A Chris Barker six from the penultimate delivery secured Southend United’s twenty20 win against Southend Cricket Club tonight.In an exhibition cricket match between the Blues and Southend CC at Southchurch Park, a United XI put up a strong batting performance to see off their opponents by four runs finishing on 136.
And having swapped footballs for cricket balls skipper Barker led by example with the bat.
“It was real good fun,” Barker told the official website after the match.
“We were left with a big run total to chase down but the boys put in a decent batting performance and we managed to sneak it at the end.
“I used to play a bit up until I was 17 when I went down the football route but I’ve not picked up a bat for a bit now.
“But I was impressed by some of the other boys as well as Ryan Hall, Elliot Benyon and Neil Harris all put in a good showing.
“It was something a bit different in pre-season and I’ll be dining out off that for a while now.”
Southend United won the toss and elected to field and were set a target of 133 to win after Ryan Hall, Gavin Tomlin and Ryan Cresswell had taken wickets off of Southend CC.
Manager Paul Sturrock opened the batting with Ryan Hall for the Blues, with the latter putting in a strong stand notching a quartet of fours on his way to 27 before he was forced to retire after getting past the 25 run limit imposed on both sides.
He was replaced by Neil Harris partnered Elliot Benyon who steered Southend United onto 81 before Benyon was also forced to make way for Gavin Tomlin.
His performance at the crease was short lived after being bowled for a single before Harris was the next Blues player to retire on 28 not out with Southend requiring 41 to win.
Cresswell then edged United onto 100 runs with four overs remaining before running out teammate Stephen Brogan allowing Barker to come into play.
Cresswell was then dismissed after being caught on the boundary and his replacement David Martin didn’t even get to face a ball as Barker ran him out for 0.
With 21 required off an over and a half Barker set about his target by first spanking a six over the beer tent before adding a number of doubles in quick session with new batting partner Ryan Leonard.
But when Leonard trudged back to the pavilion after failing to make it back home, Ryan Hall returned to the wicket for the final four balls.
Barker added a four at the boundary before a further two runs meant Southend United required three runs from the final two balls.
Not that the second one was required, as a massive six from the Yorkshireman helped his side to a four run victory.
Southend: Sturrock, Hall, Benyon, Harris, Cresswell, Brogan, Tomlin, Barker, Martin, Leonard and Woodyard.