From our correspondent Simon H:
Barford notched up a big win at Napton today, thanks to a sensational maiden century from Ben, and despite Shawn dropping a catch and then kicking the ball over the boundary like Barry Chuckle.
Napton nightmares no more
It would be fair to say that Napton has not been a happy hunting ground for the Hares in recent years, and batting first was a gamble on a wicket that always offers variable bounce. Chris O’Reilly and Richard Johnson opened and made steady progress before both falling with the score on 19.
That bought Ben to the crease and he started slowly, taking 15 balls to get off the mark. Will, Shawn and Simon D failed to impose themselves at the other end, and we were “staring down the barrel” with the score on 66-5 at the halfway mark. Napton were bowling accurately and the constant danger of shooters and leapers made it hard to play shots with confidence, but Ben gradually picked up the scoring rate, whilst playing watchfully for his 50.
Simon H, Phil, Laurence and Jon all came and went at the other end with varying degrees of success, as Ben began to hit out. Last man Timmsy came to the wicket with Ben’s score still in the 70’s and tension mounted in the Barford dressing room as he hit boundaries and farmed the strike. There was a nail biting moment when Tony was facing a new over, with Ben on 96, but the veteran tweaker snatched a single in a style that has yet to bother any known coaching manual, and Ben then biffed the runs that took him over 100. He ended on 110 not out, having shared a last wicket partnership of 42 with Tony, who scored just that 1. The team score was 188 and that looked a lot on a difficult track.
Ben’s ton came off 107 balls, with 18 fours and 2 sixes. 110 is the tenth highest score in the club’s history.
Despite some early big hitting, Napton never really looked like chasing down the total and wickets fell regularly. Laurence was the pick of the Barford bowlers with 6-19-3, including a sensational slip catch by Chris O’Reilly. Simon H, Richard Johnson, Ben, Shawn and Jon all chipped in with a wicket each, before Tony inevitably mopped up the last 2 wickets for 3 runs. Napton were 109 all out, one run less than Ben’s score.
More importantly, we had an excellent tea followed by chicken curry at the Victory Social Club in Napton.