Barrow Gurney won through to the Bateman Cup final thanks to a fantastic team effort led by their Captain, Frank Forge who took 6/26, and vice-captain Ed Holdaway who scored an imperious 85 not out.
It was a glorious evening at Hobbs Lane and with a decent crowd you could tell it was an important game. Barrow won the toss and batted first.
Phil Milton and Mark Brown opened up and it was soon apparent that Saltford Fairway would prove a bigger test than the teams that Barrow had faced in the previous rounds.
Phil played out a maiden first over before getting off the mark with a 6. He soon fell for a quick fire 11. Jonny Sykes hit a 6 off the back of the bat before going caught at long on to a good catch. Brown followed, bowled for a breezy 27 leaving the home side 70-3 off of 9 overs. There was still plenty of work to do to get a decent total.
Will Comley, in his first team debut, rotated strike well with Ed Holdaway, as did Mark Fisher as Barrow kept going just below an 8 an over rate. The introduction of Ben Skuse (18) brought an acceleration of the scoring taking Barrow to 142-6. Ed and Frank Forge then shared in a 50 partnership of which Frank contributed only 7. Ed looked in good touch from ball 3 hitting a glorious cover drive and a few would follow. It was the 16th over when he really got going taking advantage of some poor bowling hitting 6 4’s and 7 brutal 6’s in a magnificent knock, finishing 85 not out. This took Barrow to an extremely competitive 193 having looked on for about only 150/160 for most of the innings. 100 runs were scored in the last 7 overs which gave the team good momentum going into the bowling innings.
Whilst there was plenty to bowl at, the game was not yet done as Saltford came out swinging. Having reached 32 in the first 4 overs (below the rate) bowled by Connor Jones and Mark Fisher, the skipper, Frank Forge brought himself on early and struck with his second ball, a skyer that Brown caught at long on via his collar bone. Another one was chipped in the air to an ‘Ashwin’ ball to Skuse leaving the visitors 50-2.
At this point it seemed that pace on the ball was to the batsmen’s’ liking as Saltford rapidly reached 88 off 10 overs and it was all to play for. Then 3 quick wickets, one LBW off the opener on 30, one caught by Fisher at mid-wicket off a full toss and another bowled from round the wicket all off Forge’s bowling. Oscar Livesey then came into the attack to offer “spin twin” variation and got a caught and bowled at the other end.
Frank’s sister, Bernie, took a sharp stumping off his bowling with the batsman down sweeping leaving Saltford 98-7, which after having been 88-2 was a great achievement from the Barrow team to put the game beyond them. Mark and Connor returned bowling well, despite one Saltford player (Dave Davies) being able to hit a few consolation 6’s to end on a well-made 52 n/o. There was one more breakthrough before the end when an attempted run to straight mid-wicket saw Forge add to his 6/26 with a diving underarm throw for a direct hit run out. He said afterwards: “It just happens to be your day sometimes!”
Barrow now look forward to the final against Pucklechurch on 1 August.