Friday 10thwas a bright, early summer day, temperatures around 20° and everyone getting excited as the departure time approached. I left home at 1pm heading for the car rental to meet committee member Bridgett Bowes. We then headed for the Forschingsbrauerei in the mini-van, then to my cellar to collect the matting to lay on top of the Flicx for a trial, then to Westy`s to collect the away kit and finally to the Hirschanger to deposit the matting and collect the eight MCC Steine to give the proper respect to the Forschungsbrauerei Pilsisimus. The motley crew of travellers including Olie Deverill and Southern Comfort Seth Reinhart who had never even seen a cricket match before were all waiting patiently, even Sam Cross on his first ever visit to the Hirschanger. Waiting must have been thirsty work for before we finally departed at 16:35 two litres of the 24 litres available were sunk without trace and the driver was concerned there would be none left for him when we arrived in Zuoz.
Before we reached the turnoff towards Insbruck Cassandra Craig, who had been sending through ever gloomier weather forecasts all week, sent a message that he and Thumbs Colling had left at 1600 and were already in Garmisch. This was fine as it meant they would be in good time to join Captain Carr, who was travelling from Basel to Zuoz in a private Pullman car, courtesy of Swiss railways, for the pre-tournament briefing in the Dorta. The mini-van meanwhile threaded its raucous way though the Inntal into Austria, turned right there and then left through the 7500 metre tunnel towards Switzerland counting bridges and horses all the way. Amazingly there were no border controls at all and, after frequent stops to water the flowers, we arrived at the Convict in Zuoz at 2100 to be greeted by Captain Mango Carr who had been all alone at the briefing so had gone for a pizza instead. Cassandra and Thumbs arrived some 15 minutes after the van, Cassandra flashing a weather forecast and crying it will be pissing down tomorrow. After a convivial Pizza etc. in Walter`s Pizzeria most returned to the Convict but a couple went to the Dorta where the Freshwater crew turned up at around 11pm having been travelling via Gatwick, Milan and the mountain passes all day. Their relief at finding a place selling alcohol at this time in Zuoz was a joy to behold. Around 1 am I left with two Freshwaters to return to the Convict only to find the street lights were out, it was a pitch black night and the only illumination was from a mobile phone.
It had been arranged to meet at the grounds at 9am to view the weather and decide on the schedule for the day. Cassandra showed three different forecasts each saying pissing down until around 10 then clearing up until around 1pm then pissing down again as it was when he showed the forecasts. The arrangement was to take lunch at the school at noon, then reconvene at the ground ready to start at 12:45. MCC were drawn against Geneva Sri Lankans in the first round and, as Cassandra`s forecast was correct as he insisted on reminding us, we arranged a friendly game against the Genevans, a ten over thrash everyone bar the keeper bowling one over. MCC started as they meant to continue throughout the weekend and dropped a fair few sitters but took the difficult ones and ran out final victors of the friendly. During this match elder statesman Giles arrived and joined us for lunch but declared himself unavailable for today`s matches having been weakened by attending a Paul McCartney concert in Munich on the Friday night.
The first round match against the Geneva Sri-Lankans on pitch 3 was a different matter. They had some good, quick bowlers bowled only a few wides and restricted MCC to 80 for 9 in 20 overs. In return they scored 81 for none down in only 4.5 overs which included 15 wides whereas Geneva bowled only 8 wides in 20 overs.
Deverill J, 19, caught, 0.5 overs, 0 mdns, 14 runs, 0 wkts
Altmann, 1, bowled
Bhamare, 3, caught, 1 over, 0 mdns, 27 runs. 0 wkts
Colling, 8, caught, 1 over, 0 mdns, 12 runs, 0 wkts
Bowes, 6, caught
Carr, 7, bowled
Cross, 12, bowled
Khanna, 8, caught, 1 over, 0 mdns, 13 runs, 0 wkts
Barrett, 1 caught, 1 over, 0 mdns, 17 runs, 0 wkts
Deverill O, 0*
MCC, 80 for 9 in 20 overs, lost to Geneva Sri-Lankans, 83 for 0 in 4.5 overs by 10 wickets.
Getting absolutely thrashed in such a short time meant that we could set up another ten over friendly against the school who had suffered a similar beating at the hands of Zurich Nomads. A Lyceum player had lulled a thigh muscle when running and should clearly be aiming to be an actor. His movement and groans in the field together with his guttural comments in a version of English had the rest of his team in fits. We also won this friendly which finished around 8pm, the time at which we had reserved a table in Walters. Half the squad wanted to use take-aways rather than dine leisurely as they wanted to watch England lose against Russia. The convict had a TV room so many retired there complete with a generous amount of rum, whisky and coke. A couple of us journeyed on to the Dorta where Freshwater were in full swing as we watched England try very hard to lose against Russia. One of the Freshwater players got lost on the way home as there were no street lights and wandered around to the next town and finished up sleeping in a toilet, returning to the Convict at 7am.
