Zuoz Cricket Festival 2003
Zuoz setting in the Swiss Alps
A confident rabble assembled in great anticipation of the annual Zuoz tournament – keen to bag MCC’s second overseas trophy within a month. No ‘real’ hitches on the way to the Swiss mountains – with the notable exception of border control in Switzerland who waved the antipodean Tranny through, but stopped our suicide bomber Chairman Badly for a quick grope and cavity search. With the trip down Cadbury Ally out of the way, we reached Zuoz in record time. After checking into the Convict, we proceeded to the pizza restaurant where the rest of the upper class rabble touring members and better halves (staying at the Zuoz Hilton; complete with spa, swimming pool and private butler) completed the team. A good hearty meal was followed by the traditional p1ss-up at the Dorta. Some retired to sleep early, others stayed late at the pub and a few went back to the Convict for some compilation tapes, beer and earnest discussions about marbles and the game’s character building qualities.
The following morning saw few early risers, with most attempting to shake off Swiss beer-induced hangovers and the effects of unsolicited chainsaw use in the shared convict accommodation. The draw took place at 11am and for a minute it looked as if we might get the MICC again on the infamous plastic teabag (except this time, no rain in sight). However, we drew Bob’s Last Chance XI on Field 3, so named, as it was Bob’s last chance to bring home the cup. With the game not due to start until 1300, the team members then slowly made their way down to the ground, confident that they could start the tournament with a ‘relatively’ easy game and proceed into the top half of the draw.
Game 1: As it turned out Bob had stashed away some of his most lethal guns, getting them to arrive after the 1300 kick off whistle. This game was to be our closest, arguably the most nerve racking and difficult game of the tournament. Of the 14 players available, Pramod, Bob Mitcham and Alex Gale sat out the first encounter and, after losing the toss, MCC were asked to field first. Things looked good for the MCC, who started well, with the Kiwi bagging 3 sticks in very quick time. Kiwi bowled well to finish with 3-11 off his 6 overs, effectively tying up the top order. After 10 of the maximum 30 overs had been bowled, Bob’s Last Chance were 3-30 and looking a bit shaky.
Bob had a couple of tricks up his sleeve though, and had saved his best batsmen for later (unintentionally, it must be said: they hadn’t turned up in time for the start). The opposition rallied, putting on a run a ball from then on in for a total of 151. On a postage stamp ground with a good pitch, and considering the current form of the MCC batsmen, the total looked more than ‘gettable’.
However the first two wickets fell before a run had been scored off the bat, with Hebel and Sembian both falling to good first slip catches brought on by some steep bounce from the approx. 7 ft 6 opening bowler. Power followed shortly after, but by this time VD had started to steady a little and got the scoreboard ticking. This revival was short lived and he was soon to hole out with MCC staring down the barrel of a first round defeat. Someone even spotted a fat lady on the golf practice greens loosening her vocal chords with the score at 4-29 and four of MCC’s best bats back in the hutch.
Roid’s Grier , having obtained his first pass since ‘The Ashes’ 2002, then put his bronzed hand up – held firmly by Kareoke Khanna at the other end. The two did look a little shaky (to say the least) at the start, but settled in after both gave chances to the opposition. Then Grier let loose. Hazza farmed the strike over excellently to ‘His Roidship’ who hit Bob’s bowlers to all corners of the paddock like a bat out of hell. Just to keep their averages in tow, both sacrificed themselves within a bee’s dick of victory leaving Quiet Man and Bunty Blades to provide the last rites.
MCC positively pulled out of the poo by a magnificent 87 from His Roidship to progress into the second round, winning by 4 wickets against a very strong but unlucky Bob’s Last Chance XI. Man of the match: (with daylight second) the sunnboy himself, Jason Donovan Grier.
After the game another visit to our favourite restaurant was in order and an impromptu celebration at the Dorta. With the MICCs (spotted practicing in the nets before an early night) in the MCC headlights for the semi-final, most interested parties would assume that a tough preparation schedule would then be implemented by Cpt Courageous Andy Hebel. This tough regime is outlined below:
On eve of game make sure plenty of vitamins and carbohydrates are consumed. Best in the form of greasy but very tasty Italian/Swiss pizza or pasta.
On eve of game consume plenty of fluids. Best form is beer, as any number of litres can be consumed in any one night. Also full of carbohydrates and sugar for energy the next day.
Certain Besonderheiten (specialties?) to assist with analysis of the previous day’s cricket.
Plenty of sleep. 3-4 hours is generally considered sufficient. Though some of MCC’s best performances in recent years have been obtained from as little as two.
Plenty of pre-match preparation time. A hearty breakfast, shower, brushage of teeth, package of bag, getting to ground, warming up. A suggested maximum of 23 minutes and 47 seconds is all that is required here. No more, be warned.
