Ed Barnard has all the credentials to be a fan favourite.
In fact, head 45 minutes down the M5 from Edgbaston and you’ll find a Membership who still hold the 27-year-old in the highest regard.
Now a Bear, Barnard has settled immediately, showcasing his all-round ability to impact all facets of the game. With five wickets and a dogged 49 against Surrey in the bank, Barnard led his side with the bat.
Coming in at six on 164/4, Barnard struck 95, creating partnerships of 86 with Sam Hain and 125 with Michael Burgess, to leave the field with his side in the strong position of 375/6.
That first century as a Warwickshire player eluded him, waiting two nights and losing a day’s play can do that to any batter, but this writer will take the blame.
On 95, I perched myself in the stand, camera ready, hoping to get that special milestone, but two balls later it wasn’t to be. I did apologise and thankfully he didn’t blame me.
“It’s always a difficult one, especially when you have to wait quite a while,” said Barnard. “You try to keep it off your mind, but it’s difficult. If you’d had offered me 95 at the start of the game I would have snapped your hand off.
“It’s always a nice feeling to get to three figures, but I’m sure there will be another chance to reach it. When you join a new Club you always want to get that first performance on the board. I’ve been pleased with how I’ve been bowling and the way I’ve been hitting it. That 45 last week and now this is a positive for me.”
Barnard’s performance was critical in the Bears’ innings and 84-run victory, but it was somewhat overshadowed on that final day.
181 ahead with 87 overs remaining in the day, most supporters were expecting a tantalising day’s play with many ups and downs.
Instead, they saw a new ball masterclass with Rushworth claiming a devastating 7/38, with match figures of 10/76.
Rushworth produced high-quality movement to slice up Hampshire’s batting line-up for 97, having been 35 for nine, and set up Warwickshire’s first victory at the Ageas Bowl since 2010.
“It was pretty special that one and it was pleasing to see Rushy impress again. You don’t see spells of bowling like that,” added Barnard. “We put in a really strong performance all game and deserve the points.
“All the chat pre-season, and in the early part of the season, is about being positive and winning games of cricket. We’ve been in good positions in most of the games, Surrey was disappointing, but apart from that, we’ve had good chances to win the others. That’s a good sign moving forward.
“I’m loving my time here and the lads have been great. We’re winning games of cricket and that’s the most important thing as I’ve come here to win a title.”
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