New Ash Green & Hartley
Cricket Club
Affiliated to the Association of Kent Cricket Clubs and the Club Cricket Conference
  29th July - 2nd August 2012 - West Country Tour  

Sunday 29th July 2012
Oldbury-on-Severn v New Ash Green

Tour Match - 40 Overs per side

Oldbury-on-Severn 193-9 (40 overs)
New Ash Green 196-9 (39.5 overs)
New Ash Green won by 1 wicket

The sun had been shining for a week, but as the tourists converged from various directions on Oldbury-on-Severn for the start of the 2012 Tour the rain was back, with heavy showers across the country, in particular affecting the Olympics. However after a morning shower the clouds parted and the ground at Oldbury was blessed with near constant sunshine all afternoon, along with a near constant gale blowing in off the Atlantic. So after lunch at the Anchor a full game was able to take place, and what a cracker it proved to be - if the weather ruins the rest of tour at least the one match played has been a really good one.

Usual tour name rules apply, “I will say this only once”. Lee “Son of Tosh” Saunders had decided to seize the captaincy, and by agreement Oldbury batted first. Joe “Essex” Elisak was allowed to open the bowling as a consolation prize for not being allowed to keep wicket, but the real fireworks started with the second over, bowled by Matt “Bushtaq” Bushe. His first ball, a full toss, was drilled straight to Alex “CaptBigAl” Payne, who dropped it and allowed it to go for 4. His second ball took the edge and was dropped behind by CaptBigAl's sister, Jo “The Guv'nor” Greenfield, though it was a thick enough edge that it would be harsh to blame her if we weren't on tour. Towards the end of the over Bushtaq got another one hit in the air, and his heart must have sunk when he saw it heading towards the third Payne, Andy “Shirley” Payne, cousin of the two previous droppers. Shirley, however, was made of sterner stuff and held the catch to get the first tour wicket. This brought in Sam Phelps, a fiercesome hitter of a cricket ball on previous occasions, but having had a failure last year he managed only 4 runs this year before completely failing to get Bushtaq away and being bowled for 4. That was it for NAG success for the moment. Oldbury skipper Mike Nichols looked in complete command, and was supported in adding 82 in quick time for the third wicket, seeing off Bushtaq and Essex, and dealing with Dan “Bazinga” Lewsey and, particularly Son of Tosh, who went for 31 runs in his four overs. Bazinga, though, did get the third wicket, a thin edge held behind by The Guv'nor, before he was replaced by David “The Baker” Baker. He soon got the crucial wicket when Nichols hit him hard into the covers and Essex slid in to take a superb ankle high catch to end his innings on 80. Soon afterwards Andy “Moonshine” Mayers bowled the number 5 with a full toss and The Baker took a second, also bowled though with a better ball. Oldbury were pegged right back, and having looked like they would be approaching 250 again they had to graft hard to get near 200. The Baker picked up two more catches to finish with 4-30, whilst Matthew “Q” Quantrill, coming on to bowl some flighted leg breaks at the end, got the 9th wicket, well held by CpatBigAl, in the final over. This brought Chris “The Edge” Hoddinott to the wicket, after he had filled in for Oldbury who were a man short. The Edge didn't bother with much equipment, having not brought his kit to the ground, and played without whites, pads, gloves and presumably a box. He did bring a bat out with him, and soon used it to top edge an attempted pull and loop it up gently to Shirley, who promptly dropped it and let The Edge get off the mark. He didn't face another ball as the innings was soon over and the teams left the field to tackle the splendid tea which even with the assistance of various supporters, including The President, was not completely devoured before play resumed.

