Barrow Gurney completed their pre-season preparations with two enjoyable games this weekend. Saturday’s game against Blagdon ended in tie after the visitors scored only 2 of the 3 runs they needed off the last ball, whilst Sunday’s game against Axbridge was a little less tense after some fine early batting by Barrow’s opponents, was more than matched by the Barrow team.
Batting first on Saturday, Barrow lost a couple of early wickets, but Bernie Forge (37) saw the team through some challenging early overs. However, it was the arrival of Ben Skuse who used his feet well and played some flowing left-handed cover drives, which moved the scoring rate along. His 40 came at almost a run a ball, and with a belligerent 20 from Frank Forge and some big-hitting from Ed Holdaway (33 not out), the hosts reached 213-8.
In reply Blagdon were always in touch with the rate required. Matt Owen bowled 8 impeccable overs (1/13), whilst Kian Ware (2/20) and Ed Holdway (2/49) aided by a couple of diving wicket-keeping catches from Bernie Forge kept Blagdon in check. After a fine half century from James Roscow, the run out of Jeremy Board just after he had completed his own was a key moment. A tense final over saw Blagdon needing only 9 but some brilliant fielding and sensible death bowling from Connor Jones left Blagdon, and Ed Deane (52 not out), only able to match the Barrow total.
Axbridge started positively on Sunday, racing to 102 before the fall of the first wicket, with Nick Jarman making a classy 76, but Leo Brace (3/40) and Mike York (3/20) took out the middle order supported by some excellent catching. Josh Beavers’ 39 moved Axbridge to a competitive 218 after Dave Smith (2/1) mopped up the tail.
After an early run-out, James Riley led Barrow’s reply with a well-made 63 before retiring. Jonny Sykes (44), Kian Ware (54 not out with 3 sixes) and Mark Fisher (33 not out) then went on the rampage to finish the game with over 10 overs to spare for the loss of 3 wickets.
Next week the league season starts with Barrow 1st XI facing a difficult start away to Chilcompton, whilst the 2s and Sunday teams are at home to Coalpit Heath 3s and Keynsham respectively.