Majorca 2013 – The ‘Send A Radio!’ Tour.
When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet the slumbering Whale knows that winter is just another step in the cycle of life; for winter turns to spring and the hibernating Whale girds itself for another year of gladiatorial jousting on the green fields of Chiswick.
The highlight of each year for our mightiest of mammals is the annual Tour – back in the mists of 2013 the knowing eyes of our patriarchal cetacean were set on the parched isle of Majorca and from the ranks of the Whale a hardy fellowship assembled.
Well, hardy apart from Osgood who provided a note from matron that his twisted sock was keeping him home in bed. Bless. So – 10 stout fellows, firm of thew and mighty of sinew stepped forward to be counted:
Al ‘El Presidente’ Dickenson
Paul ‘Dragonslayer’ Luckett
Khalil ‘Spearhead’ Ahmed
Special K the Magician, master of potions.
Richard ‘Lost Explorer’ Giles, the ‘Gilo’ aka the Gyronator.
Pete ‘Slips’ Nichols.
Sandy ‘Steely Eyed Death Tiger’ Bhogal
Rob ‘The Executioner’ Eberstein –
Kev ‘Guardia Civil’ Albery.
Pip ’Radioshack’ English
(Special mention to Channa – ‘The Chair’, missing tour member and once upon a time known as a ‘good lad’, albeit no more)
Well, with all great tours it begins in the assembly of protagonists from their feudal estates. Arranging to meet with the keeper of wicket Albery the evening prior for a sensible plan of a shared journey to the airport, Luckett was subject to a night out with Albery’s motley collection of work colleagues who were all apparently high-achieving alpha males – but maybe this is just relative to Kev himself…Luckett remained unconvinced. Nevertheless, when a flaming mojito is offered it’s rude to say no…
Luckily Sandy was promptly on time at 430am the next day at Kev’s domicile for the cab ride to the airport; Kev – surprisingly chipper albeit clearly not sober – managed to remember his Perudo set and we were away for our ridiculously early start. A midday arrival in Majorca allowed for a leisurely afternoon by the pool for some relaxing imbibitions and allowing the group to grow as arrivals trickled in whilst Pip absolutely nailed the poolside quiz.
More on the social report later – first, to business and the match reports.
Match 1 – Saturday (40 overs)
A short trip from our hotel found us at Majorca CC – a friendly, picturesque, club run by some accommodating ex-pats with a charming club-house with a vista of the glorious game of cricket unfolding against the rolling Majorcan skyline. The runes looked favourable with a strong Whalers line-up (on paper) – batting first in the scorching Spanish midday heat, the day started poorly with Vickers bowling Al for a duck; however, a recovery followed with Nicholls (35) and Albery (46) forging a stand against bowlers accustomed to maximising the facilities of the artificial pitch. It was all to end too soon and a dubious lbw for Albery saw the tides of fate turn against us and it was only a fine rear-guard action by English (36no), marshalling the tail, that saw the Whale to anywhere near respectability. Unfortunately no one could stick with Pip and an under-par 188 gave the upper hand to Majorca .
As can sometimes be the case when tour sides face each other not knowing the other, the home team had appeared to field a team composed of their stronger player and Vickers, a former school acquaintance of Kev’s, proceeded to dominate the match after his uncomfortable spell of bowling (2-22 from 8) had already put Majorca into pole position. Vickers proceed to smash 98 from 40 balls, showing just how batting friendly the surface was, and ensuring our now increasingly modest-looking total was chased down in a paltry 18 overs. It turned out that Kev’s mate used to play county crick and the gulf showed – a real spanking for the humbled Whale.
Not our finest hour and the Whale retired to the club-house to nurse beers whilst basking in the evening Balearic sunshine. Morale remained buoyant and plots were hatched to snatch victory from the gaping maw of defeat the following day…
Match 2 – Sunday (35 overs)
The Whale is a gentle and beneficent creature as befits a giant of the oceans, but the shame of capitulation – our aquatic totem enjoys it not and he sounded back to the stygian depths, leaving the freshly appointed captaincy of Luckett to issue the clarion call for victory. Luckily the opposition now no longer featured Vickers and a much more even contest ensued.
For some unknown reason Luckett was given the moniker of ‘Dragon Slayer’ after flailing a couple of boundaries the previous day and was bantered into opening. Not one to disappoint his fans, a breezy 7 was scored before going for the crowd-pleasing ‘big shot’ that was his downfall. A solid batting display nevertheless saw a strong all-round contribution from English (35), Albery (34), and Dickinson (47) building a solid foundation for a fine acceleration at the end from Giles (40no) and Eberstein (42no) – Rob in particular letting loose with some lusty blows to up the run rate nicely after being bantered from the pavilion to get a move on, which prompted a cheery wave back from him – or a death-stare – depending on your point of view. 223 was a clear improvement on the day before, but possibly still looked under-par; nevertheless, confidence now started to ripple around the team and, despite some evident dehydration amongst certain personnel, the bowlers set about their task.
Khalil, the metronome of the attack, set the standard with 1-24 off 7 – bearing in mind there was little help from the bowlers on this surface, or indeed outfield, a fine set of figures to be sure. Luckett’s Brierly-esque captaincy was all about empowering his team so it was unfortunate that English failed to set himself either a mid or long on or off, and had to field his own bowling on the boundary. Lessons learned all round. Nevertheless, Eberstein’s deliberately clever mix of beamers and length deliveries kept the batsmen guessing and snaffled him 3 wickets; the Whale was now well on top of the Majorcan middle order.
The capricious mistress of Fate was not to let the Whale bask too long in premature glory though and an apparent game-changing knock of 78 from oppo Mark, ably supporting by Steven, saw Majorca on the brink of back-to-back victories with some punishing shots going aerial with alarming frequency over the ropes; nevertheless, despite both falling in the final push to Khalil and The Explorer respectively – there were few runs to get and wickets in hand and the Whale was still facing the ignominy of a consecutive tour defeat. A cricket game is never over until it’s over though and a run-out via the English/Albery combo saw the tension ratchet back up a further notch. Luckett, a modern thinking captain of his generation, appraised the situation and saw the coiled presence of Sandy, waiting for his moment of glory…on comes Bhogal – and despite getting smacked for 26 runs in his first over showed his mettle and deceived the last Majorcan bat into a false shot pouched by Nichols at deepish mid-wicket. Sweet, Sweet victory by 15 runs – a score-line more comfortable on paper than it was in the flesh.
Well, it’s amazing what you can fit into 3 days and 2 nights that also feature 2 full days of cricket – but the following all happened plus huge amounts more I’m sure.
- Sandy destroying at least 1 toilet.
- Sunday sponsored post-match victory swim – much like the walrus, Gilo is very graceful in the water…
- Perudo – It takes real presidential swagger to throw not 1, not 2 – but 3! – dice away. Bravo Al.
- Fives in Spanish. Cultural richness being spread around the world.
- Pip getting inexplicably lost on the way home, and texting Luckett to ‘Send A Radio!’ at 3am. If I could have done, I would of Pip. Truly.
- Casino trip – I don’t remember this at all. Fairly sure money was lost.
- Kev jumping all some cars whilst being eyed balefully by the cops – not really sure how you didn’t get arrested there chap.
- Kev getting into a fracas with a bouncer. Standard.
- Whalers dominating the pool-side entertainment on Friday – quizzes, air-rifles et al.
- Late arrival Al on Friday finding the touring party was absolutely hammered.
- Tour Phrases – Ubiquitous, Cornu copia, Sanguine.