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Tour match 3 (3rd scheduled) 2017: March 19

Lanzarote Cricket Association International T20 Tournament

Strollers go large in Lanzarote
posted: March 27, 2017

Pimlico Strollers vs Alder

Apart from the imperishable glory of victory, of course, a principal incentive to beat Redbourn was that we would be spared the pressure of a challenging 10am game the next day. But, eschewing prudence with a cavalier disregard that is our watchword, we were duly beaten by Redbourn and earned for ourselves a chastening early start the next day to play Liverpudlians, Alder CC — themselves reeling from two consecutive losses. Did this mean we moderated our transports on Saturday night? Of course it bloody didn't.

It was Matt and Simon's first night out and, as Matt had just concluded a big case in court and Simon had spent the greater part of the last four weeks in attendance at Leighton Hospital, both of them went for it with some gusto. As Matt later confided, in some distress, “I don't have a pause button.”

But their efforts were more than matched by Davey C, who was determined not to be outdone by the late arrivals. There were beers, an excellent dinner, and loads and loads of Vodka Fantas. In days of yore, this was an occasional pick-me-up, a bit like one of Jeeves's specials. Taken at tea-time at Magaluf many moons ago it inspired us then to a famous victory. Now it seems to have become the tipple for all seasons. I'm not sure I can drink one again.

We visited many many bars, were shown exceptional hospitality at Five-Two, which several Strollers enjoyed particularly, and it all got a bit messy. After a customarily rousing team rendition of club anthem Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’ in a local karaoke bar, George and Matt and the two Daves went clubbing about 5am. Matt got a bit fighty with a cabbie and then attempted to crash a party hosted by teenagers in a neighbouring apartment to our hotel. Etc. Etc. This writer has no recollection of getting home. His last memory is having a nice chat in Five-Two.

So, the 9am pick-up came all too quickly and any resemblance between the 10 Strollers and 73-year old John Horton that turned up at the football ground and cricketers was entirely coincidental. 

Gav thankfully won the toss and elected to bat, to the almost tearful relief of at least nine of us. Whether this was a good thing is in fact a little doubtful. It is the contention of this writer that batting with a paralytic hangover is a bit more challenging if less painful than fielding. The accuracy of this theory was to be proven in the next two hours. 

The scorecard for the innings of the Strollers makes remarkable reading. Harsh made a splendid, quite heroic, 91 not out — all the more remarkable given that even he was feeling the full effects of the previous evening’s activities. The rest of the team amassed fully with eight runs, and there were 54 extras. One has never seen a scorecard quite like it, even for those that have been around and participated in the Strollers' brand of laughable cricket for a long time.

None of this should take away from Harsh's achievement, which together with his four wickets and 70 runs in games one and two, would justly earn him the Player of the Tournament award (more on that later). He really deserves better. 

Spencer was out LBW for the second time in two days and really was this time. The skipper went out at number three, a position he loathes and for which he predicted the direst failures. It took precisely one ball for those predictions to be fully realized with a neat chip into backward point's hands.

Tum had a but of a flail (oooer Mrs...) and was bowled while Davey batted like a man who had been drinking for 72 hours straight. It all began to fall away quite alarmingly and we stumbled to 154 off the 20 overs, a total we knew was at least  some 15-20 runs short of what we wanted. The next highest scorer after Harsh was Matt, who amassed 4. Without Harsh it would have been very ugly indeed.

Gav, skippering for the last time, got us into a huddle to press upon us the need for a win. We should have known then that this wouldn't end well. 

However, things started quite promisingly. Simon had the opener Scott caught by Gav at midwicket (his third catch in three days, perhaps the curse is slain?) and in the next over bowled number three Aitchison with a nice Yorker. This man was apparently the class act of the side, so perhaps we were destined for good things?

Alas this proved to be the last wicket to fall. There were a couple of half chances, but no more wickets.  With an asking rate of less than eight an over and with short boundaries this was always going to be tough total to defend without constant tumbling of wickets. Alder made it over the line with over an over to spare and the wooden spoon was duly claimed by the indefatigable Strollers. 

The last appointment of the tour was our required attendance at the tournament’s closing ceremony hosted by the LCA that evening at Lineker’s Bar (an establishment ‘on the strip’ in the new town belonging to England football legend Gary’s brother and to be correctly pronounced ‘Line-acre’ as 1970s captain Mick Channon was apt to say back in the day).

Here, in his final act as Strollers skipper, Gav stepped up to face the music and accept the surprisingly large and shiny award for 6th place from the LCA officials. Presented with a mic and resisting the temptation to break into a fitting Irish ballad lamenting the team’s performance, in his acceptance speech Gav congratulated our hosts on their victory (the Lanzarote side themselves winning the tournament overall) and duly made a point of thanking Jack and his team, including not least our chirpy Geordie driver for the weekend, Steve – a man forced to put up with ferrying around with not just us but four other p#ssed up cricket teams from Blighty over the weekend …a patient soul if ever there was one.

Despite our lowly showing as a team, the ceremony finished on a resounding high when Harsh — having over the course of the three matches bagged 4 wickets and stacked up an astonishing batting average of 161, dismissed only once — was deservedly presented with his Player of the Tournament award, giving the rest of us some succor that we could at least bask in his reflected glory a little.

Whatever our fortunes had or hadn’t been on the field of play we had been quite spectacularly looked after and, in Jack, found perhaps the best-organised, unflappable and good-natured tour host this writer can recall. In response to our heartfelt thanks we were duly invited to return to contest the tournament again and I for one very much hope we take the opportunity in future years to come back and give a better account of ourselves on the pitch.

Off the pitch the tour will doubtless be remembered as nothing short of legendary (certainly in terms of the scale of subsequent hangovers) and, with some sun on our backs and some time in the middle already under our belts (albeit only a very little time in my case — Ed) we have had our cricketing appetites thoroughly whetted for the season ahead.

Stroll on!

Gavin Richardson & Simon Boughey

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