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.