It was a trio of Paynes or ex-Paynes at the top of the order, and Shirley and CaptBigAl were soon showing they had lost nothing in their years of exile in the West Country, silky smooth shots for 4 quickly being followed by getting out, both bowled, CaptBigAl being particularly stylish in the way he left a straight ball with a flourish of the bat before stylishly walking back to the pavilion. Their sister/cousin proved to be made of much grittier stuff, playing with better technique than anyone else in the team, and she proceeded to anchor the innings. Tony “Jalfrezi” Molloy, allegedly playing his first game of cricket since Year 8 at school, played an impressive innings, trying a variety of shots and making 17 before being bowled by Sam Phelps' first ball, which kept somewhat low. That proved to be Phelps' only success, though, as he and the very slow loop of Chris Johnson bowled through 8 overs. From a steady Base The Guv'nor and Q set about slowly upping the run rate. Q had been given not out playing a reverse sweep before scoring, despite very loud appeals that were almost entirely from his own team on the square boundary. With The Guv'nor pushing singles from most balls she faced at this stage and Q getting boundaries with both orthodox and reverse sweeps, then pulling two huge sixes from Johnson mixed in with a straight drive down the ground from Phelps the partnership produced 53 runs and set up a good final 20, with about 5½ an over needed, before Q brought it to a premature end by going back to cut Johnson and bring his bat down on top of his stumps. There was then a little bit of a stumble as The Guv'nor was starved of the strike and Essex was bowled playing a wild swing at Johnson, attempting to hit him over the pavilion and Moonshine was caught at square leg by Noads, who looked as if he had completely misjudged it, watching the ball drop in front of him without moving, until at the last second proving that he was just out to entertain the crowd by diving forward, clutching the ball an inch from the ground and leaping to his feet and charging towards his team mates with the ball held high in triumph. Bushtaq took some time to get his eye in, but just as his team mates were beginning to despair he hit two good shots, a drive that stopped just inside the boundary for 3 and then a flick off his legs through midwicket for 4. Sadly this blossoming of a new career as an attacking batsman was cut short by an LBW shout from skipper Nichols, who had now swapped pads and keeping gloves with Phelps and come on to bowl. With 30 still needed and time running out The Guv'nor swung the bat and edged Nichols behind to be out for the top score of 37, and New Ash Green looked in trouble at 166-8. However The Baker and Son of Tosh are a useful 9th wicket pair, and both swung the bat effectively. The Baker hit a magnificent straight six off returning opening bowler Al Johnson, and Son of Tosh hit two fours before an attempted repeat took the outside edge and looped up to gully. 184-9, ten needed with 8 balls left, and luckily the batsmen had crossed so that Bazinga, who had not scored a run all season was not facing. The Baker managed a dot and a single to keep the strike, but then started the final over, bowled by Nichols with a single, leaving Bazinga on strike. The crowd had been getting excited, but probably their biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the nurdle off his legs first ball that brought Bazinga his first run of 2012 and got The Baker back on strike. A dot ball was followed by a wide, then The Baker got into his stride with a pull for 4 and followed it up with another drive down the ground to secure the winning runs with one ball and one wicket to spare. A magnificent game, and if the weather does its worst and this turns out to be the only tour game you couldn't have hoped for better.

Huge thanks have to go to Oldbury, not just for providing an excellent game, a lovely ground, good weather and a magnificent tea, but also for putting up with the antics of The Edge. Aside from his batting display he fielded throughout in possession of at least one and sometimes two cans of beer, and a constant stream of comments and advice, which it took them some while to realise were best ignored. Luckily they found him entertaining, so it added another layer to a perfect tour game. A great start to tour, and after a few drinks in the pub the touring party returned to Clifton, the younger element to head out into the fleshpots of Bristol and see what new dives they could find this year, the older section negotiating the narrow lanes and extensive stair cases on route to their new garret accommodation in Richmond Terrace, all waiting eagerly to see what Monday will bring.

