Lodi 2003

MCC Village Pictures in association with Chutney-Ferret Light and Sound presents

A DarkHorse and Deviant Production

The Italian Job 2

Golden Duck Cricket Festival – Lodi, Italy – the 14th and 15th of June 2003.

“They say MCC going’s to do another job in Italy…”

The Games. The Job. The Italian Job to be precise. X Rated entertainment. Edge of the seat stuff.

The out of control juggernaut that is Munich Cricket Club rolls on, pillaging silverware across the continent and leaving only destruction, empty bottles and the occasional sweetie wrapper in its wake. This time MCC coughed up the rowdiest bunch of deviants, dark horses and chutney connoisseurs ever to venture south of the border. The team that every woman loves, and that every man and his ferret love to hate.

The site of the showdown was the Radish Cricket Corral in exotic Lodi. The scenario: an eight-a-side competition attracting high profile players from across the globe. Five teams in fetching coloured shirts battled it out for the Duck, each playing two qualifiers and a final on a weekend when too much cricket was barely enough for the touring MCC cricketing junkies. 12 overs per innings, no more than two overs per bowler, batsmen must retire on reaching 40. A harsh but fair spankfest that gave everyone a chance – allegedly.

Intrigue is at the forefront of this classic tale, with several unconfirmed sightings of Des Bradley (supposedly on business in Asia) and the mysterious disappearance of at least 15 bottles of plonk during the official tournament dinner. The sequel to the Italian Job features a far more satisfying ending than the original, with skipper Lovelli ultimately hoisting the poultry aloft in what was MCC’s first ever appearance at the Lodi Duckfest.

They even acquired some new wicket keeping pads. Hurrah!

Five stars.

Soundtrack available on Jailbait Records, including such tranny-van classics as: Dr Jimmy, criticise, If I Could Turn Back Time, We Are The Champions, I’ve Got A Loverly Bunch Of Coconuts, That’s Amore, Kiss on my list, The Winner takes it all and many many more…

Starring…
Cpt. MARCO LOVELLI as Lawrence of Arabia. Lovelli plays an inspirational leader of men who chortles in the face of danger and drops ice-cubes down the vest of fear. Thrives in the oppressive Lodi heat, obviously a result of all those years in North Africa with a stolen tea towel on his scone. Turns on a dime and is convinced that Edwards is an evil genius.

GARIBALDI EDWARDO as the 17th Duke of Marlborough with the scarred reputation to match. MCC Tour Manager, team car-jacker and beflowerpotted keeper of wicket. Wee wee radge who never grew up spends most of his time in Never-Never Land sprinkling fairy dust on Wendy, John and Michael. Career man who would never consider untoward goings-on with a monkey, yet paradoxically always happy to share ‘quarters’ with Lovell.

Co-starring KIWI BOSTOCAMENTE as Dirty Harry. The question batsmen had to ask themselves was did they feel lucky? Well? Did they? Punk? Lover of well sauced pizza, side-on sports of all kinds and the modified one-day game in all its guises. Alleged word game cheat and furniture removalist extraordinaire with the crockery to prove it. Easily led astray by team Menace to Society Edwards.

and WAYNO VAN DAMMAGIO as one of the Three Musketeers (take your pick really, the one who’s a shithot batsman). MCC’s not-very-secret weapon and chief dispatcher of pies. A man with a predisposition for hiding leather in the Italian undergrowth. Batting freak also available for Bar Mitzvahs and children’s parties. Assisted on the set by the lovely Jeanette and up and coming ballet/cricket bambino Joshua (van Dancer? Not if the old man has anything to do with it).

with STEFANO POWERELLI as Bond, James Bond. Vino junkie and international man of mystery, driver of yuppie sports car, Trivial Pursuit king of Italy’s most frequented Irish pubs and all-round cricketing 007. Joined by Bond-girl Alison, seductive cricket and sports car fanatic in her own right and ruler of all things picnic blanket.

