Tuesday July 1st
In the modern era of ultra competitive and highly professional cricket, “nutrition” and “physical conditioning” are buzz words for creating a match winning, world dominating and highly successful team. It was with these words ringing in our ears that, on the morning of July 1st, the 2014 “Shoreham International Touring Elite” (S.H.I.T.E) gathered at the George for a pre tour nutritional fry up and “energy drink”. It was a slightly apprehensive squad that gathered that fine morning, as not only did we have the wrath of Jackson’s flatulence to contend with, we had also lost two of our elite touring team. Doug having decided that his career and job interviews (yawn) were more of a concern to him than scoring bounteous amounts of runs, which was a real problem for us as Doug is the only batsmen we have who can be described in a non ironic way as “Classic”. He was joined in the homemakers club the day before tour when, Martin “the Cat’ Wells, went down ill. Martin’s symptoms sounded remarkably like a hangover to the rest of the team and Dr Phyllis Edge was heard to remark that the cause of his illness was probably one too many Moets.
Despite these minor set backs and full of nutritional goodness we hit the road to our first tour match, a fixture against new opposition “Sparkford CC”. We did however manage to find time to drive the convoy round to Shoreham Place to wish “The Cat” our messages of good will. Far from looking too shabby it seemed Martin was in fact being primed for a few days gardening, and there was noted a desperate look in his eyes as he seemingly plotted his escape from the shears and hoes by jumping aboard one of the tour wagons. Sadly most of the squad could be best described as portly and spare seats were rarer than a Bob Stacey turning delivery so we left our out of luck stumper at home and got back on the road. But not before we had returned to the pub to pick up Patrice, who had conveniently got himself left behind at the bar…
TOUR MATCH 1 - “SPARKFORD CC”
Having been blessed with excellent traffic and a very scenic route, taking in Stonehenge and yet another beverage establishment with George in the title, we arrived at Sparkford for our first fixture. We were to be led in today’s game by moody student Alexander “Geoffrey Boycott” Mazzon, who decided that because he didn’t trust any of our side to play a forward defensive to his high standards, we would be put out to graze in the field first. George Rivett, affectionally known as “Norge The Intelligent” (1st class degree nonetheless!), fired up the pace attack and returned exactly the figures Captain Maz was after with 5-1-12-0 whilst Boberto Stacey whirled away at the other end for 7-0-39-0. With no breakthrough to be found and the opposition merrily chuntering along Maz turned to the occasional scud missiles of Dr Phyllis Edge, the missiles didn’t quite have the desired effect today and Dr Edge slightly let the cat out of the bag with figures of 5-0-41-0. It was down to the Sunday Team Captain and master of swing Jackson Fury to make the much needed breakthrough having the opener Pulling caught very spectacularly by Maz for 54. This was no ordinary catch, for Capt Maz took it one handed and at the most peculiar of angles. It was concluded that Maz had dislocated his spine, rolled over like an eel and stuck out a hand covered in glue to bag the wicket, so ridiculous was the catch. We had heard rumours of him playing competitive frisbee, but as everyone knows that nobody over the age of 11 plays with a frisbee, we dismissed it as the reasons for his athletic catching ability and instead focused on his dislocating spine. With the breakthrough being made Maz bought on spin at both ends and Boozy bagged the other opener Noaker (59) who couldn’t believe his luck when the leg spin buffet opened and skied a shot that he was looking to put in the back of beyond, or Danny Setterfield builders crevice (depending on how you look at it). Boozy’s final figures of 3-0-27-1 slightly take the gloss of what was mostly quality pie. Dan “DJ’ James who was on at the other end bowled some flighted filth and returned figures of 6-1-34-2, having been mostly aided by the snow on the ball as it came back down from orbit. Capt Maz then bought himself into the attack and promptly bowled the next batsmen, not normally a problem except that this chap was only a 10 years old… He was dutifully recalled and Maz promised not to bowl full speed at his stumps again, although he seemed a bit moody about it. This turned out to be a bit of a problem as the youngster started to play his shots (Turns out he had been on trial with Somerset’s under 11 squad) and despite not creaming boundaries he made us all look like rancid amateurs with his technically correct strokeplay. Maz finished up with figures of 5-0-40-1 having legitimately dismissed somebody his own size and was able supported in the death overs by Brownie 1-0-8-0 and Danny S 1-0-7-0. With only 8 extras given away by the bowling attack the opposition finished on 220, probably a scone too far but by now we had only one thing on our mind, tea!