Needless to say, MCC adhered to this ever-grueling pre-game routine in preparation for the next day’s semi against local rivals MICC. Most of the usual suspects were in attendance, with the Kiwi leading the way and showing everyone where the Dorta was again (couldn’t remember: too pisched from night before). Emmerdale Farm, great show that, eh Kiwi? Knut enjoyed the local beer and Des, in an attempt to inject more culture into the team, insisted on sampling some of the local wines. ‘His Roidship’ and Hazza celebrated their partnership by dancing the lawnmower, the sprinkler and the shopping trolley. Miss Sweden made an appearance to brighten up everyone’s night and a few of the boys were spotted reacquainting themselves with old friends. Tony, Wayne and Bob were on the lookout for Charlie’s Angels as they made their way back to barracks early doors, intent on kicking back to some Billy Brag and pottering around in the garden. Several tourists got into a strange local car (despite being warned about stranger danger) to visit an establishment further down the road at St. Moritz. Pro tour p1ss-up specialists Gale and Power weren’t spotted on account of them trying out the unknown turf in St.Moritz.
The following morning an early game against the MICCs awaited and almost everyone felt worse for wear, except for Sembian who went to bed straight after dinner (dedication) and the young captain who tried to set the example (in vain, alas).
Sembian, Hazza and Pramod sat out Sunday morning’s game. The latter was due to play but alleviated the skipper’s selection nightmares by declaring himself unfit. Rumour has it he may have dislocated his liver. Nasty business that.
Game 2: After winning the toss and batting against the MICCs, MCC got off to a much better start than the day before, with Captain Not-So-Cranky (early night) and Van Doobie getting off to a solid start (albeit a little scratchy, playing and missing on numerous occasions). After 10 overs, MCC were scoring at a run a ball and the century stand was reached a couple of overs before drinks. Van Daddy was slightly ahead in the race to 50 before he middled yet another one, only to hole out in the deep to a good juggling catch. This brought Roid to the crease to continue in the same ‘vein’ as the day before. With Hebel over his early scratchiness (after some good advice from van Daddy) both batsmen took the bowling attack apart, making it unsafe to drive on the adjacent highway or park ones car near the ground. The services of a local diving team were also required to retrieve a number of cricket balls from the river. Hebel brought up his second century for the year in double-quick time with about 7 overs left and Roid, after some powerful sixes, eventually fell to a good catch on the boundary for a very quick 47. Hebel eventually fell with 3 overs left for 129 and the MICC were happy to see the back of him. Steve the Stare came and went quickly after trying to up the tempo even more, and was replaced by Alex ‘Moo’ Gale. Just as it looked like the end of the innings might quieten down, Hurricane Nichols strode to the crease. Munich’s very own whirling dervish smashed 24 off 7 balls – 23 on his own in the final over including three well timed sixes (one of which also ended up over the road and in the river) and a four. The final score was an amazing 280 off just 30 overs with a head count of four motorcyclists seriously injured and one dented bonnet (sorry!). This total must be one of the highest scores in Zuoz history!
MICC started their innings in a hurry. Bob Mitcham had inherited Hazza’s gloves for the game and took a good legside catch from Kiwi’s bowling to secure the initial breakthrough. PD and Waleed both scored very quickly until PD fell – LBW to van Daddy from a full bunger. After some BIG hitting, Waleed was next to go thanks to a brilliant catch on the boundary by the Quietest of Men, Paul McGree. Any slight chance the MICCs had disappeared with the big man. Saeed scored a good 50 but it wasn’t enough, and the MICCs ended their innings on 215. MCC won by 65 runs.
Man of the match: chief tw@tter of pies and other assorted pastry, the skipper Amos Hebel.
Then it was on to the final with the boys full of confidence.
Game 3: After a 10 minute break between games, the final of the Zuoz 2003 world championships was between the MCC and Milano, Italia.
Knut, Hurricane and Power (who had a pressing engagement to be ‘entertained’ by Robbie Williams and left early) sat out this game. Captain Cranky took a leaf out of Lovo’s book and lost the toss. MCC continued where they left off from the semi and fielded on what could be arguably the cricket ground with the smallest boundaries in the world (the smallest measuring about 25m). Sharp singles and lucky edges got the ball rolling for Milan, who brought up their 50 in the sixth over for no loss. A couple of wickets didn’t slow them down much, and at the halfway mark of this 25 over game Milan had amassed over 100 runs. MCC were looking down the barrel of a 230 run chase. However, with the subsequent tightening of screws by Hebel, McGree and Mr. Moo himself, Alex Gale this never looked like happening. The pressure was back on the Italians and sharp singles soon turned to suicide singles. MCC capitalised with 3 run-outs, including a direct hit by Bunty Blades (Big Tones! Plays in Zuoz?) In the end, MCC worked admirably in the field to restrict Milan to a very makeable score of 180.
