A tour party of 28 good men and true
took to the M6 and travelled cautiously North to Bolton for the Barnards
Green annual tour. With brolleys packed as they had been warned that it
always rained up north, these were soon disgarded as the sun shone throughout
the week. The first game was against Hindley St Peters and the early
start from Malvern after a pre tour party soon took its toll. Steve
Freeman and Kevin Golder started confidently and took the score past 50
before Freeman fell LBW for 18, Mark Hooper then recorded the first duck of
the tour and Kevin Golder the first 50 before he fell for 53. Keith
Middleton (26) Dave White (26) and Jez Clarke (19) all made contributions,
but a total of 184 always looked a little light weight. Runs proved
hard to come by early on as the home team batted cautiously, but once the
batsmen had played themselves in, they then despatched the bad balls to the
boundary at regular intervals to win by 5 wickets with 6 overs
remaining. Nine sixes was an indication of some wayward bowling.
The bank holiday monday saw a day of rest when their hosts cried off due to a
lack of players and therefore an early night was enjoyed by all!
Middleton were the next opponents and having elected to bat first, the Green
opened with brothers Rob and Andy Middleton who entertained nobley
particularly with their running between the wickets. These two put on
49 before Rob was not suprisingly run out for 16. Numerous batsmen came
and went without overexerting the scorers whilst Andy Middleton (46) built an
excellent innings before being bowled. Sri Lankan A spinner Sadge
Fernando wreaked havoc as he turned the ball square and only Rich Birch with
28 was able to master the bowling. A useful contribution from Dave
White and rich Brown at the end saw the total to 165 off the allotted 35
overs. Guseting for the opposition, 1st eleven skipper Chris Smedley
then took a liking to opener Rich Brown taking 39 off three of his
overs. Only the introduction of Phil Spencer thwarted the run rate as
he fisrt deceived Smedley with a 'slower one' and then saw jamie Longmore
take the catch of the tour diving to his right to dismiss Jones.
Thereafter, Middleton took charge and moved comfortably to victory by 7
On the wednesday, a visit to the impressive Heywood, one of the largest
grounds in Lancashire, saw an improved performance after another early night.
Whilst chief supporters Max lloyd and tony Creese took a train trip to
Southport, Green skipper Andy Lamb, who used to play for Heywood, elected to
bat and the Green amassed 228 off 45 overs thanks in main to Tim Williams
(64) Dteve Metcalfe (44) Dave white (29) and Mark Hooper (28). Graham
Spiers made the most of his previous days rest to come steaming in to find a
good length to pick up three wickets for just 26 off his nine overs. Phil
Spencer also bowled well to pick up 4 for 19 and Chris Hill took 2 for 6 to
give the Green a resounding victory by 118 runs.
Thursday was the final game of the tour at Grimsargh on another hot and sunny
day, you just can't guarantee the weather up North. Batting first, the
Green were soon in trouble losing Roy Mayo bowled by a grubber and Steve
Metcalfe following a similar fate both in the first over. Robin Longmore
and Jez Clarke (43) took up the challenge and Longmore (40) blasted the ball
to all parts of the ground having decided that running with Jez was not a
good option having been nearly run out three times off the same ball.
When Longmore departed there were brief cameos by Jamie Longmore, two fours
and out and Mark Hooper before Chris Hill (45) and Tim Williams (28) saw the
Green through to 202 off their 40 overs. For Grimsargh, only opener
Bell who struck an excellent 76 and byes (stick to the day job Smeds) really
threatened the Greens total as Mark Hooper and Chris Hill picked up 4 wickets
a piece and Richard Birch two as the Green strolled to a 33 run victory.
The following day it was back to sunny Malvern to leave the Bolton licensees
to clear away the empty Chardonnay bottles. A big thank you goes to Jez
Clarke for his excellent organisation of the tour which once again ran like