Everards County League: Flowers ton spares Barkby blushes

Barkby United, from left, back - Eamonn Bourke, Rob Townsend, Aiden Morris, Tom Flowers, Matthew Harby, Max Carmichael; front - Matthew Boyce, Martin Troop, Stephen Flowers, Jamie Drake, Ian Kirk. EMN-160906-150543002

Barkby United, from left, back - Eamonn Bourke, Rob Townsend, Aiden Morris, Tom Flowers, Matthew Harby, Max Carmichael; front - Matthew Boyce, Martin Troop, Stephen Flowers, Jamie Drake, Ian Kirk. EMN-160906-150543002

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A superb unbeaten ton from stand-in captain Tom Flowers rescued Barkby United from defeat at home to Barrow Town on Saturday.

The hosts were without key players Matt Boyce, Rob Townsend and Ian Kirk, but on a humid, overcast day, Barkby won the toss and invited the visitors to bat on a green track softened by overnight rain.

Strike bowlers Jack Johnson and the returning Ryan Waplington struggled to pin down the openers, not helped by two dropped catches.

Change bowler Max Carmichael was introduced early but also struggled to find any rhythm as Barkby wasted the new ball.

At 100-0 off 18, Barkby faced a difficult afternoon, but again the spinners changed the game. Bowling in tandem, Eamonn Bourke and Jamie Drake (2 for 44) made inroads into the Barrow line-up, Bourke (2 for 66) taking the first wicket of Ramesh Kara (37).

Avator and Salgotra both made half-centuries, but the spin duo reduced the visitors to 160-4.

The Flowers brothers then took over, Steve grabbing the key scalp of Salgotra for 70. Tom finished with 3 for 34 and Steve burgled 3 for 23 to bowl Barrow out for 230 in the 49th over as all 10 wickets fell to spin.

Makeshift opening pair Tom Flowers and Bourke began the reply against a moving new ball. Bourke was well held in the gully and Matt Harby was bowled two balls later as Barkby slipped to 20-2.

Steve Flowers hit a quick 15 before a rash shot saw him caught at point, and Aiden Morris and Jamie Drake came and went quickly as Barkby collapsed to 58-5.

Young Billy Tebbatt, on his Premier League debut, stood up well and provided valuable support to the free-flowing Flowers who pulled and drove ferociously, punishing anything loose.

Tebbatt perished for a well-made 13, but support from Martin Troop (10) and Ryan Waplington (7) gave Flowers freedom to carry on playing his shots and compile a second century of the season; a chanceless knock in difficult circumstances.

As wickets fell, the skipper decided to shut up shop and secure valuable draw points. He and number 11 Johnson saw out a tense final five overs as Barkby finished on 192-9, Flowers carrying his bat for a magnificent 114.

Barkby collected 11 points and hope to be back to full strength on Saturday for the trip to Market Harborough (12.30 start).