Anyone trying to research Barrow CC will discover that they lack online presence. Barrow (Cumbria) crops up a lot, and was first to the @BarrowCricketClub twitter handle. (Incidentally,Barrow (Cumbria) seems to have been the cricketing womb of new England biffer-cum-wunderkind Liam Livingstone.) Then there’s Barrow (Cheshire): fewer or more incognito stars. Barrow CC is listed on SuffolkCricket.org, although if you click the link apparently “Safari can’t open the page.” So Barrow were an unknown quantity, as was the parkland pitch they inhabited. Even the encyclopaedic Phil Harvey was at a loss; he was so curious in fact that he actually turned up for the start of the game; and was heard muttering to anyone who’d listen how impressive it was to start up a village cricket team from scratch.
It was useful, in one way, that Phil did arrive before the start of play, because very few other Philanderers did. Possibly the 1.30, not 2.00, p.m. start threw them off. Possibly the location troubled nabivators. In the event, Skipper Rory won the toss and had little choice but to bat. Nat Gimson and Jack Dillon, both unaccustomed to opening the batting, opened the batting. A qualified success, they scraped their collective way to 68 before a Norman delivery from the bottom end kept about an inch low – more than enough to pin Dillon in front. Gimson kept at it, Chris “Garse” Rogers finding his feet nicely at the other end, until a stunner of a return catch from first change bowler Bryant saw him on his way for a well-earned 37. A one handed instinctive wondergrab – not seen every day. Hegarty came to the crease at 4, and hammered an explosive 13 before being cleaned up to leave the score at 112-3. Well balanced maybe. Then Scaife didn’t fire, pinned in front by Bryant shortly afterwards. Sir George Pearson then arrived at the crease, hammered 3 fours, and was caught in the deep. That was 156-5. At some point Garse retired after a well crafted and untroubled 53*, a quite meadowlike knock. (Long time back sufferer Dean looked on wistfully or nervously from the boundary on one of his fourteen laps.) That left the Fawnbrake Boys, Skipper Davidson and his charge ‘Keeper Simon Shaw to build on the platform, posting 24 and 22 respectively. At this stage, the grenade bowling was true Sunday fare, but not necessarily all that easy to face. Davidson’s dismissal was not only something of a collector’s piece – stumped off a wide – but also, no doubt something of a ‘leaner’ (to borrow from the All Black school of positive taking) for Keeper Shaw, who probably didn’t known until then stumpings off wides existed – his unicorn? He’d certainly not been known to take or even notice such chances previously; hopefully onlookers will chart this development for us. Shaw’s own dismissal was a rare – by his standards – sweep gone wrong: maybe not the shot to play to a ball dropping like a Messerschmitt dive bomber. The Philanderers’ innings ended with some lusty Jamie Rutting (37* ending on a brace of sixes), helped by Gerald Coteman (14*) who was helped in turn out of single figures by another collector’s item – four buzzers. 258-7 off 35. A reasonably decent effort. Barrow would need 7.4 per over.
John Burnett, full of cake and sandwiches led the Philanders attack, as he’s earned the right to do. And led it well, with 2-19 off his five. Rutto was miserly at the other end, conceding 3 off his 3 over spell. John castled one of the openers. Scaife, probably benefitting from Rutt’s economy, had the second caught in his action packed first over (4, dot, 4, wicket, dot, dot) in four years. Then John bowled the Barrow No.3 bat for a duck. At 38-3 in the 9th over Barrow’s required rate was up at 8.5. A lot was expected and needed of Bryant and Greave in the Barrow middle order. ‘Here comes the counter,’thought Philanderers: wrongly as it happened. Coteman, struggling with the breeze from the top end, and Davidson struggling not to bowl face high beamers at the other – on the plus side, not a half tracker in sight – somehow got on top of the batsman, who reached 68 before Scaife took the Phillies’ fourth. Hegarty embarked – reluctantly? gamely? –on a mammoth 6 over spell, impossible to take the ball from his hand, and took ‘three-fer’ helped by two fine catches by Dillon and George Pearson. Then the opening batters bowled a few before Coteman finished things off from the bottom end. Barrow’s 111 all out from 23 at a shade under 5 didn’t, it has to be said, come too close to challenging the Philanderers total. But all said and done, a decent match in a nice park against friendly opposition. A success for an inaugural fixture.