MCC Tour of Vis, 1-3 April 2022
It was billed to be the pre-season trip to the sunshine, we did see the sun, briefly.
We were unfortunate to have a dropout on the Thursday morning, Simrat not wishing to screw up his trip to India, he would be missed, not just as he was the 11th player, but an integral part of the tour. Oh well, onwards and upwards.
4 of the touring team made their way to Split on the Wednesday, initially was supposed to be 3, but the ever ready and prepared Randy wasn’t sure when his flight was, he was fortunate to tell us at the game in Lohhof on the Sunday. The other 6 of us embarked on the most advanced turboprop, Dash 8-400 of Croatia Airlines on the short hop to Split.
Enroute to Split we had been told by the remaining 4 that the catamaran was cancelled due to the weather, therefore we would make the crossing on the ferry in two groups. The 2.5 hour trip would have been pleasant in the daylight. Owen, Suckit, Randy and Vish hopped on the ferry and graced the island a few hours before the rest of us.
What to do in Split for the few hours before the later ferry? Take a short tour / direct route to the same restaurant Veith (The only tourist to have made the trip last time 6 years ago) went to on the glorious tour back then. He had a craving for squid and duly ordered a plate full. Squid is not that common in Munich and he wanted to make the most of it. Great food all round and the start of the fine gathering began, small beers were noted.
The short stroll back to the port was interrupted by the visit to the shops for beer, food and off course, sickness tablets. We were in for a good few days ahead. On the island, the 4 has disembarked and loaded up with more food and booze. Then decided on a swim. The quiet villa in Zenka was about to receive 10 tourists who had a long weekend away from home.
To discuss the Villa, Suckit seemed to find the perfect location, tucked away on the south east coast in Zenka, the Seabreeze could accommodate the full team comfortably, large lounge with wood burning fire for the chilly times, like evening/ night when we were there. The kitchen had enough space for people to cut, cook and generally idle around. In nicer eather the outdoor seating and pizza oven would come in handy.
The swimming pool, nicely located overlooking the ocean and with a perfect sunrise to wake up too.
It was also big enough for the team ‘piggy in the middle’ and water polo, and general chilling out as modelled beautifully, not beautiful models, by the early arrivals. Would certainly recommend coming back to the villa in future tours.
Not wishing to forget the crossing, the 6 remaining tourists, LLLL, Gloria, Argha, Cam, Vinny and Veith boarded the 1960s vessel and set sail. On the same boat were the team from NATO in The Hague and our opponents for Saturday. The top deck of the boat vaguely resembled the flicx in terms of colour, grip and bounce. A few beers in, and the game commenced much to the bemusement of some other passengers. For the first time in a while, Gloria bowled quicker than his run up and Veith dispatched the straightest shot he has ever played and will ever play, over the bowlers head, over the camera man and onto the car deck. Cam would be fined later for concentrating on filming and not on catching. With the ball retrieved, into bat went Gloria and a couple of forward defensives angled back to the bowler and the last ball played, over the edge into the Adriatic and out!
As the sunset on the boat, the waves increased and standing steady became a challenge. A duo of chundering from one of the players from both sets of touring teams ensued. A lot of relieved faces when we disembarked. A quick trip to the villa to join up with the other 4 tourists for a few beers and food lovingly prepared by Owen. Fines duly dished out!
We awoke early on day 2 to see that at one of the rain dancers on the island had indeed danced to make sure they was enough ready water for his olives and grapes, but it also meant that the playing on Friday was off.
Argha was making himself useful in the kitchen sorting out the coffee machine, probably the most valuable task of the weekend, but only just ahead of the song selection for the tour. This was to come later in the day though. After copious cups of coffee (Argha fixed the machine) and tea the days decision was made. Let’s go for a short walk to Vis town, we needed to stock up on beers and food. Why take a taxi when we could walk from one side of the island to the other? Only 90 mins was the predicted time to walk, would be beat the showers? Nope! Randy was called into action to help fix Glorias umbrella, he failed. Slightly selfish of Gloria, an umbrella big enough for 1 when there were 10 of us. Glad it broke, he would get wet now too! On arrival to Vis Town, as this was out of season, we found 2 places open to eat.
Choice of food was simple. Risotto with either beef, prawns, cuttlefish or veg. Lucky we all like rice! But the welcome drinks were something special, with Loza being the pick of them. If it looks like water, is in a water bottle, doesn’t smell like water, if definitely isn’t water. The local tipple it was, what a grand idea to buy a bottle from them for later fines. A report can’t capture the gif but it can the screenshot, its almost if you can taste it from here. Not sure why Randy got his fine, but Argha got it for asking for lemon with his water. Should have had a beer instead!