Scorecard



Monday 30th July 2012
Coalpit Heath v New Ash Green

Tour Match - 40 Overs per side

Coalpit Heath 187-3 (40 overs)
New Ash Green 189-5 (37.3 overs)
New Ash Green won by 5 wickets

The morning after the first night before…but nothing happened. It seems the boys had a quiet night drinking lemonade in a respectable bar in Bristol town centre and no one did anything at all, at least not that they can remember. Except for The Edge attacking a woman, though he insists it was in self-defence - he should know better than to get involved in a domestic. Bazinga, still recovering from injury, did enough of something to need to lie in till mid day and spend the day in a pub to recover, and The Baker was clearly struggling to stay awake throughout the day, so it looks like advancing age is catching up with these boys as even quiet and uneventful evenings are proving hard to recover from.

So to the match. After lunch at the Badminton Arms CaptBigAl seized control by the simple expedient of arriving at the ground before the rest of the party, finding the opposition captain, introducing himself and having a toss. By the time the rest arrived it was a fait accompli, and to avoid embarrassment he was allowed to continue as Captain for the day. Unfortunately he lost the toss, so the tourists were fielding first again, for at least one of them for the 8th day in succession. The opening bowlers were Son of Tosh and Jalfrezi, who had demonstrated that he had lost nothing in the ten years since his last schoolboy game by bowling a couple of balls across the square in front of the skipper. With Essex behind the stumps and a poor first couple of overs things looked ominous for the tourists with visions of chasing 300 floating through some minds, but remarkably both bowlers turned things round and bowled excellent opening spells, keeping both of the batsmen very much in check. Jalfrezi even picked up his first adult wicket towards the end of his spell, courtesy of a rather timid appeal and an LBW decision upheld by the Senior Pro. By the time the openers came off the score was only 44-1, with Son of Tosh having 0-20 and Jalfrezi a very impressive 1-18 in their 8 over spells. They were replaced by John “Spot” Howland and Steve “The Guv'nor's Slave” Greenfield, the skipper hoping to open the game up a bit. His hopes were dashed when Spot's 5th ball was driven back straight at him and he nonchalantly held up one hand and caught it with apparent ease. He and The Guv'nor's Slave continued to keep things tidy, so that the score was still only 53 at the half way stage when drinks were taken, but perhaps refreshed by their drinks Coalpit Heath started to up the tempo soon afterwards. The two bowlers were rested after 4 overs each and replaced by The Edge and Bushtaq and Bushtaq struck immediately getting a thin edge held by Essex, to his own amazement as much as anyone else's. That, though, was to be New Ash Green's last success. Ian Davis and Jack Williams kept up a steady scoring rate against Bushtak and The Edge, and when Spot and The Guv'nor's Slave came back on for the final four overs they really flung the bat, Spot's figures in particular taking a battering. Williams reached his fifty in the penultimate over, but Davis was left needing two from the final ball of the innings and could only manage to scramble a quick single, ending on 49 not out.

The final score of 187-3 was a reasonable target, difficult if the bowling was tidy as the wicket (which was underwater not too long ago) was still uneven and the outfield long both in distance to the boundary and length of grass. However fuelled by another excellent tea The Baker and Q set out positively, with The Baker particularly harsh on anything short. The partnership had reached 48 in good time when Q played a fine leg glance, The Baker called a quick single but found that he couldn't get himself moving fast enough and was run out by a good throw from the opposition skipper. Essex joined Q and they kept things ticking over nicely, though Q was badly dropped in the 20s when he pulled an attempted drive straight into - and out of - the hands of mid-wicket. It was Essex who had the bad luck, being given out LBW for 11 to end his run of high scores at Coalpit Heath, the venue of his first ever half century. The Edge demonstrated the reason for his nickname by using all of the bat to make his runs, but he and Q were keeping the run rate going well, and saw off probably the most dangerous bowler, the opposition skipper. Once past 50 Q accelerated well, rarely failing to score from a ball, and making life difficult for the bowlers by scoring in every direction, including a reverse sweep for 4. However just as New Ash Green seemed set to cruise home The Edge missed a straight full toss from the spinner Tom Johnston and was bowled. Johnston was then taken off and with seam bowlers back on and getting a good line and length Q had a slow patch of ones and dots, while The Guv'nor also struggled to assert herself and the required rate started to rise again. The Guv'nor was bowled by a yorker for 1, but Q then started to find the middle of the bat again, and he and CaptBigAl brought victory almost within sight before the skipper flicked a ball to mid-on. That was the last ball of the over and from the next three Q drove to extra cover to bring up his century, blocked one then smashed straight down the ground to bring up the second victory of tour with a leisurely 2.3 overs in hand.