What a tea it was, attached is a photo of the culinary treat! Coronation Chicken, the winning sandwich filling by far!
With tea consumed and the bar selling Thatchers Cider we set about our run chase with a certain swagger that normally befits the Wild West. Brownie and Ollie Haysler opened our account and it started in relatively good fashion before Nollie fell for a well constructed 15, which in turn bought the in form man Danny S to the crease. He lasted for just 5 runs before being caught and returned to the pavilion declaring that “I thought I had got that shot out of my game”, even Dr Phyllis could diagnose that he hadn’t, but we enjoyed the professional insight to his game nonetheless. In the meantime Sparkford had bought on their young 10 year old to crank up the pace attack and it was fate that he was going to get a wicket… what we hadn’t expected was it to be Boozy and for a Golden Duck… Those of us on the boundary witnessed the long walk back and hid behind those who were padded up as Boozy marched purposefully towards the changing room, a quite terrifying sight that was somewhere between the Hobbits march to Mordor and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Fortunately Capt Maz was in at the crease and we could therefore enjoy/suffer watching someone who could defend their stumps. Brownie, whose batting had always been the stuff of urban legend (nobody had ever seen it) was eventually out for a rather jolly 24. Maz was now in the company of Phyllis “Boom Boom” who didn’t disappoint and promptly went on the attack, smashing boundaries at ease, not bad for someone who had been dying on the sideline with a migraine (Hangover) just minutes before. Turns out that wearing aviator sunglasses and lying in the sun can cure migraines. It was the greatest of all Shakespearean tragedies when he fell for 49, except for the fact it was technically jug avoidance. Fortunately however “Mini Boom Boom” and tour wicketkeeper Nige was on hand to continue the attack and scored a not too shabby 32. DJ hit a pathetic 6 and Boberto Stacey bagged the second blob of the day before Brothers Rivett but on an entertaining stand for the last wicket. Rather untypical for the Rivetts they ran a number of singles before Jackson was caught for 22 leaving Norge abandoned on 18*. We had totalled 190 which considering it was us and we had just driven for 2.5 hours was not a bad effort. We enjoyed the hospitality of Sparkford CC, who were great hosts, and hoovered up the remnants of tea. A big shout out to Pat who umpired all day on only a diet of Thatchers (Sparkford know how to bribe the umpires!) With the curry booked in Yeovil we bid our hosts goodbye and headed off to eat, this was followed by some beverages in Wetherspoons (where DJ and Boberto got shouted at by an irate woman after having an argument in Italian!) and we watched the remnants of Belgium vs USA match before retiring to the hotel to get some much needed shut eye.
‘The injudicious shot of the day award’… Boozy (awarded for the worst shot of the day)
‘The don’t be shy bowl us your pie award’… Dr Phyllis Edge (awarded for the most horrific bowling figures)
‘Man of the match award’… Jackson Fury
Wednesday July 2nd.
