boys down their milk rations on tour
Which cunningly brings us to the
tour. Oh yes,
it was back to the jolly old Ponsmere for the sixth tour to Cornwall.
Only two games were scheduled this year and one of those never happened due to the opposition not turning up. Our reputation
seemingly precedes us, ahem.
As for the game that did go ahead at Mount Hawke, they hadn't beaten
us in four previous attempts. We defended a miserly total of 71, a
total that we've won tour games before - but not this time and we came second.
Not a close second either. In fact the game was over so early we had
a beer match, which we ironically won. The first win of 2001 and it was a Beer
Match! Very worrying. The weather was fantastic however, probably the best
tour weather we've
ever experienced, evidenced by the dregs of the party sitting outside the hotel at
3.00am on a balmy Monday night / Tuesday morning. Bliss.
first "real" victory of the year cunningly brings us to the official Old Woking game where they surged to a large score, thus sowing seeds of a possible thrashing in our minds. Tossing cares and other delicate niceties in all directions we had a “go” and the game “went” all the way to a well-earned draw. From
this encouraging performance came a brace of victories: the first was versus Royal Ascot III on a nasty day reminiscent of the wet winter past when not too many clubs had a suitably dry home ground available. Steve Cave gave as much of the strike as he could to Matt (who scored a much-welcomed half-century) and we couldn’t really feel that smug as we soundly beat them, we've been there before! The second came the following week against Tilford, that rather lovely setting near the river (and the pub). Last year, Matt got his maiden century here while this year saw Mike Hills blossom into the arrogant
stroker we all know (and nearly love) as he belted an uncompromising 86 with sweat to match. Craigie Boy also took four
vital wickets proving he’s not such a wuss as he makes out after all.
Brookwood saw a continuation of our
new-found form where both teams put in a valiant effort which ended in a draw. The Sunday after at Pirbright was without doubt the hottest playing day of the year, absolutely sweltering. Adie Barrett arrived just in time to go home again and collect his kit, desperately hoping Matt would bat first if he won the toss. This game went all the way to the wire,
Pirbright needing two runs off the last over. The experienced man was
tired and could only creep a single. We came unstuck attempting to remove their new man: any
short-sighted batsman with goldfish bowls for lens, a hockey-stick for a bat and a stance indicating that he’d lost his horse must
go. True to form we failed and he stayed to claw a draw with the scores level.
We held out against Claygate seconds although exactly what we held out was not noted.
Which brings us fairly and squarely up the final straight to Chobham where the wheels well and truly came off our chariot. To cut a short story even shorter we were short of players, Bertie Lamberth scheduled to arrive
after work at 3.00pm, just in the nick of time to miss the entire game. Yep, we were all out for thirty, yes, THIRTY runs, our lowest score since Isleworth village thirteen years or so before. Time for another Beer Match
and – our record in these is excellent – oh yes, we won that again.
After the Lord Mayor's Show that was 2001 passed, we
unfortunately didn't have enough people available for the Annual Awards
Dinner which we normally held at Chobham. Instead, we held a Players Awards
Dinner which doubled as a Christmas "do" at the same time at
the Fox & Hounds in Horsell. Most of us were there, Jowallika in
his custard yellow shirt which some kind fellow saw fit to emblazon
with red wine. No matter, it clashed well with the tropical yellow shirt of Ben
Pudney who had declined to do his hair the same colour (he had done so
once before). With Tim sadly unable to play very often at all the
field was much more open in most of the categories. One category that
was a no-contest from early on was the Your
Shit - AAGGHH!" Award, given jointly for the first time ever to Adie
Barrett and Howard Turner, who
bowled the worst overs of the year. A much more contested prize is the
highly-rated (for those who are NOT in the running) is the "Quack
Quack Ooops" Award, which Ben Pudney won 5, one of which a golden
counts as two. And deservedly so. The Players' Player of 2001 was to a much surprised but
Mike Hills for his all round performance. He's such a nice bloke,
despite what we may allude to sometimes.