Saturday, 27 August 2011

A captain's performance, at least with the ball...

After much organisation by Duncan and myself, we finally departed for Stafford CC's first tour for about 20 years on the 24th August. Sadly despite the best efforts of our hosts our first fixture at Thornbury CC was washed out as first a large downpour engulfed us about 20 minutes before the scheduled start, then further rain arrived later just as the ground was getting agonisingly close to playable. Our hosts saved the day though with tremendous hospitality, and we had a competitive drinking game to settle "the battle of the knot", as incredibly their logo is the same as ours due to a former Lord Stafford's strong ties in the area.

For our second fixture, however, our hosts were not so accommodating. To be perfectly blunt, it seemed they simply couldn't be bothered with the fixture, had left the wicket uncovered as it rained hard the night before and when we turned up they rather curtly told us the fixture was off. This despite Thursday afternoon seeing by far the best cricket weather of the tour. We went via a well-lubricated pub lunch to a local bowling alley, and after starting with two strikes in a row I think I finished about 5th or 6th out of the 17 of us.

So on Friday it was all or nothing, and thankfully our hosts Bishopston CC were outstanding in their efforts to get the game going. The wicket was probably no better than it had been the day before, damp and sticky, but the ground was beautiful, set in the middle of a retirement village with a large, expertly-manicured outfield. Since rain was expected we decided on a 20/20 and started half an hour early, and as had been agreed before the tour I was to captain the game, my first match in that role. I arranged with my opposite number that they should bat first as I felt this way my bowlers and fielders would be more likely to be sober and we'd get a full game, and although it wasn't a popular decision in the dressing room (I think the balance of opinion was about 10 to 1, you can guess which way) I stuck my guns and we went out to field.