Everyone except Boozy, who was up all night practising his forward defensive, had a reasonably good nights sleep and having taken in the sights of early morning Yeovil we had a group breakfast in Wetherspoons. With Brownie missing his tour romance Martin and moaning to anyone that would listen that Linda had him “all to herself”, it was decided to buy him a Martin replacement that he could spoon all night. Needless to say the morning drunks in Wetherspoons, who really thought they had seen everything, were treated to the oddly warming sight of an OAP being given a teddy bear and quietly wept into their beers whilst muttering “That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen”. Little did we realise that Danny S’s builders yard was hanging out the back of his three quarter length trousers again…
TOUR MATCH 2 “SHERBORNE CC”
Having played this fixture last year and realising that they have not only a healthily stocked bar but it was only a short taxi ride away, we acted like pros and left the motors behind in favour of being chaperoned to the game. Purely to help us not suffer unnecessary fatigue you understand, professional conditioning etc, nothing at all to do with the well stocked bar or the BBQ…
There had been a rumour circulating before play that we were going to be honoured by the presence of an illustrious guest in the form of the brother Rivetts grandfather Tony. This was of particular excitement because not only does anyone related to the Rivetts have some sort of comedy value, but also he’s a straight talking Yorkshireman and one who had seen Geoffrey Boycott bat “many times”. Why does it matter he had seen Lord Geoffrey bat?? Why are we so keen on Geoffrey I hear you ask?? The answer to which lies in the result of todays fixture…
With the role of captain falling to the eldest, and therefore wisest member of our squad (apparently), we were led out on to the field of play by captain Brownie, whose confidence and self esteem had soared since the arrival of “Martin” earlier in the day. Brownie set about immediately giving the whole occasion a certain sense of calypso cricket by setting up with an attacking field that was epitomised by the unusual sight, for Shoreham anyway, of 3 slips and a gully! This attacking field, allied by the wafts of day old kit and a post curry wind, meant that our openers of Nige and Maz were able to turn the screw early on and restrict the Sherborne openers. Nige’s figures of 7-0-22-0 were a testament to his ability to bowl to an off side field, a worryingly rare treat, and we felt slightly sad he had been behind the stumps the previous day, but at least he hadn’t split his trousers whilst keeping- every cloud and all that! With Nige stifling the runs Maz set about taking the wickets with some of his stingy pace attack and finished up with a rather respectable 7-0-34-3 (which did include a wide, amateur). Ollie then turned over his arm and showed great control with 7-0-43-0, further proof of his elevation towards the top of the Haysler cricketing dynasty, and in partnership with Jackson Fury held the Sherborne batsmen on a tight leash. Fury took the next wicket with an LBW shout that everyone had forgotten about by the time the umpire eventually raised his finger, good old double bounce (A Fury speciality), and finished with a respectable 6-1-29-1. With the Sherborne batting line up under the cosh we thought that we might stand a chance of restricting them somewhat, however, as we found out last year they always have a few batsmen who can turn a game, and sadly today was no different. Danny S with 4-0-23-0 and Boberto Stacey 3-0-28-0 could not halt the charge of Norton, Sherborne’s no.5, who was seemingly enjoying watching us chase the ball down the slope and hurl general abuse at Boozy on the boundary. It took an exceedingly good bit of cricket from DJ and Capt Brownie to finally send him back to the pavilion with his century looming large. Norton decided to advance down the pitch to a DJ delivery that was just wide of the off stump, what he had failed to take in to account was the exceptional flight and dip of the delivery which, on landing, turned prodigiously away from his swinging bat and thus completed the ultimate ‘delivery of deception’. He duly top edged the ball to Brownie who took an outstanding one handed catch above his head that was somewhere between a Magners advert and Saturday Night Fever, Norton falling for a well struck 93. DJ’s figures of 3-0-31-1 are slightly less impressive than the magic delivery but not as bad as Boozy’s who took Shane Warne’s advice of “Part of the art of bowling spin is to make the batsmen think something special is happening when it isn’t” a bit too literally and served up some premium buffet to be dispatched for 3-0-40-0… After a good start we had slightly let the match run away from us and Sherborne finished on a rather daunting 260.
