rolling on Barrow felt confident but then Pete was run out for 18, Roger Finnemore and Mark Gracey fell cheaply. Adam Brace came in at number 5 and despite having asked over and over again to bat  further down the order, he  found the scoring relatively easy to come by. When Mike was caught for 23 and once Mark Forge came and went, Adam and Simon Hudson put on a strong fight back before Adam fell for 37. This bought in Paul Gard who put his lack of form with the bat behind him and continued where Adam left off. When Simon fell (36) with the score on 181/7 with a further 31 needed to win, enter Ben Thorne, Ben batted with great resilience halting the momentum of the Pucklechurch bowlers. After Ben was bowled, young Leo Brace walked out with a swagger. The score kept ticking over and needing only a couple off the final over with Leo on strike, all the Pucklechurch fielders crowded the bat. Leo showed great maturity and, after 3 attempts finally connected with one big swing, striking the ball right out the middle of the bat with such venom almost taking off a fielders head to score the winning runs. (Leo not.out 9, Gard not.out. 34)

A great win for both the firsts and seconds – one slightly more nail biting than the other!!

There was no game for the Sunday XI this week as many regulars had other commitments although only one cried off for the World Cup!


Barrow’s Bowlers Set Up Double Saturday Success

Barrow Gurney’s Saturday teams both recorded vital wins this week as they bowled out their respective oppositions for modest totals and chased them down with only one or two scares.


At Hobbs Lane, Phil Milton lost the toss again on Saturday and was surprised that Woodpeckers opted to bat first given the green tinged pitch.  Ed Holdaway and James Riley opened the bowling and things looked ominous when the Woodpeckers’ skipper Gary Worgan hit Ed’s first ball for 6, things didn’t improve when he was dropped in the next over.  Worgan’s batting out of his crease and big trigger movement was upsetting the bowlers but Ed started to bowl short of a length at him to contain the scoring rate. Unfortunately Barrow again struggled with their catching dropping too many chances and keeping Woodpeckers in the game.  Ed and Riley were both unfortunate to finish wicketless.  However the change of bowling brought wickets as Matt Owen and Mark Fisher picked up the dangerous Worgan and Curtis, Matt finishing with 2/32 and Mark 3/35, both having bowled well again. The introduction of the slow bowling of Paul Glazzard (3/19) and Frank Forge (2/5) wrapped up the tail quickly, leaving Barrow to chase just 128 having bowled Woodpeckers out in 29 overs.

Barrow didn’t get off to the best start losing a wicket in the first over.  Mark Brown almost followed second ball as he was dropped by the bowler before going on to punish Woodpeckers hitting 50 from just 32 balls before falling LBW.  Barrow then had a big wobble as Ben Hodges and Glazzard both went without scoring. Phil Milton departed for 28 but Ed and Guy Fisher saw the home side over the line scoring 16 and 21 respectively giving Barrow a 5 wicket win in 19.1 overs.


Meanwhile the 2nds turned up at the picturesque Westerleigh ground for their game against Coalpit Heath in the drizzle but thankfully it had cleared up by the time the game started and stayed away all afternoon.  Barrow won the toss and inserted the opposition. Steve Owen and Paul Gard opened up, they both bowled well but without any luck but at least kept the scoring rate in check. Things changed when Simon Hudson came on and bowled a  leg side full toss that was obligingly hit high  into Gard’s hands at fine leg. Adam Brace came on and in his first over induced a nick behind before adopting his now trademark ploy of going round the wicket to bowl the batsmen first ball, and Barrow were firmly on top. Later Adam picked up a third wicket with a bottom edge this time well snapped up by Ali Hood moving low to his right, 3/22 for Adam.  Then Pete Rooney got in on the act proving very difficult to get away and snaring 3 victims along the way for only 24 runs.  Coalpit’s innings concluded on 148 all out with the final wicket giving Barrow full bowling points off the final ball via a run out.  

After tea Barrow opened up with the contrasting styles of Ali Hood and Mark Forge, the latter taking on the job of seeing off a dangerous opening bowler while Ali at the other end was happily putting away anything loose to the short leg side boundary, including hitting a rather unfortunate dog that happened to be minding its own business just beyond the rope (the dog was unharmed thankfully). Barrow neared 50 from the opening partnership before Hood got in a muddle and was LBW and Forge followed relatively soon after having got a leading edge to a left arm spinner.