also featuring ALESSANDRO ‘Bambino’ GALIANO as Don Corleone, Godfather of the point boundary. Enjoys making offers that can’t be refused and leaving horse bits under duvets. Driver of sports car, punisher of pointless offside schrott and stirrer of shit who thinks sleeping indoors is for birds and uphill gardeners only. Academy Award nominee along with Edwards for his schoolboy impersonations of the captain. Ably assisted in his underworld pastimes by the gorgeous Bianca (some would say sultry), police escort required at all times.

and PRAMODINI as Mohandas K Gandhi. Spiritual leader of the MCC and chief reader of maps, minder of passports, router of middle orders and grafter of copious runs. A strict observer of non-violence, with the notable exceptions of opposition pies and Stellas. Oh that’s gone! Oh that’s got him!

and who could forget EDUARDO DEANISSIMO as John Shaft. Who’s the private (spotted?) dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks? Shaft! Daaaaamn right. The man with the leopard dye job that holds Glaswegian female rugby teams entranced. Also attracts biting insects for fun. The cat who won’t cop out when there’s danger all about.

and not to mention ROBERTO MITCHAM as himself. Apprentice keeper of wicket, minder of pencils and ruggedly handsome foreign correspondent. Known to turn viciously during word games which were just village and pointless. Besides he was extremely tired and couldn’t hear properly because of the hurricane howling through the van window. To be honest the whole thing was a complete slur on his obviously superior intelligence, which he doesn’t feel obligated to prove to anyone. Least of all Lovell. Quite a nice bloke when you get to know him though – allegedly.

with a special guest appearance by umpire strikes back DAVIDO BUGGERALDI as Rubens Barrichello, a mountain of a man and legend in his own tranny, on nitro-injected hire van, unlimited patience, pencils and trigger finger.

Friday (the 13th, no less)

An inspirational move by Dean and Mitcham early doors guaranteed a good-humoured van ride to Lodi, the aforementioned junior talent securing one and a half crates of Augustiner for the epic journey. Van Datsun, Power, Gale and associates were already underway in their assorted autos (yuppie sportscars and family saloons) leaving six good men and true for the tranny. You can’t beat a good tranny ride, especially in foreign shores. After a ‘short’ wait and a cheeky banana at the vomit-coloured KPMG digs, they were joined by the magnificent seventh, a deceptively respectable-looking Edwards, and thus the touring party was complete. Excessive urination stops must have got on Barichello’s nerves early doors despite a cunning (or cumming) in-van drainage effort by Menace to Society Edwards. Several detours, passport checks, Augusts and pointless word games later, and the team that everyone loves to hate arrived safely at the Hotel L’Europa in downtown Lodi. The heat was oppressive and most of the tourists found themselves sweating like Lovelli in a BOB lavatory during ticket check.

After allocation of rooms, an arrangement with which Edwards was particularly chuffed, it was down to the Lodi Piazza to meet the organisers and opposition teams. There was disappointment across the board as the MCC desperados discovered that Ljubljana (SL) had pulled out late doors in an uncharacteristic show of poor form. This left just 5 contenders: Winterthur (CH), Prague (CZ), Host club Idle (I), their seconds Mango Pickles (I) and the shit stirring, ball tearing, poke and grunt inducing, heat packing, radish flogging boys of the Munich Cricket Club (DE). Amidst unconfirmed mutterings of draw rigging, Captain Lovell (himself no stranger to controversy) politely suggested the possibility of a round-robin style event meaning more games for his cricket-hungry side. This plea only aided in reinforcing Munich’s reputation as the most despised cricket team in the entire world and the skipper’s gallant appeal was knocked on the head by festival organisers. MCC were allocated the first two qualifiers on Saturday morning, meaning a 9 a.m. start for the biggest p1sspots in cricketing Europe.

With the opposition long since safely entrenched in bed after a beaker of warm milk, it was left to Tour Manager and all-purpose devious bastard Gary Edwards to locate a source of food and sustenance. Just when all seemed lost, Edwards defended his tattered reputation by finding a pizzeria willing to serve a party of world weary travellers at 2 in the morning. Bella Italia! indeed. Pizzas and beers went down a treat and all went rather swimmingly until a hidden service charge was discovered, and Lovell of Arabia was involved in what will be described here only as the ‘cloth napkin incident’. Nasty business that. The evening then degenerated into the kind of disgrace and wanton debauchery you’ve come to expect from the lovers of the bumblebee, with rowdy behaviour and police escorts the order of the night.