The next day was a complete change from Saturday, no rain, warm and a lot of burnt faces on those who hadn`t heeded the warning about the strength of the sun up here. Southern Comfort looked like a Cherokee from Western North Carolina for a while. Cassandra consulted umpteen weather forecasts to allay his misery after the England football performance and we were all at the ground at 9am ready to take on Winterthur on pitch 4 to decide where we would be in the table, anywhere from 5th to 8th. Captain Mango lost the toss and MCC were asked to field. The meaning of the Wide-Boys award seems to have been misinterpreted as in 3 overs we bowled 18 wides which, together with dropped catches helped them to a first wicket partnership of 85 which was broken in the 7th over by a superb catch from Cross off Deverill J`s bowling. Another fine catch by Cross, again off JD`s bowling brought the second wicket in the 11th over with Winterthur on 113. After the first 3 overs only one more wide was bowled and the run rate was pulled back but they finished with 182 for 5 down after 20 overs.
MCC opened the batting with Deverill J and Altmann who put on a splendid 91 before JD was caught by Kruger the younger in the 9th over. Altmann was unluckily run out in the 12th over and Bhamare joined the duck race in the same over with the score on 106. Bridget and Thumbs added 38 for the 4th wicket but then Bowes was caught in the 15th over At this stage MCC needed 39 to win from 5 overs so were looking reasonable. In the next over Thumbs Colling went for 35 and thereafter the run rate dropped and we finished up with 170 for 8 in 20 overs.
Deverill J, 37, caught, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 18 runs, 2 wkts
Altmann, 48, run out, 3 overs, 0 mdns, 34 runs, 0 wkts
Colling, 35, caught, 3 overs, 0 mdns, 24 runs, 0 wkts
Bhamare, 0. Bowled, 3 overs, 0 mdns, 41 runs, 0 wkts
Bowes, 9, caught
Khanna, 11, bowled, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 28 runs, 2 wkts
Cross, 1, run out, 2 catches
Carr, 3, caught
Deverill O, 1*, 1 over, 0 mdns, 6 runs, 0 wkts
Barrett, DNB, 2 overs, 0 mdns, 18 runs, 0 wkts
MCC, 170 for 8 in 20 overs, lost to Winterthur, 182 for 5 in 20 overs by 12 runs.
MCC MOM: Deverill J
After lunch we were scheduled to play Freshwater – who had made a terrible hash of their match against the Lyceum – on pitch 4 to determine the 7th and 8th places in the table. Freshwater batted first – not sure who won the toss. Deverill O left us to play for the Sri-Lankan Stars as several of their players had sloped off after having lost their second match. Cassandra Barrett kept wicket, flashing his 37th weather forecast and hoping that wearing gloves all the innings would be beneficial in the arctic blizzard he was expecting.
MCC opened the bowling with Cross and Colling, alliteration in C being always a winning combination. In his second over Cross bowled a double wicket maiden and Colling also got one in his second over. Bowes and Carr took over, Carr getting one in his first over, a second in his third and another in his fourth whereas Bowes took a double in his fourth. They were now nine down and Captain Mango brought on Khanna in a master stroke that will live on in our memories forever. With his second ball which was his first to Van der Castille, he mesmerised the batsman so much he raised his bat and watched the ball onto middle stump without moving. The whole ensemble of players and umpires erupted into laughter.
Captain Mango Carr reversed the batting order as the target was only 79 in 20 overs and opened with Khanna and Cross. Khanna was bowled rather hilariously in the 4th over for 6 and Cassandra, still wearing gloves, came in to make a good 12 not out. Cross though went in the 5th over with the score on 29 to be replaced by Giles who showed us all what a raised elbow can do for style. That is until he spooned one up to mid-on allowing Southern Comfort Seth Reinhart to take the field for the first time in a competition match. His first ball was hit for an almighty six, narrowly missing the first aid helpers, way back from the boundary. That was it as far as he was concerned, as it was for Bowes who replaced him and joined the duck race with a golden one. It was left to Captain Carr to join Cassandra for an unbroken 35 to win the match and secure us 7th place in the table.
Khanna, 6 bowled, 0.2 over, 0 mdns, 1 run, 1 wkt
Cross, 12, caught, 3 overs, 1 mdn, 25 runs, 2 wkts, 2 catches
Giles, 3, caught
Reinhart, 6, caught
Bowes, 0, caught, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 25 runs, 2 wkts
Carr 16*, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 16 runs, 3 wkts
Altmann, DNB, 2 catches
Deverill J, DNB
Colling, DNB, 2 overs, 0 mdns, 11 runs, 1 wkt
MCC, 80 for 5 in 13.2 overs beat Freshwater, 79 for 10 in 13.2 overs by 5 wickets
MCC MOM: alliteration in “C”, Carr and Cross.
As the game finished early there was time to knock the top off a few Pilsisimus with the Freshwater crew allow Khanna to take some stunning photographs and then watch the presentation of the winner`s trophy to Zürich Nomads before leaving on the long drive home counting bridges and horses again.
We had a memorable weekend with some good cricket and thanks to all the tourists for making it so.