Thanks are due to Christian Steriopolus for helping us out with the fixtures on this tour. They were both played at excellent venues and the organisation and hospitality was superb. Christian is involved with Castletown CC and the Isle of Man Team (at full and junior levels). If any other teams are thinking of a good location to tour, I can fully recommend the Isle of Man – give Christian a shout on email@example.com
After a rigorous selection process, the touring party was selected as follows:
Mildon, Dickenson, Humphreys, Nelson, Osbourn (P), Osgood, Hanmer, Osborne (D), Vanderpump, Clipsham, Gibbings.
This was a strong party, despite the absence of some key personnel. Gibbo convinced the selectors of his commitment to touring despite lurid revelations about his personal life on previous tours. Skipper Paul Mildon had proved himself on the tough cricket circuit of South London. Could he now do it on the hardest stage of all – the Isle of Man?
The tour party assembled at Gatwick Airport in the early hours of Saturday morning. Dressed in fine, and correctly spelt tour t-shirts, it was time to negotiate check in, hit the bar for a stiffener and board a small aircraft – the Whalers’ prerequisite for any tour.
The Isle of Man did not disappoint. It was a (typically) beautiful day and not a sign of the usually steady 25 mph wind. Our transport awaited at the airport – a fine fifteen seater van and we headed to our accommodation. On the way to the hotel, the Whalers crossed the Fairy Bridge – Manx legend has it that failure to greet the little people results in very bad luck in the near future. I am sure nearly all Whalers said hello, except maybe President Dickenson.
After squaring up to the Blackpool football team in the lobby, and desperate to do some sightseeing before the afternoon’s game, the Whalers headed for a fish and chip shop about 15 yards from the Hotel. Tactics were discussed for the match, against Castletown CC ‘B’…
|Castletown||191 for 9 in 40 overs (Osgood 3-41, Mildon 1-30, Clipsham 0-31, Duckfries 0-15, Al 1-33, Ads 3-34)|
|Whalers||192 for 6 in 36 overs (VDP 15, Oz 45, Gibbo 8, Dunc 39, Nelson, 2, Al 21, Duckfries 24*, Osgood 16*)|
The match was played at King William’s College – the school where the tour manager learnt his aggressive top order batting skills. It was a beautiful wicket right by the sea with a lush outfield. Not distracted by the weather, the view or the final of the Isle of Man golf championship nearby, the Whalers put Castletown in. A good performance in the field saw Osgood pick up early wickets and bowl well to a short offside boundary. Mildon was tight but unlucky, beating the outside edge on several occasions. Ads picked up some important wickets in the middle order when Castletown might have threatened to get away. A special mention as well for a (proper) SLIP CATCH by Duncan Osborne – he got down well for a big guy! Castletown batted well though to see out their 40 overs.
The Whalers got off to a good start in their pursuit of the total, with Osbourn finding the boundary as regularly usual. Scoring was restricted to one end by a tight spell from the other by the Castletown opener. Vanderpump and Osbourn fell in quick succession and there was a tricky spell for a couple of overs. Duncs steadied the ship with a rapid 39 before good work from Big Al and Dave ‘Michael Bevan’ Duckfries saw us home. It was quite a tight match and compliments to Castletown.
After a pint and a ride in the van, which was parked in a bush, it was time to hit the bright lights of Douglas. Andy Nelson had cased out the action earlier in the year, so we were in good hands……!??
- A key-board player who looked like home-owners’ vigilante Tony Martin
- 21s with a cricket-isleofman theme
- Various colourful drinks thanks to D Osgood
- Paying £40 for admittance to a bowling alley
- Some of the worst pool playing ever seen
- No sign of any women
- The colour of the skipper at 2.30am. He’s better at late nights now though.
The behaviour was generally pretty good – pity it didn’t help us in the next match.
After a leisurely Sunday morning, use of the facilities and a solid cooked breakfast…the Whalers felt fine again (?!) It was international time.
When we arrived at the ground, the opposition appeared to be young lads of 18, who’d had an early night. While certain Whalers team members damaged porcelain in the pavilion, the opposition were doing some vigorous fielding drills and generally looking the part.
The Stats (which say a lot):
|Whalers||194 for 6 in 40 overs (VDP 23, Oz 47, Gibbo 4, Dunc 58*, Al 6, Nelson 0, Ads 11, Mildon 21*)|
|IOM U 19||198 for 3 in 19.5 overs (Osgood 1-45 in 4 overs, Clipsham 0-42 in 3 overs, Hanmer 1-35 in 4 overs, Mildon 0-27 in 6 overs, Al 1-23 in 1 over, VDP 0-20 in 1.5 overs)|
It was another beautiful venue – at St Johns in the heart of the Isle of Man – close to the site of the World’s oldest continuous parliament. No doubt overawed by the sense of history, the skipper lost the toss and we were batting (good for all but 2 of the team).
A solid enough opening partnership was brought to an end when Vanderpump’s well run single caught Osbourn leaning on his bat and admiring the scenery. “Yes No Wait ….Sorry”. The presence of the tour manager’s Mum allowed him to escape serious injury when he was out shortly afterwards. A mini-collapse was averted by a thumping 58 from Duncs and a wily 21 from the skipper. We’d set the youngsters a target, but would it be enough?
Osgood charged in, dug his third ball in and was hooked for six. This was the first of some heavy punishment for our openers and the figures don’t make happy reading. The skipper bowled well, but no-one could really stem the flow of runs into the hedge / ditch / over onto the football pitch. We were only glad the opposition were paying for the balls. A fine catch at point from Dickenson couldn’t stop them either. The President then came on to bowl a now legendary over – the occasional non-half tracker / reverse yorker disappeared for six – and the ‘Slow Master’ had a tough time from some hard hitting batsmen. The Isle of Man U19 batted extremely well all round and it is fair to say we were soundly beaten. It was great to play a good match at such a good venue.
The rest of the tour passed peacefully. We eventually found a curry house open on a Sunday night, while the casino provided further entertainment. We lost Ads and our Kenyan overseas player early the next morning. They missed out on a vigorous game of five-a-side preceded (of course) by a heavy pub lunch. After taking advantage of Andy Nelson’s 10 guest BA lounge allowance, it was back home to get mentally attuned for the next weekend’s game…
Where to next year….?