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Thursday, 7 October 2010

Burnt clutches, butter fingers, wheelchairs and childrens boxes... what a tour- La Manga 2010

Maladroits tour to La Manga - September 2010

Edward Bowes reports...

Squad: Brewer*, Carrington, Retter, Ryder, Drought, Roundell, Lowis, Boland, Bowes, Toovey (& Lees)

Final position: Defeated in the semi finals

After a flight cancellation debacle on the day we were due to travel, it was with immense relief that 11 Maladroits made it to London Gatwick on time and in good heart, early on Friday morning. Good fortune was already on our side as it turned out that Boozer was right at the front of one of the longest check-in queues in world queuing history just in time for the other 10 members of the team to rock up and place their bag down.

A flight, some more queuing and a drive later we arrived at La Manga Club Resort fit and raring to go, and also quite hungry. No game that afternoon meant we had three lined up back-to-back on the Saturday - a daunting prospect but well within the fitness capabilities of the Maladroits team. It was lucky we had brought a large squad…

A beer and some food followed at one of the most expensive cafes in world cafĂ© history (hope that dry chicken leg was well worth the £6 Tooves??) before a night out on the lash began. Some wimped out early, in the knowledge that 3 games in a day was a big ask, but some went long. Dressed up in garish jackets and ties (Simon) and surrounded by chavvy golf tourists, the Maladroits did themselves proud by absolutely nailing the Pulp classic ‘Common People’ whilst pointing at all the revelers in the bar…. superb choice of song by Leesy, probably the high point of his tour.

10am Saturday morning. First match vs. Buckhurst CC Maladroits to field first.

Simon ‘Round as in circle e double l’ opened up from the top end and immediately dug in a sharp bouncer that took the surprised batsmen on the glove and ballooned to the slip and gully region. Bowesy leapt forward like a salmon, doing incredibly well to even get to the ball on the full. Unfortunately he put it down but it was a really fantastic effort.After that the ‘droits bowled and fielded pretty well with memorable performances coming from Tooves, who bowled tidily for his 2 for 24, and Paddy who bowled well but also took a great catch. Maladroits had been set 112 to win from 20 overs – a target that was well within reach and looked even more achievable after JC and Ash got after the bowling in the powerplay overs. JC got 37 and set up an opening match victory, with Ash (24) and Glen also playing their part with the bat.

The second match was against Combined Colleges CC and Maladroits fielded first, preferring to chase down a target. The bowling and fielding was slightly less tidy but Simon again bowled well, and threateningly, as did Matty. A few catches started to go down, setting the trend for the day and living up to the Maladroits name. A target of 146 was always going to be tough but was certainly gettable. An early wicket brought Bowesy to the crease and he managed to make up for the first game by hitting a few sixes and getting the run-rate going again. He was soon to be joined by Ryder (rural destroyer), the soon-to-be Dad, and together they gelled like Haynes and Greenidge, or Langer and Hayden. Ryder batted like a dream, nudging and nurdling his way to about 30 before powering on like a hungry farmer (which is what he is) to take him past 50 and take the Maladroits to victory. Played two, won two. You can’t do better than that. 100% record. No mistakes. Clinical and efficient.

Then we played the third match (v Sahara CC). A match characterised by the most amount of drops ever seen in one innings in the history of world cricket. It was comical at times and spectators must have thought, having seen our previous two games, that we taking the p*ss in an attempt to push their total up and give us a real challenge. However, this was genuine eponymous ineptness. It would be remiss to list the ‘dropees’ here, mainly because it would basically be just a list of the whole team. In amongst the catching, or lack of it, there was some good bowling. However we bowled 15 wides, which, at 2 runs a wide, was simply not good enough and cost us dear. A target of 192 was a lot. Ash strode to the crease for his last sober innings of the tour and proceeded to play the sort of innings that the Mongoose bat was made for. He made 50 and only actually connected with the ball 9 times, hitting seven 6’s and two 4’s! Some of the shots he played have never been seen before in world cricket – a six over extra cover off the back foot. Bowes made a few at the other end and others chipped in, in a valiant attempt to keep up with the run rate. At one stage the oppo were getting a little quiet but it couldn’t be maintained and we were soon out of it but not before a comedy over from Lees. Fearful of a seeing off a maiden over, not a good thing in 20/20 cricket, an increasingly sweaty Lees looked to hit a 6 over long-on off the last ball. Unfortunately he only succeeded in turning it into a wicket maiden!!

A good effort to chase down a big score but a defeat nonetheless. However, we had made it to the semis on Sunday morning so all was not lost.

Saturday evening saw all the players and administrators gather in the resort’s Mexican restaurant for an unexpectedly decent buffet. The Maladroits also put up a good show in the raffle, buying a lot of tickets and taking home 50% of the prizes, including 6 bottles of wine and a child’s box. Another victory for us and La Manga CC, our opponents in the semis sensed that we meant business.

The usual tour high jinx then carried on late into the night, highlights being the drinking of jaeger bombs out of the aforementioned box, Glen wiping out and effectively ruling himself out of the crucial semi-final and Ash getting more drunk than any other human in the history of drinking.

10am Sunday morning. Semi-final vs La Manga CC. Top pitch.