After a classic tea which consisted of mostly cheese and pickle baguettes we set about the run chase, well, 10 of us set about it at least. Maz, sporting his limited edition custom “Joker” signature bat, see below picture, (thats what happens when you leave your bat in the company of Fury and the tourmeister!!) and Nollie set about getting the runs. Nollie’s stay of execution was brief when he was caught out for 6 runs. Boberto Stacey, promoted to the dizzy heights of NO.3(!) seemed to be enjoying the idea of scoring runs before he was run out for 11 by Maz in what was to be his first instance of Boycottism! Now dear old Maz has long been known to be a batsman who enjoys, how to put it politely, a slower pace of cricket and today was to be no different. What was a little concerning about this approach in a match like today’s was that we required 261 runs in 40 overs… We saw every manner of defensive stroke, including the lesser spotted charge down the wicket to the spinner that resulted in the unleashing of a… forward defence. As the dot balls grew and the run rate galloped off into the distance Maz could be heard to bemoan, like a wounded walrus, that nobody was hanging around to form a partnership as Phyllis (0), Nige (4), DJ (4), Norge (2) all perished with big shots whilst trying to accelerate the run rate. Grandpa Tony, sitting in a deck chair on the boundary rope and only a 99 cone short of looking like the quintessential vintage Yorkshireman, was heard to exclaim loudly about Maz “Eh bar gum, e luks li’ e’s battin fer t’draw” which was quite a statement coming from the man who had seen Boycott bat “many times”. Sadly with the draw not an option we watched the mounting defence continue until Maz final got out for 64 runs having survived despite the plethora of plans being drawn up on the boundary to run him out (sorry Maz!). Fortunately Jackson Fury was on fine boom boom form and took advantage of some novel fielding placements to give the Thatchered up members of the team something to cheer! Danny S did a few rare quick singles before being caught for 5 and Brownie came out, injured himself and promptly offered up a catch to go for 8. Boozy who had spent all night up in the corridor practising his forward defence came in at no.11, having been dropped down the order after refusing to open, and kept Fury company till the overs were up. Boozy ended on a confidence boosting 15*, which included some trademark dabs for 4, and Fury finished on a defiant 57* which pleased Grandpa Tony immensely, certainly a lot more than Norge’s three dropped catches from behind the stumps earlier on during our outing in the field… One of which was off of the author of this tour report and would have seen him tied for the leading wicket taker… not that I am bitter… Nige is still the better keeper though.
We came up well short with 203 runs, but it was still an achievement for us to get up past the 200 mark. We retired to the pavilion for a splendid BBQ and spent the evening drinking the Sherborne bar close to dry whilst winding Maz up about the fact that an international expert on Boycott (Grandpa Tony) thought he was the left handed reincarnation of the old rhubarb wielder. Having seen off the challenge of the club bar we jumped back into the taxi’s and headed into Yeovil for a spot of late night ten pin bowling, hot dogs were consumed, a few tasty beverages made it down the hatch and a good time was had by all. It transpires that we are just as bad at ten pin bowling as we are at bowling a cricket ball… still I suppose we could always become a tiddly winks team?
‘The injudicious shot of the day award’… Dr Phyllis Edge
‘The don’t be shy bowl us your pie award’… Boozy
‘Man of the match award’… Maz
Thursday July 3rd.
The sun rose on yet another beautiful day in Somerset and we prepared our wagons for the road trip to our oldest touring foe on this tour, Wimborne and Colehill CC. The journey was rather picturesque with houses older than Brownie and some lovely countryside, which was just as well since between getting stuck behind tractors and horse boxes we had plenty of time to enjoy it. Having decided to forgo breakfast in exchange for a nice pub lunch we gathered in one of Wimborne’s fine hostelries to top up our blood sugar levels and flirt with type two diabetes whilst discussing tactics for the game, which mainly consisted of not fielding first in the sorchio heat and giving Maz 12 shots of Ouzo in an attempt to get him to swing the bat (purely for cricketing reasons i hasten to add!)