Saturday

After 3 hours of sleep (less for Alessandro Gale, lover of long walks and balconies) it was a refreshed and enthusiastic MCC that caught their first glimpse of Radish Stadium, a good-sized ground on a farm just outside Lodi, equipped with impressive sand-based Astroturf pitch and lightning outfield. There looked to be plenty of honest bounce, and batsman and bowlers alike were excited at the prospect of a great morning’s cricket, albeit in sweltering conditions.

The first game of the tournament saw MCC pitted against the Lodi second side, Mango Pickles, a friendly and enthusiastic bunch of locals who obviously loved their cricket. Munich batted first and cut sick, hammering the hapless ferrets to all corners of the Radish. Lovell, Gale and designated loser of cricket balls van Dalsum all tonked their way to early retirements by passing the 40 mark. The top three were aided and abetted by Ed Dean (23) and Pramod (6*), bringing the MCC total to a massive 171 from the allotted 12 overs. The Chutnies didn’t fair so well will the bat. All the MCC bowlers performed, with plenty of pace and bounce from the likes of Bostock and van Damage. The figures favoured Al Gale (2/7) and Steve Power who cleaned up the tail with 3/5. Mango Pickles all out for 30.

After a quick drink under the Pakistani marquee it was time for Game 2 of the qualifiers. This time it was Winterthur, a competitive side who were, unfortunately for all concerned, missing a few of their star batsmen. MCC sent the Swiss in and then continued from where they left off in the previous match, restricting Winterthur to 37 with a solid all-round bowling performance. Kiwi was the pick with 3 for 4 and found himself on a hat trick after two excellent catches from buckets Edwards. Power took a beauty in the deep off van Dam’s bowling. The MCC innings: van Dalsum smashed 9 from 4 balls before being caught on the fence, then Pramod (16*) and Gale (13*) polished off the total in relaxed fashion. A solid day at the office really, and thanks to the early draw there was plenty of time to cool down. A swim at the nearby country club (thank you Lodi!) was just what the doctor ordered as the remaining teams jousted away in the heat to see who would play MCC in the final.

The official Lodi dinner was a definite highlight of the weekend and a credit to the organisers. MCC was there, sadly minus Dean (kidnapped by Liz and the Glasgow women’s rugby side -Hefty) the Family van Damage (air-conditioning) and Bianca (watch house), all looking dapper in dinner jackets, Fred Perrys and MCC ties. The format of the night was simple enough: a sumptuous 27 course Italian meal with vino on request, the costs to be split equally between the diners at the end of the night. The attentive reader may have spotted a slight hitch in this arrangement, and this not-so-cunning plan was effectively a red rag to the MCC bull. Captain Lovelli led the charge on white wine and made European cricket pay for not studying its form guide. Basics. MCC royally faced at stumps and off to the Irish pub for further sleaze and associated dubious activities including spot-the-difference and piss-off-the-waitress. Home and hosed at 5.30, or was it? …at this juncture it should probably be noted that Edwards (long since turned) annexed Bostock and conveniently got lost on the way back to the hotel. The Tour Manager then staged a ruthless carjacking, for a cigarette he didn’t want, under the pretence of asking for directions. Radge and Kiwi eventually arrived back at the bachelor pad, only to be greeted by the dulcet tones of human chainsaw Lovell. Gary also witnessed a sight that may well haunt his dreams for many years to come, and promptly dragged his mattress onto Bostock and Mitcham’s balcony in Galesque desperation. So many memories.

Sunday

Another much needed swim and then back to the Radish to play the final at 2.30. The opposition was Idle, competition hosts who had taken care of Prague (funniest team in Europe) the previous afternoon. Three of Idle’s gun Sri Lankans had failed to surface as vD and Lovell strode onto the ground and the Lodi locals were already shaking in their boots. These worries proved to be well founded as Wayne punished the Idle attack for 45 retired. His innings, as in the first game, featured some enormous sixes and was breathtaking to watch. The remaining batsmen continued at a good rate to finish on a respectable total of 95. In the end Idle were a rabbit in the MCC headlights as Pramod (2/2) and Gale (1/6) ripped through the top order. Watership down. A brilliant direct hit by Pramod sealed the deal and Lodi collapsed to 27 all out from 7 overs. Shabash.

