Man of Tour
Posted by Ollie McGuinness on 22/07/2017 09:34
The Tavs’ first tour of the season, in this case the domestic variant, was for the first time to trial a 2 night-3 match format thanks to the ever reliable Alo organising a Friday night t20 against Ickleton CC. As is tradition we congregated outside the Prince of Wales in Pond Square and after a few swifties dispersed into various vehicles and made for Cambridge, Stan leading the way in his Fuck Truck. Arriving at the campsite, tents were erected and disputations over penile-pigmentation began early; there was no time for such endless debate so we decided to head to #Icklefest17.
Arriving at the pub’s car park, Bobby couldn’t help but note the homely sensations he was receiving from this Smallville-esque village; the Tavs passed through a small gap in a stone wall and were presented with a lush yet well maintained pitch in an aesthetically quaint setting suitable for the middle-classed activities due to take place. The toss was won by the skipper and ABF was deployed, Joe and Bobby striding out to the crease with the former set to take first ball. After a steady start Quinn fell for 6, leaving the Tavs 15-1 as Sam joined Food; the campervan dweller scorched an innings of 25 off just 21 balls including a sizeable six over cow before eventually being caught. Meanwhile at the other end Bobby was playing the role of the hero, dispatching Ickleton’s best efforts with disdain whilst never seeming in trouble. Eventually ICC’s Wombwell proved to be his kryptonite, drawing the mistimed shot for a catch and bringing Bobby’s 6 boundary innings to a close for 43 off 42: a truly heroic knock. The experienced tourist Pervoe proceeded to blitz an impressive 20 off just 18 balls, playing some elegant shots before falling in an identical manner to S. Smith. Skipper Thomas and McGuinness finished off the clinical innings, the former scoring 23* off his 18 balls faced and with all batsmen bar one scoring at a run-a-ball or higher, the Tavs amassed a favourable total of 146-4.
An unanswerable opening spell followed from Alo, Bobby showing sheer delight for his Lois Lane, whilst Ollie offered strong support from the other end. Browning’s continually nagging length intertwined with the straighter variation saw him rewarded with figures of 2 for 12 off his 4 overs, an economy rate made only more impressive given the shorter format being played. The Ickleton batsmen were no fools with the bat and as Ollie got their other opener nicking off behind, the whispers of proper cricket accompanied a touring side who knew they were in the game. One Tour Virgin and another Tour Stalwart took responsibility for 1st change, Tom bowling extremely tightly to only concede 7 runs across 3 overs whilst also picking up a wicket. Barry’s bowling bore slightly more resemblance to Rev’s sphincter yet still earned respectable figures of 1-13 off his two despite making an early push for the Golden House award after being carted back over his head for 6 (shades of JB Jnr off Alo at North London). Stan also picked up a wicket from his one over, a decent catch in the deep from Sam. It was not his catching ability that would steal the headlines for Smith however but rather his wily leg spin, delivering an over of pure deception finished off with his trademark googley (still not doing much, Scott) to earn the Man of the Match award and figures of 3-1 off 1. Babycham moment was unanimous as the unstoppable force of Joe and the immovable object of Rev collided under a skier resulting in a drop (quite how fusion didn’t occur is still beyond me), and the Tavs came out victorious by 79 runs: a monumental victory against a good side and most importantly, a TOUR WIN. The Tavs greatly enjoyed #Icklefest17 – an annual event at the oppo’s pub – and even created a physical jug train inside the discotheque that shall never be forgotten.
Awaking to find that the night had been both vomit and shit free was an additional bonus come Saturday morning, and the tourists departed for the Blue Ball in Granchester buoyed by the win in their quiver. The Sacred Hook was gazed upon in awe but strictly not touched, any form of practise deemed blasphemous, so after a quick bap we headed to the ground. As is always the case we were presented with the archetypal image of English Cricket, the Granchester marquee and curved boundary flags casting a striking shadow on the immaculately maintained field. Another toss won by the skipper, again the Tavs would bat first however this time with a new-look order that saw AB and recruitee Maloney cross the rope. In bounded Granchester’s opening quick, his first delivery rapping the pads of Browning. Finger raised. Diamond Duck. Stanley Fletcher Fanny Stretcher came to the crease and crafted a partnership of 26 with Tom Ice Man Maloney, with the latter eventually succumbing for a score of 3 off 22 (doubtlessly suffering from overgenerous non-widing of persistently leg side filth on the part of the Granchester umpires). Stretcher was not to be phased, stroking 3 boundaries in his excellent innings of 33 off 45 deliveries. Like so many times in the past, it was to be the Joe Quinn show with the bat, truly taking GCC’s bowlers to the cleaners with a blistering 85 run innings off just 57 balls, dealing predominantly in boundaries: fourteen 4s and three 6s to be exact – that’s an 87% boundary rate for those eagle-eyed Gladstone competitors. He eventually slapped one back at the bowler and it took a decent catch to dismiss him. A JB duck acted as filler for the runsy sandwich that was the Taverner’s innings, as Sam continued on from the previous evening with 33 off 26; similarly Thommo with 40 off 24; and as the hero we all deserve it would be wrong for Bobby not to score runs, amassing 36 off 24 including 2 trademark super-sixes launched into Krypton. Spasmodic wagging from the tail left the Taverners defending an intimidating 261- 8.