We taxied back to the villa and embarked on trying out the pool for a few hours, drinking lots and selecting the tour song. Vish will like to forget about, but alas, here it is. https://youtu.be/vloUhu7QxmU
Play to being, I think I recollect Suckit won the toss and sent us into bat. Opening up was the partnership of Vish and Owen, as is usual, Owen was off like a flash and hitting some sublime shots, Vish was taking his time and allowing Owen to steal the strike. Both fell with Vish on 6 and Owen on 32. Owen was starting how he intended his season to go with the bat. Argha (4) and Veith (11) next in, Veith slapping a flat batted 4 over the bowlers head. We all have a lot to learn from this boy. Memorable innings later in the day from Suckit (24) and Randy (14), Cam (9) and Vinny (6) in the adding 15 between them. LLLL (6 n.o) and Gloria (2 n.o) finishing it off. 149-9
Beer at the halftime break and lunch courtesy of Rokis, the food was lovely, a hearty stew, perfect for fielding for 30 overs! Gloria and Randy opening up, Tom taking 2-8 off his 3 overs and Randy unlucky to end without a wicket but conceding just 12 off his 4 overs. Standout bowler being Argha, 7-3-10-2. Other wickets going to Suckit (1), Owen (2) and Veith (1). We had the chances to win, but the Dutch had loaned us a player, who put the catch down to win the game. Oh well, great game all round and we saw where his loyalties lay!
A few beers following the game, back to change and later in the evening off to Rokis again for a feast. The chef had been preparing all day and treated us to Squid and Lamb & Veal with potatoes, no forgetting the platters of local meats and cheeses. Well and truly spoilt with the food and copious amounts of local wine. Many reasons to come back and tour again, but the promise of the food, could well be one of the best.
Sunday was again awoken by Suckit and his tunes. He will be banned for using youtube on future tours, certainly first thing in the morning. We were off again, this time to play 30 overs again the Vis team. The game was delayed slightly as the home side needed to find more players. Carrier pigeons were sent to summon players who trickled in. Off we go, the toss was not so much of a toy, but MCC to bat. MCC lent a couple of fielders and umpires, it was a whole team activity when batting. Up stepped Cam and Randy, the first team were in for a treat this season with these 2, the first wicket to fall was that of Cam (49) jug avoidance, holing out to Vinny on the boundary, safe hands from MCC 2nd team wicket keeper. Into the mix came Suckit (9) and after playing many dots he drove one lovely shot just above Veiths head, who reached up and took a lovely catch. 2 wickets down and taken by 2 MCC fielders. Would we hold as many catches when we were to bowl? Randy was the next jug avoidance on (48) when he was stumped. LLLL(15) was next, couple of 4s and 1s before ending it with a looped shot to Roki. Gloria hitting a 6 almost to cow before falling for 11. Argha (3) adding a few before being bowled by the Vis debutant. Not just his first game for Vis, but the first game ever. Vinny(11 n.o.) and Veith (20 n.o.) ending the innings. Setting the home side 182 to win.
The opening pair of the 2 V’s started the proceedings, Veith having 3 overs and Vish 4. Owen took the gloves. Catching in the field was to be tough. It was cold and MCC were out there in layers. We were lucky, the hail arrived only later in the innings and was for a short burst. LLLL called to Vish to take a catch, it was falling miles from him, landing mere 1 metre from where he stood. Fine! Argha had one go to him and got his ankle and hand confused, dropped, Gloria dropped one at slip, the opportunity to not run for the 2nd team and field at slip, gone in an instant. Bowing all round, Vinny took 3 wickets. The scorebook is a little hard to decipher the stats.
After another round of lunch, this time another stew but with local sausages and polenta, we downed a few beers before watching some of the 2nd game, a mix of the Vis team and the Dutch, it was back to the villa for finishing the alcohol, dishing out fines and cooking. Not before some of the team thought a dip in the Adriatic would be a good idea. Others, sat this out.
We were up very early on Monday, would we risk the catamaran or take the ferry. If the cat didn’t sail, we would miss the flights. Ferry was the choice, leaving at 0430, for the trip back to Split. Chunder pills taken and the 2 hour crossing began. On arrival in Split, we had some sightseeing around the old city before heading back to the airport for the journey to Munich. We bid goodbye to Gloria, billy no mates who flew to Frankfurt and onto Munich and the rest of us via Vienna.
All in all, we can say thanks to Vis Cricket Club for hosting both MCC and the Dutch. To the Dutch team for the games. To Suckit for organising the tour and to Roki and his team for the wonderful hospitality.
Next, the season starts and the performances on tour, have they helped us prepare?
Dave "4L" Llewellyn