Another excellent game where everyone got a go, there were some surprise performances, the result was in the balance for most of the match and the teas were superb, and best of all played against a good bunch of players who were out to play the game as best they could, but still determined to enjoy themselves and be friendly. Huge thanks as ever to Coalpit Heath for hosting the game for what is believed to be the 25th successive year. The after match activities were slightly muted, clearly age still getting the better of the youthful element of the touring party, but they soon headed back to Bristol for another night out, while the more mature element returned to Clifton for a meal at the Lansdown and a quiet evening watching random Olympic footage on the big screen with no sound. By then the rain was falling steadily, but hope remains high that there will be more good cricket on this so far excellent tour.

Scorecard

Tour Video News: A trailer for video from the Oldbury game is now available here. A fuller length video should follow in due course, but they take time to edit so how soon it is available may depend on how much it rains!

Tuesday 31st July 2012
Failand & Portbury v New Ash Green

Tour Match - 30 Overs per side

New Ash Green 153-8 (30 overs)
Failand & Portbury 155-5 (29 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 5 wickets

Night two on tour, and one could almost sense a conspiracy amongst the younger element to keep tight lipped about their evenings out to avoid exaggerated reports appearing in the press. However some casual eavesdropping during the day soon revealed that the truth was not that they were having wild nights filled with booze and wanton women, but that they were in fact trailing round Bristol trying to find somewhere that was open and would allow them in. Clubs seemed to develop an amazing ability to be students only, or closing early on the approach of the tour party, and even when allowed in they managed to get thrown out of an almost empty club. The only thing of note to have happened was that Essex was invited to Bath by an Australian woman, but when he realised this was an invitation to a nearby town and not an invitation to get naked and soapy the value of this conquest faded. It seems that walking around town taxed the energy of a party clearly not as young as it once was, as they were in a terrible state of exhaustion the next day, despite this only being day three.

On only a few hours sleep the majority still managed to make it to Ashton Gate for Pitch'n'Putt in the rain, but no group completed the course. Spot beat the Senior Pro by a distance and Bushtaq by a smaller distance, while the remainder barely made it half way before deciding their contest by way of a nearest the hole contest on the 18th, one of the longer holes on the course where Bazinga played what must have been the shot of the day by driving to within 3 feet and holing out for a birdie.

From Ashton Gate it was off to The Black Horse in Clapton-in-Gordano for the traditional pre-match meal where the party was reunited with The Guv'nor and family and various other Paynes, as well as with Q and Edward “Ted” Quantrill who had flown in from Sicily specially to join the second half of tour, and Derry “Used to be known as Ringer No. 3 but now known as Dezzer” West. Rain varying from light drizzle to heavy downpour punctuated lunch taken under the pub's umbrellas, and there was no rush to go to the ground, indeed a certain percentage of the touring party decided to divert instead via nearby shops in search of fried chicken to supplement their pub meals. Those who did get to the ground on time found newly installed covers in place keeping the wicket dry, and a super soaker mopping up the worst of the surrounding moisture. The rain finally eased off enough for a start at 3.15, and a game reduced to 30 overs per side, and although the rain threatened to make a return several times it neatly timed its only actual downpour to fit in the tea interval when the covers were back on. In the absence of the day's captain, Essex, who was still hunting down fried chicken, Bushtaq took the toss, called correctly and decided it would make a nice change to bat first, particularly as there was a risk of having to start with 7 players if he had fielded first. However the rest of the party duly arrived, and The Baker and Moonshine were sent out to open the batting. The Baker set the tone for their partnership by pulling the first ball of the innings for 4, and from then on one or other of the partnership was always scoring quickly. They piled on 72 runs in 10 overs, with a number of powerful blows, including some brutal pulls from The Baker and Moonshine's signature drive over extra cover for 6. By the time The Baker was caught behind the tourists seemed to be well on their way to a mammoth total, but once the partnership was broken it was downhill all the way for the run rate. Shirley and Dezzer both made 11 before Shirley top edged and Dezzer was bowled, and Moonshine eventually succeeded in getting himself out, stumped, for 64. Bushtaq played himself in carefully, got off the mark with a single and promptly got out, and his wicket precipitated a startling collapse which gave Hugo Hanchet 4-1 in his last two overs, having gone for 8 in his first. Essex was caught at first slip, flashing, for the first duck of tour. Ted managed two singles before also edging behind throwing his bat at the first ball of the last over, and The Guv'nor's Slave edged to slip, also for a duck, from his second ball. Q, having had to leave the scorebox and change hastily, nudged a single and The Guv'nor herself saw out the innings to finish on 15 not out and leave a final total of 153-8, rather less daunting than it might have been, but still a respectable total.

