To continue our attempt to cast off the winter cricketing blues, BGCC website recalls our summer tour with the first part of our tour diary:
Leading up to the beginning of August, there were doubts as to whether the famous Barrow Gurney Cricket Tour would take place at all. The hotel had cancelled on us, one set of opponents were unable to put out a team and of course there were the perennial worries about whether we would have enough players. All of this proved quite a test for the normally phlegmatic Rod, our tour organiser, who also feared the magnificent weather of the summer would suddenly turn and we would get rained off.
But on a pleasant Monday morning we set off, first stop Wetherspoons in Nailsea for breakfast and to sort out car space for kit and passengers. Whilst sampling the delights of the full English, the non-drivers started early on the amber nectar before we had to digest the news that the day’s opponents, Abbotskerswell, were unable to play the scheduled 40 over game due to player availability. With extra time suddenly on our hands it was decided that we would go and check out the hotel, the last minute find after last year’s accommodation cancelled on us.
On arrival in Torquay we were welcomed or rather pounced upon by a rather enthusiastic son of the proprietor to show me where (and how) to park in the rather awkwardly shaped car park. 15 minutes of the car parking sensors wailing, my wing mirrors indicating certain collision with a wall, and several blood pressure tablets later, the young man happily pronounced I was parked to his satisfaction. Somewhat shakily I approached reception to receive the check in protocol and a guided tour with a list of a few “dos” and a lot more “don’ts”. The proprietor was understandably nervous of accommodating a cricket club of whom he probably knew very little.
At least there was no problem with my single room this year; so no-one would have to suffer the consequences of my snoring! After having settled in we headed off to Abbotskerswell, to find (as always) a warm welcome and some happy hospitality in the wooden pavilion. It took about 5 seconds for the younger Barrow players to head off to the nets, not for practice but to play the traditional “one hand one bounce”, while our chairman and groundsman headed off to inspect the equipment shed with his counterpart.
Phil Milton was captain for the day and winning the toss decided to bat first on a glorious evening. Barrow opened with two of their Sri Lankan “guest” players Hashan and Roshan. It was Hashan who immediately caught the eye playing a stylish innings and was relatively untroubled as he made his half century, with home-grown Guy Fisher continuing his good form of late falling just shy of a 50 himself. Barrow put on a competitive 159-4 in their 20 overs.
In reply Abbotskerswell opener Connor Adams also made a half century whilst overseas player Ricky, a modern-day version of the great Richie Richardson treated us to some languid stroke play in his floppy sunhat just like the great man. Abbotskersell however never recovered from a slow start against some accurate bowling by Mark Fisher and Hashan in particular and when they tried to accelerate, they lost key wickets as Oscar Livesey took 2/19. Barrow ran out the winners by 16 runs. By which time the barbecue was all fired up and we decided to stay and enjoy it whilst the sun set on day one of the tour.
Then we repaired to the hotel for a few drinks out on the terrace where the cooler night air was very welcome after such a hot day. The fact that we were able to stay chatting well beyond curfew began to suggest that the hotel rules were a little more flexible then we first thought, although I was not brave enough to attempt the car park again, preferring a bit of a walk!
After we had all run out of banter and the “in-jokes” had been exhausted, the oldies retired to bed whilst the younger members of the party headed off to Torquay’s only night spot where reports suggest a good time was had by all and one member of the party brushed up on his French conversation.