TOUR MATCH 3 “WIMBORNE AND COLEHILL”
Wimborne play on a rather vast and grand pitch with boundaries that seem to blend into the horizon, which means that fielding is an exceedingly tiresome pursuit and involves an awful lot of running if the opposition get going. Sadly for us Captain Patrice lost the toss and we were inserted to field in the cauldron, a fate only made worse as our arch nemesis from Wimborne (arch nemesis is perhaps a bit strong as he is in fact a lovely bloke, but he does always scores BUCKETS of runs against us!) Saxby strolling out to the crease. Inspired by his previous day bowling antics Capt Patrice opened up with Maz who didn’t quite hit his straps and was withdrawn from the attack after two overs, having looked close to tears, as his bowling average took a bit of a hammering with figures of 2-0-18-0. At the other end Nige plugged away, giving the Wimborne openers less to mow at, and returned some fairly neat figures of 5-0-25-0. It was Boberto Stacey who made the breakthrough and disposed of the dangerous Saxby, who was looking in ominous form, with a delivery that invited the chip through midwicket. Everything was looking good about the shot, one could have lifted it from the coaching manual, the only problem was that it was hit straight at Capt Pat, who is renowned for not spilling a pint let alone a cricket ball and we celebrated a valuable scalp with a typical Shoreham man scrum. Bob finished with rather handy figures of 3-0-15-1 as Capt Pat kept rotating his bowlers in the heat and the West Kingsdown Windmill aka Danny S was bought into the attack. With Nige relieved of his bowling duties he was installed behind the stumps, which was rather fortunate as the next wicket to fall was a fantastic stumping off of the bowling of Danny, dismissing the no.3 for 18. Fantastic in the fact that Nige was in front of the stumps when he took the ball and managed to blag the umpire into giving the man out! Danny’s floaters 5-0-36-1 were replaced by DJ’s grenades 6-0-31-0 as the Wimborne batsmen kept the scoreboard ticking over. Meanwhile, bowling in shades, Fury was chuntering away at the other end and was unlucky to not be rewarded with a wicket returning tasty figures of 9-2-31-0, especially good considering the heat and the fact he had been demolishing a Domino’s pizza and hot wings at 2am the night before, I suppose he was bowling with the wind behind him! It was however his brother Norge who managed to get the wickets including the other opener Kiernan, who had by this time notched up a century, caught low down by Phyllis at point (he didn’t even split his trousers!). Norge finishing up on great figures of 6-1-21-2 being ably supported in the death overs once again by the ever dependable Nollie 3-0-15-0. The Wimborne innings closed on 207 and as we trundled off the field expectation was high since we had managed to get up round the 200 mark in our two previous matches.
Danny S and Nollie went out to open the Shoreham reply with expectation high, sadly neither quite got going and we were treated to the only double D’s of the tour as both fell for a duck. Danny’s dismissal was a homage to the batting of Maz from the previous day as he left his crease, on a charge of sorts, to play a forward defence. Unfortunately for Danny he completely missed the ball, and with it the point, of defending a delivery and was duly stumped. The process of rebuilding began with Boozy, who played some rather cultured shots to get the scoreboard moving, before perishing for 25 and Dr Phyllis Boom Boom who merrily slapped the ball around the park. We tried to keep up with the rate for most of the game and were never too far behind it, but cricket is a cruel mistress and the odd slow over here and there started to peg us back. Phyllis was by now unleashing the boom boom and managed the rare feat of clearing the boundary rope to hit the only 6 of the match and even Maz showed signs of some attacking intent. However when Phyllis was bowled for a tour top score of 76 the writing appeared to be on the wall. Jackson Fury came out swinging, not for the first time on tour, and was bowled for a quickfire 18. Mini Boom Boom Nige was promoted up the order but he could only muster a 3* and we finished on 195 from our innings. However as a time game we had held on for a draw, which was a consolation of sorts, but really we felt we had lost out narrowly on the win. Rather suspiciously and definitely one for the conspiracy theorists Maz finished on 56*… make of it what you will!
‘The injudicious shot of the day award’… Dr Phyllis Edge
‘The don’t be shy bowl us your pie award’… Maz
‘Man of the match award’… Dr Phyllis Edge
As our match weary team sat in the bar at Wimborne the last awards of the tour were handed out and a sense of growing nostalgia washed over the touring elite. It could however have just been one of Pat’s special brews, which had been escaping to freedom on the pavilion balcony during the game, who knew the pressure of captaincy could wreak such havoc on a captain’s bowels? Either way it was a very special kind of captain’s innings…
Till next year gentlemen! Huzzah!!!
Leading run scorers:
Alexander Mazzon 133 runs
Phil Edge 125 runs
Jack Rivett 97 runs
Leading wicket takers:
Alexander Mazzon 4 wickets
Dan James 3 wickets
Jack Rivett 2 wickets
George Rivett 2 wickets
Chris Brown 2 catches
Bob Stacey 1 run out
Alex Haysler 1 duck (GOLDEN)
Boberto Stacey 1 duck
Phil Edge 1 duck
Ollie Haysler 1 duck
Danny Setterfield 1 duck