“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”
The is a quote from General of the U.S.A Army Dougal MacArthur. A noble leader who looked after his comrades as if they were his own children. This resonates strongly with our Rome tour leader in Owen Davies whom, defied the odds and made it to Rome Fiumicino airport and back to Munich.
The tour commenced in what can only be described as a calamity of events. Davies departed the wrong airport, opting to stay at l’hotel de l’aeroport in Belguim, isolating from teammates Suchit and Vishv, and arriving in Rome at Fiumicino airport away from his team mates. As our fearless leader waited for Billy Mirtschin to arrive as he too flew into Ciampino (the correctairport) as did fellow Australian Cameron Fosket. Foskett’s time in Rome went from bad to worse contracting COVID somewhere along the way which resulted as a two night stay in Rome, isolated in a room on Tinder.
As the masses of the MCC touring party arrived at the apartment after landing at the correct or incorrect or whatever airport the focus swiftly turned to the matter at hand. Three games of cricket against the Roma Campanelle CC, St Peters (The Vatican) and the Roma Campanelle First XI. Unfortunately due to the withdrawal of LLLL, Davies had assumed the role of fines manager for the tour and instantly fined LLLL for not coming, all other touring members for not arriving at whatever airport as organized by the tour manager.
Game 1: T20 V Roma Campanelle CC
In the first match of the tour against Campanelle CC, JD won the toss and elected to bat. Ankit Singha on his last tour before returning home to India/America opened the batting alongside Suchit. The pair got off to a modest start as the Itallian sun began to set. Suchit was the first man to go scoring 11 from 13 with Sinha ticking the score over with 18 from 18. Dr Simrat Singh and Owen Davies continued the great start progressing the score to 67 before Simrat fell for 15 from 16 deliveries. Billy Mirtschin joined Davies to accumulate the total before an attempt at a quick single saw Davies run out for 35 (40) and the 50 run partnership coming to an end. Mirtschin continues to bat out the remainder of the innings for red ink, as he hit the ball to two 80 year old men continuously on his way to an unattractive run a ball 27. The MCC total had set a respectable total of 131 to win from 20 overs.
In the field the spirits were low after receiving a grilling from Davies that we had all arrived at the wrong airport. Wickets would become extremely hard to find, as was the ball as the sun set with the floodlights of landing planes to the correct airport would offer a glimmer of hope for the batsman, and the fielders to see the incoming balls. In a scorebook that is difficult to read and understand in some sort of latin script the MCC cricketers had no real luck finding a wicket. A stumping was given out, then not given out by a 13 year old first time square leg umpire and the hopes were dashed of a result in the fading light as stumps were called.
Following the game the team went to an authentic Italian restaurant a ‘short walk away’ as described by Davies which soon became a pilgrimage to some ‘slightly corked’ wine and a series of fines.
Game 2: St Peters Vatican T20.
Returning to the scene of the crime, and nearby to the correct airport the MCC were amazed to see St Peter himself coaching the Vatican CC, clerical collar and all. Simrat was sent to the ground early for a scouting report and the fear of god was put through the MCC camp as we learnt they had been at the ground training for the best part of an hour. It sounded reasonable for a 40 over match, however we were advised a T20 would be adequate enough.
The MCC would soon be requested to field as The Vatican set sights on establishing target from their allotted 20 overs. With the withdrawal of numerous players the MCC was one man down in the field. Thank God that the Vatican had an extra player spare, as ‘Father’ crossed to the dark side and joined the MCC team for the innings. Wickets would fall easier than the first game, with the Holy Roman Umpire a decent bloke and calling wickets when they were out. In a scorebook that is difficult to read and understand in some sort of latin script some of the better bowling performances and highlights was Ankit with 2-22 from 4, Tom Clode 2-25, and single wickets to both Suchit and Sai as the innings was closed prematurely with the score on 95.
With 96 the holy number, the MCC set out looking to knock the target off as quickly as possible. And as a result, wickets fell at regular intervals. Vishv would find himself the top scorer with 13 runs, with Simrat 7, Owen 7 and a host of other players managing single figure digits. As the game ended prematurely it meant there would be ample time to taste the holy water.
At the completion of the game, a presentation from the St Peters CC to the Munich CC was welcomed by Davies on behalf of the MCC. A sermon was to follow which lead to a greater appreciation of these fine men who’ve devoted their life to the catholic church while we, devote ours to the Flicx at the Hirsh.
The MCC team was invited back to the mecca of Italian Cricket nearby the Spanish Steps to enjoy the holy water in what was an enjoyable experience for a cricket tragic of any level.
Day 3 began along the same lines as day 2 ended. MCC were joyfully joined by two priests, Fr. Santo and Fr. Jos, who chipped in for covided LLLL and Cam Fos. Skipper Ankit, on his final skipping duties before skipping off to India and USA, won the toss and decided to bat first. Vishv and Such opened the innings. With good running between the wickets and controlled aggression, MCC were 85/0 after 16 overs when Such set off for a quick single before being blocked by the bowler in his stride. He got run out for a well made 35. JD joined in middle and MCC were 102/1 after 20 overs.
Vishv reached his 50 soon after drinks break and retired to make way for skipper Sinha. JD and Sinha batted batted perfectly in tandem before JD was caught behind for 19. Sinha followed soon after an aggressive 29. Fr. Santo (21*) provided blasts towards the fag end of our innings, supported well by Sai (7) and Simi (3*). MCC were 205/5 after 40 overs.
Roma’s openers came in to chase the target swiftly. Before anyone blinked, their openers had amassed 40 odd runs in 6 overs. First changed Veith fought hard to duly got their first scalp off a looping pie. This followed by a long 3rd wicket partnership between Guland and Abedin. Latter was caught down the leg side on 38, oddly enough unknown to the keeper and the umpire. Sqaure leg umpire came to everone’s rescue and raised his finger before much discussion could take place. Their #5 went back as quickly as he came in for grand total of 0, Roma 122/3 after 25 overs, Such with last 2 scalps.
What followed was a slaughtering of another order. As light was fading, Gulam, Roma’s remaining opening batsman, began smashing every bowler all around the park. Losing our match ball to one of his massive sixes looked like a genuine hope. He was out for a well made 90 though off Such, Ankit judging a high one to perfection at long on.
With 2 overs remaining, Roma needed 10 runs with 3 wickets and not a photon of light in hand. Both captains called for an honourable draw, sensible thing with cricket the worthy winner.
Man of the match was awarded to Fr. Clode, for his dazzling work in middle of our living room. Highlights of his innings are archived in our facebook page.
MCC 205/5 after 40
Vishv 50* (76)
Such 33 (49)
Roma Campanelle after 38
Gulam 91 (?)
Abedin 38 (?)
Majority of the MCC players flew back to Munich on Monday. Some headed out to Rome in smashing weather to record ever lasting impressions.
Saitseeing XI of the tour:
6. Sai O’Nara+
7. Sai O’Relief
Billy Dang Ling-Wang