Usually Barrow’s opening bowler, James Riley started the pre-season with ambition to bat up the order this year rather than at his customary No 10 or 11. Top-scoring with 78 not out in Barrow’s first pre-season game was a good start in his quest to do so.
On a sunny (occasionally), windy (often) and cold (constantly) day Barrow began their 2017 season coming up against St Mary Redcliffe CC. The ground already looked in great shape at the start of play which is a real testament to the hard work of Pete Holdaway and other volunteers during the winter.
Barrow began their season by having a bowl and opened up with Mark Fisher (1/24) and Nick Heal (1/48). Both bowled some fantastic deliveries but the batsmen did take full advantage of a small boundary on one side of the wicket. After this Barrow continued with Gareth Ashley (with a creditable 8 overs for 34 runs) on debut and Guy Fisher bowling. All of Barrow’s seam up bowlers troubled the batsman with some great swing bowling throughout which is a great sign for the season to come, however Thrower made his way to a good 50 before retiring, soon followed by Nash (67) before he was caught and bowled by Heal. Barrow brought on spin twins Frank Forge and Oscar Livesey (1/12). The former was very unlucky not to get a wicket and the latter managed to trap opener Keegan-Bole LBW for 45. Barrow also had Grant Ashley (also making his debut) bowling a few overs and it was a good team effort with the ball although a couple of hard chances missed in the field could have made a difference. Redcliffe finished on 223-3 off 40 overs.
After a good tea from the skipper Barrow set about blowing away the cobwebs and trying to chase a score. Redcliffe’s opening bowlers kept it very tight and didn’t allow our openers (Ben Skuse and Bernie Forge) much opportunity to score, meaning runs were few and far between. Skuse was bowled with the score on 17. Guy Fisher looked to continue where he left off last season and after getting himself in played some lovely shots on his way to his first 50 of the season, sharing in a partnership of 64 before Bernie (28) was bowled by Thrower. Unfortunately, with 15 overs to go the run rate had increased to 9 an over for the Gurney. After being told several times to “stop being ridiculous” and “go and take those pads off” by the chairman, James Riley joined Guy at the crease and set about trying to get Barrow somewhere near 223. Guy was the victim of a fantastic caught and bowled by Ashok (2/40) and departed on 56, which gave Grant Ashley his first bat at the club until he was well bowled by the same bowler. This brought Frank Forge to the crease to join the ubiquitous Riley and both batsmen began their innings sensibly with straight bats and rotating the strike, however by the last 8 overs this had transformed into somewhat less than textbook shots. Frank was bowled for 24 with 3 balls of the innings to go and Riley finished unbeaten on 78. Unfortunately, Barrow fell 11 runs short but there were some positives with the bat for sure in an ideal warm-up game.