After a few cakes and scones had been devoured and the covers removed, Bazinga and The Guv'nor's Slave opened the bowling. They were tidy enough, but the batsmen picked up the odd runs to get off to steady start before Tony Lippe top edged a swing at The Guv'nor's Slave and lofted the simplest of catches for Q behind the stumps. Failand's best batsman was probably John Bachelor, who came in at 3, but he was also only able to make a steady start before being out LBW forward but right in front of middle stump, making it 39-2 in the 10th over. With the game in the balance neither side could quite get a grip of the game in the next few overs. Bushtaq struggled to keep a lid on the runs, but Ted found the conditions to his liking once he had got his line right, and bowled the game's most economical spell, getting a deserved reward in his final over when Lagnado advanced down the wicket to try and drive him, missed and didn't even bother to look back as the bails were removed. He also played a part in removing the opening batsman, Hildrew, who tried to take a quick second to fine leg but failed to beat Ted's throw, much to his disgust. Ted finished with 1-15 in his 6 overs, and the required rate was now climbing towards 7 an over. With Shirley also bowling reasonably tidy spin Failand were struggling to accelerate, but once they started to chance their arm the game began to turn their way. The required rate got up to 8 an over, but Sam Gunarathne started to connect with a few, and Hugo Hanchett spoilt a near maiden from Shirley by driving the last ball to the long straight boundary for 6. Essex, struggling to grip the wet ball, could not contain Gunarathne as he hit the ball better and better, and although Dezzer took a superb reflex return catch to remove Hanchett he could not staunch the flow of runs either. Shirley's figures were ruined by his last over when, with 14 needed in 2 overs, Gunarathne and the new batsman, Billings, decided to make it safe by getting them in one over, and Failand completed a five wicket win with an over to spare.

It was, though, another close game, completed in slightly surreal circumstances under more looming dark clouds, with smoke from the barbecue drifting across the field like a sea mist and an accompanying symphony of beeping from an errant and persistent smoke alarm in the pavilion. The smells from the barbecue had been teasing the players for some time, and one advantage of the late finish was that the food was ready almost immediately and was soon being enjoyed by all, particularly Ted. The touring party and home players spent some time sitting outside in the complete absence of evening sunshine before the youngsters decided it was time to depart and try out the hints and tips they had received from their peers in the Failand side and see if they could manage to find a place that would admit them and had willing and largely blind girls, while the older members of the touring party spent a few more minutes chewing the cud with their Failand peers before heading back to more civilised and less exhausting evening pursuits of their own. Another good game, another close finish, another good tea and excellent barbecue, and again thanks must go to our hosts at Failand & Portbury for all of this and for being able to produce a wicket that a good game could be played on despite the weather. The forecast looks hit and miss for the rest of the week, but yet again we have managed a good match, and with the wicket at Temple Cloud already cut and covered there is no reason why day four shouldn't bring another good tour game - if the youngsters in the party can make it….