All that was left was for the winning side to hold the Golden Duck aloft and run a quick lap of the ground for the hordes of adoring fans. An eloquent victory speech by the captain was appreciated by all, no mention of Peter Pan though. He didn’t want to flog a dead horse or a dead duck for that matter. Well done to van Damage for taking home a well deserved dish (microwave and dishwasher safe), reward for a splendid weekends batting, and to Kiwi for snaffling the bowling prize. Crockery all round really. Congratulations should also go to popular Aussie Scott Page from Prague, winner of the best player award (an admirable achievement in a competition with many strong performers) and funniest cricketer in the world. Nice tent.

MCC were a spent force on the long drive home, but managed to retain that weary glow known only to winners and people who live near nuclear power facilities. The trip was largely uneventful apart from a flirty exchange of text messages between Edwards and Andrew ‘Schatzi’ Hebel in Munich. Mitcham was man enough to admit that he turned on Lovell during a heated game of ‘words ending in ENT’, but added that he was ready for rematch any day of the week. The company marvelled at Italian service stations that sell only model lorries, hard pornography and no food. Dirty rugby songs were sung. Mitcham and Dean mused about thin bathroom doors, the importance of the courtesy flush and it’s place in the modern casual relationship and so on and so forth. You get the picture.

Extra special thanks should go to Paolo and the other competition organisers from Idle CC for a most enjoyable weekend of cricket and assorted good times. Munich have their collective fingers crossed for an invite next year and a chance to defend the duck. Well done lads!

At a local level, the superior planning and organising (and the subsequent replanning and reorganising etc.) efforts of Tour Manager Gary Edwards have not gone unnoticed and deserve a special word of thanks. Much appreciated Gaz. A big thumbs up also to Dave Weatherall for driving a hell of a long way in difficult circumstances and also for scoring and umpiring efforts. Cheers mate.

Ciao bambino! To be continued…?

Copyright Bob Mitcham Nest Bait Schemie Italo publishing 2003

Van Dammage, Freak Batsman Award
Andy Bostock, Freak Bowler Award
Lovell, Tactical Magician, Freak Captain Award, Turned
More Photos…..
GOLDEN DUCK CRICKET FESTIVAL

LODI

ITALIA

Radish C.G.

MUNICH

171/2

beat

MANGO PICKLES

30/7

by 141 runs

Lovell 42*, Van Dalsum 41*, Gale 45*- Tassi 2/24

Gale 2/7, Power 3/4

WINTERTHUR

37/5

lost to

MUNICH

39/1

by 6 wickets

Hallam 19 – Bostock 3/5

Pramod 16*, Gale 13*

MANGO PICKLES

36/6

lost to

PRAGUE

40/0

by 7 wickets

Corness 2/6

Page 24*

IDLE CC Lodi

115/2

beat

WINTERTHUR

45/6

by 70 runs

V.Riccaboni 34, Kirthy 45*

Hallam 23 – Grapes 4/4

PRAGUE

72/3

lost to

IDLE CC Lodi

76/3

by 4 wickets

Glover 25, Page 21

Naseer 32* – Page 2/3

MANGO PICKLES

96/5

lost to

WINTERTHUR

100/1

by 6 wickets

Knupfer 24, Galperti 43* – Jim 2/8

Patel 28*, Hallam 35, Martin 24*

WINTERTHUR

52/7

lost to

PRAGUE

53/2

by 5 wickets

Hallam 16 – Locke 3/4

Brennan 18*, Watkin 17 –

FINALS MUNICH

95/4

beat

IDLE CC Lodi

27/7

by 68 runs

Van Dalsum 45*

Pramod 2/2

1

MCC

4

WINTERTHUR

2

IDLE CC Lodi

5

MANGO PICKLES

3

PRAGUE

Best Bowler: Bostock (Munich CC)

Best Batsman: Wayne Van Dalsum (Munich)