This season’s lethal opening pair of AB&OMG set about their business as usual, hostile bowling resulting in skipper Thommo taking pity on GCC and taking Alo off after 3 overs in which he scalped their opener and solely conceded 3 runs. A persistent leg side line from McGuinness ‘earnt’ him a fourth over as he pleaded with the captain to give him one more just so he could ‘sort shit out’; a slight improvement brought another wicket and OMG was happy to end there with 2-12 (excellent captaincy). Destiny was calling; it was time for Food. Not content with his explosive innings with the bat, SuperBob bowled with accuracy, bounce and nip, falling agonisingly short of a 5-fer with figures of 4-32 off 7. The Rev bowled well to finish with a wicket of his own, whilst JB bagged 2 himself bowling with a lovely flight; Granchester were all out for 104, and the dream had been realised: CONSECUTIVE TOUR WINS. Bobby was named MoM, his two mammoth sixes in the final over being deemed champagne moment, whilst Sam’s flicking of the bails off the stumps having played on harshly à la sulk was awarded Babycham.
The main event followed in the evening, with the annual Hook Wanker Championships reigniting the fierce rivalry between PDs and BDs. The tournament had a new format this year, with a template akin to the Ryder Cup of one team stage before Pigmento a Pigmento. Wary that this report is already far too long, the PDs unsurprisingly won, their youthfulness and lack of erectile dysfunction dominating the withering BDs, and a friendly ushering out of the pub by the Blue Ball’s very accommodating landlord meant it was bottles on the fourth green before tents.
Saturday’s win had set up something very special in the archive of Taverner’s history. An opportunity to achieve not just one milestone, but two. To fail at one but not the other was tautological. To achieve one but not the other was objectively absurd. The analytic truth
of the matter was that a tour win would not only make us the first unbeaten touring side in HTCC’s rich lineage, but also the streakiest of all time. The stars had aligned; could the Tavs grasp immortality with both hands?
No. We lost. Reasonably comfortably too. And it had looked quite promising at one point!
Breaking the tradition of ABF, Thommo elected to field first against the Philanderers. Once again AB&OMG opened up. Alo continued his unplayable form of the weekend so far however Pimblett fancied McGuinness’ length, dispatching him to the boundary with secretarial efficiency. Skipper Thommo rightly removed him from the attack [I didn’t agree at the time...], making way for the people’s favourite Bobby Ford. 6 overs from the same end later Food finished 2-27, another steely performance befitting a man who bleeds tour. From the other end AB produced one of the greatest deliveries I have ever seen from a Taverner, drifting at pace into middle stump before pitching and taking offstump’s bail, far too good for one of Philanderer’s pedigree batsmen and rightly receiving his second Champagne Moment of tour for the similar deed. To put AB’s bowling that weekend into perspective, his tour figures were 5-28 off 14 overs, an illustration of a man bang in form with the ball. At the sight of a left-hander Thommo thought he’d give OMG another go from a different end, bowling with much more control than before but failing to find the batsman’s edge despite multiple attempts. Maloney battled away from the other end, an interesting battle between skilful bowler and batsman, and Barry equally bowled with guile and consistency, however today was to be the day of a seasoned Taverner needing little introduction: The Reverend. Pervoe bowled with excellent flight, getting the odd ball to turn and bounce whilst causing genuine difficulty for The Philanderer’s strong batting line-up. An edge removed the destructive opener for 61 – a sharp catch at slip from Smith – before clean bowling Reed on 31 and drawing the mistimed shot out of Pearson for the catch by OMG running round at long on. A Man of the Match performance from the off-spinner, rounding off his strong overall tour performance with both ball and bat. The Philanderers had set the Tavs 174 to win, and Quinn and Milligan opened up proceedings.
The opening pair got off to positive starts, Barry pulling both high and low whilst Joe went about building a classic Joe innings including a crisp cover drive which he paid a vanity fine for reminding everyone of later in the pub. Just as the onlooking Taverners were about to applaud the 50 partnership, Barry fell with the score on 49 to the hands of Phil’s 4th bowler for a respectable 20 off 31 – platform set. The equally classy Sam joined Joe at crease, although they could only accrue a partnership of 11 before Quinn fell to the same bowler, holing out at mid-on. Alo passed the fuming Joe to make it Streathers V, only to have his innings curtailed early for 6. 72-3 became 72-4, Sam recklessly getting himself stumped, and even SuperBob could not muster the strength to defeat the Philanderer’s Lex Luther in the form of the skilled spinner Chandrekar. Thommo did all he could to mount a comeback worthy of a tour captain staring down the barrel of heartbreak but eventually found a fielder’s grip for 14 off 20. The Taverners had unearthed a collapse distinctly alien to this band of touring men, albeit distinctly typical to Tavs sides of yester-weeks. 116 all out and the dream was dead. Defeated on tour; streaky no more.
Unanimously decided on as the greatest domestic tour to date, the tourists retired back to the nearby Ickleton in the hope of returning to times when we had just defeated a genuinely good side; times when potential heroism still existed; times when we always batted first... Alas, great thanks must go to Baz for his meticulous organisation of UK Tour as
well a hat-tip to Alo for finding a cracking Friday t20 fixture. All 3 teams were particularly accommodating, and a return to Cambridge this time next year is inevitable. There can only be one Man of the Weekend, a man who scored valuable runs in both Tavs victories; a man who came desperately close to visiting the Wall of Glory at the PoW; a man who ensured the cider taps of Cambridge ran dry no more:
Bobby. Bobby Food. Man of Bat. Man of Ball. MAN OF TOUR