Scorecard



Wednesday 1st August 2012
Temple Cloud v New Ash Green

Tour Match - 40 Overs per side

New Ash Green 162 all out (39.4 overs)
Temple Cloud 163-3 (29 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 7 wickets

They found a bar, they were let in, and only Bazinga was thrown out - the rest stayed till far too late to little effect other than to leave them in various degrees of shattered, and Moonshine had a fight with a kebab shop owner, always a dangerous pursuit as they tend to have big knives. Some did manage to make it to the traditional Wednesday morning ten pin bowling, though in some cases a cab was required to get them there. Of the eleven that played it was the Senior Pro who shone in the first round, completing his game with the first “Turkey” (that's three strikes in a row for the uninitiated) for many a year on tour. His first game score of 151 was comfortably the best and although he dropped his standards slightly in the second game it was enough to comfortably win the cumulative prize. Leading individual honours in the second game, and overall highest single game score, went to Bushtaq who produced a score of 154, but could not close up with Senior Pro overall. A special mention must also go to Essex, who braved extreme lack of sleep and sexual conquest to participate and comfortably took the wooden spoon with a cumulative score of 120 in two rounds.

Once the bowling was done it was off to Hinton Blewett and the Ring O'Bells for a lunch made more leisurely by the heavy shower that came down, which (it was thought) would ensure a late start to the game. Shirley took the leisurely approach to the extreme by arriving and ordering food just as the last of the rest were heading for the ground, and given the presence of covers he did manage to miss the start of the match, though not by much. Spot seized the captaincy for the day and bravely decided to bat first on winning the toss, ruining the President's plan to pile up a big score and control the game. Q and The Baker were sent out to open, and made a steady start on a low bouncing wicket. They saw off the opening bowlers, but with the scoring rate low, and soon after the change of bowling The Baker found a fielder for 21. Moonshine struck one four but was out soon after, and looming dark clouds soon sent the players scurrying from the pitch so the covers could be brought on before the anticipated downpour. In fact despite the very threatening looking clouds nothing much more than a drizzle came down, and after a 20 minute or so break the players returned to the pitch, missing the chance to watch Bradley Wiggins complete his gold medal winning ride in the Olympic Time Trial. Q started to lift the tempo a bit, and The Edge also struck a few boundaries, but The Edge was bowled and Jalfrezi was lucky to survive his first ball when the ball hit the stumps with an audible click without dislodging the bails. Having reached his fifty Q managed to miss a pull at a short leg side ball and deflect it back onto his stumps from his thigh. From there on the innings deteriorated rapidly, despite The President's best efforts to feed the tourists enough runs to set his side a challenging total to chase. Jalfrezi was bowled for 9, Son of Tosh for 2 and Bushtaq for 4. When Shirley was caught for 3 122-3 had become 137-8, but Spot, Ted and Connor “The Destroyer” Wilkinson managed to add a further 25 runs for the last two wickets, Spot getting 8, Ted 7 not out and The Destroyer being run out in the final over for 4.

It was a barely adequate total, and the sight of Kevin “Bear” Curtis opening the batting with The President was enough to make that clear. Initially he played with caution, particularly against Ted who kept him tied down with a (mostly) good line and length, but when Moonshine strayed in line he made him pay. Shirley replaced Moonshine and also kept things tight, and when Bushtaq had The President caught by The Baker for 9 there was some small glimmer of hope there for New Ash Green. It didn't last long, though, with CaptBigAl joining Curtis and despite looking distinctly nervous at the possibility of getting out to his cousin he played fluidly enough to ensure the run rate began to pick up. After the two left arm round bowlers, Ted & Shirley (they sound a lovely couple) had been removed no one else was able to keep the batsmen under control at all. Curtis made his fifty and donated his wicket to The Edge, making it as clear as possible that it was deliberate to reduce the risk of having to listen to The Edge explaining how he had beaten him for the rest of his life. Gary James, though, started with a straight six to the long boundary, and only failed to add much more because CaptBigAl was farming the strike with great expertise. He also made his fifty before getting out, giving Lee Saunders a small moment of relief in an otherwise ruinously expensive bowling spell, but with plenty of youngsters capable of striking the ball very hard still to come in there was no risk of Temple not making the runs, apart from the hugely heavy shower that could be heard sweeping towards the ground. The sound of raindrops thundering into the ground got closer and closer, and eventually the final two balls were played in appalling conditions to get things finished before the teams dashed for the shelter of the pavilion.