Mike Lilley and Mark Gracey then came together initially making slow progress but pushed Barrow up close to the 100 mark with a couple of nice shots and a lot of extras, which would end up passing 50 in the innings, compared to only 25 that Barrow conceded. After Lilley departed, Gracey upped the scoring rate including the shot of the day with a glorious on drive before the stage was set for someone to hit the winning runs. Enter young Leo Brace, who had previously fielded brilliantly, who, with the field in tight, duly hit the bowler back over his head to win the game in style.


Unfortunately, the success of Saturday could not be repeated on Sunday as the 3rd XI were on the wrong end of a maiden century by young opening batsman Haynes, who was well on his way to making it a double when the innings ended, with visitors Whitchurch scoring 324. Few bowlers enjoyed the afternoon, although Matt Owen (2/41) off 8 overs was outstanding in the circumstances.

In reply Barrow were 102-3 after 20 overs when the umpires brought the teams off for the constant drizzle that had accompanied the last few overs. Guy Fisher had taken advantage of some dropped catches with the wet ball to make another half century which contained some excellent shots all around the wicket.

Barrow Forge A Total But Lose To Redcliffe In Last Over

Barrow’s latest midweek opponents were a friendly team from St Mary Redcliffe Cricket Club. On another beautiful evening at Hobbs Lane, Barrow were put into bat.

The loss of Phil Milton in the second over set Barrow back, but Bernie Forge started pushing the score along with some powerful drives. Connor Jones accompanied her in a 43 run partnership before departing for 9 shortly after Bernie had despatched one over for 18 runs. When Bernie fell for 40 with the score on 60, the scoring rate fell as did the wickets. At 73-6 with 5 overs to go, the father and son partnership of Mark and Frank Forge came together and helped the score along to a respectable 116 after the 20 overs with Frank (20 not out) playing a shot of the day straight drive for four and Mark in unusually positive mood too to finish 18 not out. Matt Moore took 3/9 in his 3 overs to make life extremely difficult for Barrow.

In reply Redcliffe always looked in control despite some accurate bowling from Melissa Owen, Adam Brace and Connor Jones in particular. Adam chipped in with a couple of wickets (2/16) and Nick Heal was unlucky not to take more than his 1/22. Phil Milton took a couple of late wickets as Redcliffe eased towards their target, as Barrow did well to extend the innings until the last over. But an emphatic six ended the game and sent the players off for a welcome drink and a burger or two on another enjoyable evening.

Barrow’s next T20 game is on 27th June against the Treasury Valuers.

Barrow Experience Mixed Fortunes In Thrilling Finishes

There was nail-biting drama for two of Barrow Gurney’s teams this weekend as games went to down to the wire. Whilst the Firsts unluckily lost off the last ball of their game at Shirehampton 2nds, the Sunday 3rds scraped home with the last pair at the crease with Harptree Villages dropping a catch to tie the game.

On Saturday at Shirehampton, Phil Milton’s team batted first and the captain led from the front forming a new opening partnership with Ben Skuse.  They made a steady start putting on 37 for the first wicket before Phil was caught behind for 17 in the 10th over. Ben followed soon after (also for 17) and as Jordan Allen followed soon after that, Barrow were reeling at 52 for 3. The rebuilding job fell to two of the younger members of the side as Bernie Forge (41) and Mark Fisher (44) began cautiously before starting to find the boundary. When Bernie was caught behind for her season’s highest for Barrow the partnership had realised 89 valuable runs. With Mark then being bowled and James Riley run out for 8, Simon Hudson and Frank Forge (in his first game of the season) did well to lift the score to 196-6 at the close.

In reply Riley struck early and with the score on 46 Mark Fisher was introduced into the attack and struck immediately by taking a caught and bowled chance.  He was to take 2 more wickets in his exemplary spell of 9-3-20-3 whilst the spinners kept the score down in mid-innings. A couple of confident appeals went unanswered as Shirehampton began to move towards their target. With 5 overs to go they needed 23 with 4 wickets left. Paceman Riley was brought back to immediate effect bowling Phipps for a crucial 49, and then, after Matt Owen had Cooley caught behind, took the 9th wicket with 2 still needed for Shirehampton. A couple of scrambled singles left the score level with one ball to go, but Earl was able to beat the field to score the winning runs. Heart-breaking for the Barrow team who are hovering above the relegation zone and are in need of a win next week at home to Woodpeckers 1st XI.