Once again, Van Damage and Hebel provided the MCC with a good start. Van Daddy gave one of the Milan opening bowlers heart burn after hitting his first 3 balls for two sixes and a four. Hebel fell plum as they come, LBW to a ball that was missing leg and off and striking smack bang in the middle for 20 with MCC charging forward: 70 on the board. Moo Gale came and went, before Roids appeared once more to hammer the opposition bowling. By the time he was out (for another well-scored 45 off bugger all balls) MCC were in the box seat requiring about 20 off 7 overs. Van Damage was still batting exceptionally well and finished the match off with the assistance of Pramod for an unbeaten 82 with 5 overs to spare. The excitement only increased as Bunty Blades stripped on the sidelines and ran through the crowd – thus writing his name in the Zuoz history books as the first person to streak at the annual Zuoz cricket festival.
MCC ended up coasting to victory, in what was a very well played final, by 7 wickets. MCC man of the match: the van Daddy of all van Daddies, van Daddy himself.
Following the game, the winning captain made a sterling acceptance speech in the Lovell mould, classy to say the least, with a subtle and moving poo reference. Many were visibly moved to tears.
The weary team then packed into the tranny and Des’s car to head back ‘home’ from a fun and very successful trip.
Another Trophy Bagged for the MCC: Team (Top left -> bottom right) Des, Sembi, Van dammage, bob Mitcham, Knut, rusty Nichols, freak Grier, Pramod, Moooo Gale, Kiwi, Tony, captain Hebel, Mcgree, Hazza (Steve Power missing due to Robbie Williams concert)
Scorer/Chairman Richter Des – driver and suicide bomber from hell, ensuring there were no English in the Tranny. Lover of all things cricket and great job of scoring. Wine connoisseur.
Cpt. Cranky Hebel: Did an outstanding job of organising the trip, drove the Tranny on the way back, scored a magnificent 100 and captained superbly. Excellent use of the word ‘poo’ in the acceptance speech.
Tony Blades: ‘Big Tones’ plays at Zuos. Streaked in Final. Compilation tape king of the convict. Only snores in rooms not allocated to him. Pot, Kettle, etc.
Wayne Van Daddy: Drove all the way there and half the way back – thanks Wayne. Batting superb and bowled well. Quote of the trip: ‘Playing marbles is great, because it teaches you about life!’ Set an excellent example for the innocent and impressionable Mitcham. I don’t want to change the world…
Roids Grier – His Roidship was man of the series. Great batting in all 3 innings. Saved our arses in the first game especially. The Force is strong in this one. Give up the rugby, much better cricketer.
Kiwi Bostock– Bowled well. Again. Ended five long years of hurt with a victory in the Zuoz tournament. A butchering display of which Schmidthuber would be proud.
Quiet Man McGree– Very good bowling to get the key wickets. Got close to a decent chance at a bat “I thought I was a pretty good chance when we were 4-29 and I was next in”. Last man standing on Sat night (again).
Sembian Appavu – Refused to take off his whites all weekend – even to sleep or shower. Early nights – man on a mission.
Hazza – Iron gloves, foreign correspondent, Farmer of the Strike and dodgy pub dancer extraordinaire. Thinks marbles are overrated.
Alex Gale – Bowled well but did not get a chance to shine with bat. Quiet man on the tour. Trying to achieve dark-horse status? Came with an escort to protect him from ravenous Emmerdale beauties.
Steve Power – Great bowling against the MIC. Not spotted on Sat night. In St Moritz perhaps? That date with Robbie: tight leash? We can only hope so.
Knut – Ultimate Tourist. Didn’t get the chance to score his 100th run for the club. But as he proudly likes to point out, he’s never lost a game in Zuoz.
Hurricane Nichols – made the most of his chance. Only faced 7 balls, but scored 24. Legend.
No rusty Swiss watches this year though – disappointing.
Bob Mitcham – Good job keeping against the MIC. Blinding fielding on occasions. Easily led astray by darkhorse Van Datsun. Also thinks marbles are crap.
Pramod – Couldn’t make it out of bed to play the MIC’s. Bowled well in the final and at the crease for the winning runs. Almost pulled a mountainous Swiss bird. A lucky escape?
Jenny Hebel (gorgeous missus of the skip, tamer of all things Cranky)
Ali Power (lover of Cricket, Steve and Robbie, not necessarily in that order)
A great tour overall.
Hazza, Bobby Mitcham & Hebrew
1, There will be coffee served in the Aula room which is in the main school building on Saturday morning at 11.00am. During this time the draw of the teams and the pitches they play on will be made.
2, All matches on Saturday will start at 1.00pm.
3, All games will be 30 over matches, with a maximum of 6 overs per bowler.
4, The four winning teams from Saturday will go though to the winners competition for positions 1-4 on Sunday. Whilst the losing teams from Saturday play off for positions 5-8.
5, The first games on Sunday will start at 9.30am, with the finals starting at 2pm.
6, Can each team please provide an umpire and a scorer with a scorebook?
7, The fielding side provides their own ball.
8, No spiked shoes are allowed on the cricket pitches.