Maladroits sent into the field again, La Manga to bat first. Simon ‘Round as in circle e double l’ opened up from the top end again and again looked sharp. He accounted for a quick opening wicket and this brought a familiar-looking Yorkshire lad to the crease. We had played against him before, for Sporting Alfas, and Boozer dropped him on 0 before he went on to get 80. We were hoping this wouldn’t happen again but, sure enough, a thin nick from Simon presented itself as a very tough diving chance to Boozer. Like Groundhog Day, he dropped it again! Some good bowling from the spin twins Bowes and Toovey as well as tidy stuff from Matty, Paddy and Ed Ryder meant that La Manga were being well restricted. That was until the number 5 batsman came in and smacked it to all parts, making 50 odd in 15 balls! There was a not a lot the Maladroits could do about it but it meant we had been set another total over 180.

Ash and Bowesy opened the batting, with the former prepared to take on the quick Spanish international opening bowlers with no lid, half a bat and still drunk. After his innings the evening before expectation was high. This was short lived however as his swung and missed the first three balls before being castled by the fourth! Top quality Maladroits cricket – awesome one minute, dreadful the next! JC soon departed, unluckily guiding a bouncer straight down third man’s throat before Ryder and Bowes put on a bit of partnership. We were always behind the run rate but at one point there was a glimmer of hope. Ryder was bowled, playing the sort of shot that his job title would suggest, and Bowes was caught in the deep and the Maladroit effort was close to being over. Not before another comedy batting effort from Lees, who set off up the other end after one of his trademark late cuts only to be sent back. Dropping his bat and then dipping for the line like Usain Bolt didn’t save him unfortunately and he was run out by some way! Some nice batting from Simon and Boozer showed La Manga that we weren’t going to be rolled over and they both had a nice gentle end of season knock.

A defeat in the semis. Some great cricket played against a pretty high standard of opposition. Maladroits can be proud that we played, and competed, at this level. Above all that, we played in the right spirit throughout and all had a jolly good time.

Huge thanks to JC for organising the tour and to Boozer and Ash for their administration work to make it all run smoothly.

Scintillating final ball win to do the double on Sheen CC

East Sheen CC vs Maladroits CC – 12th September 2010-09-14

East Sheen

Maladroits won by 2 runs

JC Carrington reports…

The last game of the season on UK soil saw a somewhat depleted team of 9 men turn up to an unusually sunny East Sheen Common. Typically, we lost the toss and where put into bat. Nails and Ash opened the batting and got off to a steady start with Nails holding down one end as Ash took on the opening bowlers in his usual aggressive manor. The first wicket fell as Ash missed a good away swinger and was promptly ‘stumped’ whilst standing a foot outside his crease and practicing the shot he should have played (this as later to earn his DOTD award).

As so often happens, 1 wicket will bring 2, in fact it bought 3 with Glen and JC only just avoiding ducks whilst competing on who would get a chance to bat again (lowest score had another go since we were short on numbers). Who did the captain turn to when in need to stead the ship, none other than Mike Brenner! Nails continued to play some lovely cover drives and work the ball around the field while Mike took his opportunity batting up the order and smashed some classical straight drives past the bowler. The opposition captain was running out of ideas and as a result bought on his strike bowler in the form of Dusty the Destroyer. Whilst his first over was dispatched for 15, he recovered by taking the price wicket of M Brenner, who holed out to cow corner – great knock for 41!

This bought Matty to the crease, who was under pressure to score some runs on this ground having produced some match winning performances away from home but not quite converting this form at East Sheen. Needless to say, he got off the mark with a tick outside edge through the slips. He was then bowled by the ever present Dusty with a ball that apparently turned. By this point, Charlie had recruited a 10th man from Gumtree, who he promptly put into bat. First ball, a little nervous on debut and with Dusty in fall swing there was only going to be one result....OUT. This was a first of Dusty and in unknown territory bowling a hatrick ball, the field was bought in and the pressure was on the new bat – Simon, another debutant who hadn’t picked up a bat in 3 years. If in doubt, hit across the line....OUT!!! Scenes like this will never be seen again on Sheen Common. With Nails departing for a very well played 54 (thank you to the Drovers for loaning your player out) and the score in the balance at 125 for 6 we needed a captains innings. Boozer did not disappoint! A very well timed 63 not out lifted the total score to 225 all for 9, with a little help from 9 lives Toovey.

With 40 overs and 10 wickets to make 226, East Sheen where in confident mood during tea (which were to the usual high standard to which we have become accustom). Some tight bowling and solid fielding was required, and despite only having 10 men, the Maladroits where more than up to the task. Opening Bowlers Glen and Venu both made up for their issues with the bat with tight, aggressive bowling, immediately putting East Sheen under pressure (1 for 28 off 8 and 1 for 31 off 8 respectively). However, the run rate ticked along nicely (not helped by JC’s 2 overs!) and the captain had had only one option – Toovey and Matty Boland took up the challenge. Matty bowled well for his 2 for 34, however Toovey was the stand out bowler, himself having a chance of a hatrick. His final figures of 3 for 39 were rewarded with the Man of the Match award. Despite some heated exchanges towards the end of the innings, the Maladroits held firm with Ash bowling a quality final over for just 3 runs when 8 were needed.

Great finish to the domestic season. Onwards and upwards for the Tour to La Manga!

MOTM – Toovey

Fielder of the Day – Simon

DOTD – Ash

Outstanding performances – Boozer (63*) / Nails (55)

Teas – 78%