Date(s) - 05/07/2015
1:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Wakerley & Barrowden CC
Result: Lost - Wakerley & Barrowden 279-3, Barford 128 all out
MATCH REPORT – BCC vs WAKERLEY AND BARROWDEN ON 5th July 2015
After two closely fought victories the touring Barford wagon train arrived at the Exeter Arms in Barrowden for pre-match libations and a quick bite. The Arms is a charming pub set in a pretty village and holds fond memories for some of the more senior tourists as it was visited frequently in previous tours to the area and was the scene for much drinking and jollification after victories against the neighbouring villages of South and North Luffenham back in the 90’s. Opposite the pub is a large duck pond and as I looked at it out of the window I hoped that this was not an omen that the tour’s successful run might come to an end. More of ducks later!
We had been warned by the locals at our previous game that Barrowden’s pitch and outfield were quite ‘interesting’ in layout and playing characteristics and advised that should we win the toss it might be best to field. This was confirmed when we arrived at the ground so when the coin fell the right way and in the absence of any information to the contrary I chose to bowl.
Forty overs and 279 runs later, after trying several seam and spin bowling permutations from each end and with many aching and sore limbed fielders having been run ragged up and down the many undulations of the quirky outfield, I wondered if I had taken bad advice! Eight bowlers had bowled manfully but with little success on an unresponsive pitch, only managing to take 3 wickets between them with the ball being hit to all parts and disappearing like lightning across the dry outfield and down the many slopes to cross the boundary. A few of us were carrying niggling injuries by this time and it did not fill me with much hope when I heard that the opposition had in fact reversed their usual batting order. This did not bode well for a third successive win on tour.
After an excellent tea and somewhat refreshed from our exertions in the field we set out to try and chase this formidable total against an obviously strong side. Unfortunately our hosts’ bowling attack, which was heavily spin orientated, proved as deadly as their batting and soon opener Simon Morgan was donning the dreaded yellow duck suit, closely followed by fellow opener Sandy. Their antics of running around the boundary flapping their arms and making clucking noises caused us all to fall about laughing and totally amazed the fielding side. But it was not a good start to a big run chase. Barford’s innings took on a semblance of sanity when their finest batsmen Ben Griffin and Paul Johnstone put on over 50 for the third wicket but just as it looked like a recovery was on the cards they both fell inexplicably. This brought that veteran tourist and TV celebrity Peter Fisher to the crease and for a while it was like time itself had rolled back as we were treated to a series of graceful shots while Peter crafted his way to a serene 38. Another half century for Fish and Barford was beckoning and it would have been a sweet jug. Unfortunately it was not to be but it was most pleasing to the eye while it lasted.
After Fish’s demise the Barford reply stuttered on with contributions from Simon Hawkins, Tim Jolly and some stout resistance from tour
virgin novice Andy Sherratt. But against Barrowden’s accurate bowling and with an impossible run rate to match it was always a forlorn chase. The end came swiftly on 128 with both Richard Jones and myself managing ‘deux canards d’or’. The infamous duck suit was passed between us so quickly that I had only just got time to don it before the game was over and I was shaking the opposition’s hands as they came off the field. Needless to say the Tour Secretary had managed to avoid the duck suit by ensuring he was unbeaten on his customary 0! You could have bet money on that one.
As the evening sun glinted on the Rutland hills and I waddled around the boundary collecting the boundary markers in my new suit I reflected on what might have been. It had been a great tour to a lovely part of England and thoroughly enjoyable. We had won two hard fought victories against very hospitable clubs but ultimately had come a cropper against a stronger opposition and at a ground where local knowledge and tactics play a big part. If Barford do return to Wakerley and Barrowden in future tours, which I sincerely hope, at least we will know what to expect.
PS. Thanks to Chris White for his help in organising the fixture