For the first time this week it was very much not a close game, but still played in good spirit and again with a superb tea, so again thanks in abundance have to be offered to our hosts for their efforts in providing a ground in difficult weather, for providing a magnificent tea and most of all for putting up with playing against a team containing a number of players who were hitting the wall after too many nights on the tiles, and still gave every sign of enjoying themselves and being prepared to play again next year.

Scorecard



Thurssday 2nd August 2012
Barrow Gurney v New Ash Green

It all seems to be coming together for the clubbing tourists. They finally found somwhere described as "proper" to spend the evening, there were at least three fights, one internal, one against another group and one entirely nothing to do with the tourists which Essex managed to get in the middle of them all. They seem to have made it back and avoided being expelled from Goldney Halls after receiving a warning letter the previous day concerning the Great Wall of Kitchenware incident. Not all managed to get up in the morning, but there was no pressure with nothing planned for the morning before the noon meet at the Princes Motto.

Things were not quite so serene over at Richmond Terrace where the senior tourists had a rude awakening when a fire alarm went off and they all had to troop outside accompanied by young Spanish language students in their pyjamas. Spot chose to ignore such temptations and stay inside and burn, but it turned out that the alarm had been set off by someone in the flat below either using too much deodorant or having an excessively steamy shower. It did mean that Q, Anna and Ted were able to get to Ashton Court in plenty of time for a go at Pitch'n'Putt after missing Tuesday's effort when Ted had to be collected from the station. They were burning their way round the course when the first of the forecast showers arrived with a vengeance as they reached the 12th green, which was conveniently close to a path through the woods, and they were able to hide in the woods and resume play when the shower had passed. They managed another two holes before the next shower swept in, and with no woods to hide in decided to match the 14 holes played by the Tuesday party and head for the pub.

Unfortunately as the touring party came in from various directions to The Princes Motto the message reached them that with no covers at the ground the heavy showers had already soaked the ground. It showed how lucky the tourists had been to play on grounds with covers the previous two days, but in all likelihood covers would not have been enough to have saved this game as the whole field must have been soaked. Sadly, then, the tour has to finish on this sad note...

 


Having said that to get four games in with the weather that was forecast and in this very wet summer was better than could have been expected, and if the performances deteriorated as the tour progressed it was still a fairly successful tour with everyone getting a go and most of the tourists having at least one good performance. As the touring party disperses to various counties, the youngsters contemplating a final hurrah in Bristol, and Team GB rack up Olympic medals at a stunning rate it is time for a few final thoughts. Thanks again to all our opposition and to Bushtaq for putting in all the work to organise the fixtures and accomodation and keep track of who is playing. His reward was to bowl more overs on tour than anyone else, a reward he might not have chosen for himself. Final tour averages are below, and a few arbitrary awards that emerge from them follow, before it is time to say farewell to the West Country until 2013.

2012 Tour Averages

The "Oh So Close" Award to The Baker for being second in batting and bowling averages.

The "I Can Do it For Them" Award to CaptBigAl for playing better for the opposition than NAG.

The "Living up to Your Nickname" Award to The Edge, for obvious reasons. (Honourable mention in this category to Senior Pro.)

The "Keeping it Tight" Award to Ted for the most economical bowling figures on tour.

The "Really, I Haven't Done it Before" Award to Jalfrezi for stunning debut performances as batsman and bowler.

The "Nonchalance" Award to Spot for taking a catch one handed by his ears as if he did it every day.