Some of the same Barrow players had to endure further tension on Sunday as the 3rd XI played Harptree on a brown and dry pitch which had very low bounce at one end. Losing the toss Steve Owen found his team in the field.

Nick Heal and Kieran Owen opened up and whilst Nick found a little bit of bounce at one end, Kieran found none whatsoever at his end. Kieran was nigh on unplayable as he bowled full and straight and the ball then passed the batsman an inch or two off the ground. Harptree did well to reach 15 for the opening partnership despite a few alarms, but then Kieran struck taking 3 wickets in 7 balls without any addition to the total, 2 bowled and one LBW taking 3/10 in all. The scoring then dried up as Steve himself came into the attack and eventually accounted for the promising young opening batsman Tommy Hester, also bowled.

The introduction of spin twins Frank Forge and Oscar Livesey allowed little respite for the home side as young Ben Thorne took an excellent catch off Frank who followed it up by taking a return catch (2/25 in all). Harptree were 6 down for 53 and then Oscar came into his own taking 3/19. With Ben Thorne’s quick work in effecting a run out thrown in to the mix, Harptree were all out for 79.

Opening with pace at one end and the wily spin of Phil Hogarth at the other, Harptree were determined not to go down without a fight. Bernie Forge and Oscar starting positively not wanting to wait for the unplayable ball with their name on it. Bernie fell trying to hit the spinner over the top and then Oscar became another LBW victim from the low bouncing end. James Riley and Matt Owen continued to be positive and added 21 (in the context of the game worth almost a 100 partnership on some surfaces) before Riley was too positive and hit a well struck shot straight back to the bowler.

Then young Tommy Hestor came into the attack and found some surprising seam movement in to the right hander. Ben was his first victim to one which moved about 6 inches off the pitch and kept low. Kieran then got one that did even more – completely unplayable, and Nick fell to a similar delivery too. Suddenly Barrow were 45-6 and things were precarious.

Matt was batting very well, getting a good stride in to everything and playing straight which was the key on this pitch and he was joined by Brigadier Block himself – Rod Reeves . Being left-handed helped negate the prodigious movement of Hestor.

Rod’s dogged defence was exactly what Barrow needed as he just dropped a dead bat on everything, playing really low to cover the lack of bounce. Meanwhile Matt was playing the occasional scoring shot to anything on leg stump, but with the score on 65 Matt finally did not get fully forward and was bowled.

Another quick wicket left Barrow 67-8 and 13 were still needed to win. Adam Brace  joined Rod. The overs ticked by and each run was hard earned as Barrow almost came to complete halt. Occasionally Adam would try an expansive shot to win the game in a glorious fashion but having hit the ball straight back at the bowler and hit him in the chest and then mishit one straight back to the same bowler who this time got hands to it and dropped it, it was a risky business. In their 8 tense overs together they added the 12 runs necessary to bring the scores level, a single here, a bye there, a wide and so on. But then Adam was bowled.

In came the skipper, the field was in and the crowd held its breath, the ball was short, Steve middled it straight to midwicket who dropped it! Then a play, a miss, an inside edge which trickled passed leg stump all of which increased the tension before finally he struck the winning blow. Rod’s 8 not out proved to be a match-winning innings.  

Next Sunday Barrow are home to Whitchurch Wyverns.

 Unfortunately the 2nds were outplayed in their home game with Carsons Mangotsfield 2nds. The visitors made 245-7, batting well on Barrow’s fast outfield. Mike Lilley treated the Barrow faithful to one of his best bowling performances taking 3/30 backed up with celebrations to match. The other highlight for Barrow was the long-awaited return of Ben Hodges who kept wicket flawlessly, taking a regulation catch, a stumping and a run out.  Ian Rosling top-scored for the visitors with a classy 50.

In reply Barrow tried to take the attack to the opposition but kept losing wickets along the way and at 82-5 the key batsmen had departed the scene and with 163 needed off 20 overs the situation was beyond Barrow. A good partnership developed between Mark Forge (top-scorer with 25) and Adam Brace (23), focusing on gaining as many bonus points as possible. The 56 runs they put on gained 3 points and they fell in pursuit of a fourth. The seconds visit Coalpit Heath next week and are hovering above the relegation zone.