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Thursday 28 June – Sunday 1st July 2018
Tour Report Richard Brock
Spool forward 125 years – and the present day club members were determined to celebrate that decision and their club’s very existence. The highlight was to be an extended club tour with the destination being Dorset: and to be more specific – Wimborne Minster. A four day tour, 14 club members, two games of cricket, two rounds of golf, one big match and – as it turned out – a couple of half decent nights out with plenty of wassailing, though sadly no piano duets.
The weather wasn’t merely set fair: it was on a 4 day bake. Even as the cars gathered around Sussex from 8am, temperatures were in the 70s and going up. Edward, Jim, Matt and Richard set off from Twineham, Tom and Ed from Wineham, Tony, Dave and Mikey from Rottingdean, Matt, Joe and Reese from Brighton. Rob set off to London promising to meet us for the big match, Tom Firth was already in Dorset, meeting the missus. The destination was Ferndown golf club (no not `that` Ferndown golf club, the other one…) which Joe had cunningly convinced to accept us at the bargain bucket rate of £15. What could possibly be wrong? Ed picked up the tour’s first fine by turning up at the other Ferndown Golf Club – wishful thinking. Beers were sunk before the yard arm passed ten am, handicaps were the subject of considerable controversy and argument before finally we were off. Or were we? Hang on, wasn’t this dustbowl the warm up par 3 course? Joe? Joe???? “F*** off, what do you expect for £15?” came the explanation. The tour’s second fine was sealed.
Despite the yardage shortage, we managed to drag the round out for a mind numbing 5 hours before falling onto the balcony of the welcoming clubhouse. Tom Firth, a tour virgin but clearly aware of the tactic to shamefully understate your ability, walked away as winner, just ahead of Jim. A quick beer, more harsh words for Joe, then we departed for our hotel.
Just 20 minutes away from the course was the pretty market town of Wimborne Minster, our base for the next 4 days. Given the divergence of views on last year’s luxury riverside hotel in Oxfordshire, reputations were on the line here. As we drove into the hotel car park, which accommodated all vehicles, and rooms and beds appeared to match numbers, things looked good. We arranged to meet in the bar – and things were good! The hotel was clean, welcoming, had a lovely pub bar, served decent beer and didn’t expel Reese or Joe. It ticked all the boxes.
The centrepiece of our extra day on tour was set for the evening: England Vs Belgium in the World Cup. We made our way to the highly recommended and aptly named Cricketers Arms where the front row of seats facing the big screen was already taken.
We eagerly nabbed the second row and started ordering vast quantities of ale as the pub gradually filled and became increasingly noisy. A couple of the lads began the first of what would be a series of attempts at dabbling with the local women - before a sweepstake on the first England goalscorer. Both events would prove equally fruitless. Because try as we might, shouting encouragement from the back row, England repeated their tactic which has seen them through so many previous world cups – they didn’t score any goals. But as things turned out, as Edward pointed out, this was to be interpreted as good news! So when Belgium scored, there were no tears among the TWCC fans. Indeed when Rob finally arrived on tour, around half time, it was to find a remarkably chipper bunch. You wouldn’t believe we’d spent the day on a crap golf course ahead of watching a woeful England display - we were on tour, the football team manipulated their way into the best half of the draw and we were rocking. The beer flowed, the shoulders were shrugged and at the end of the match we headed back to our hotel which happily offered to feed us.
There followed the first fines session. Ed, obviously, turning up at the wrong golf course. Joe, for booking the wrong golf course – a mighty fine, a jug of beer. Rob, a cardinal and unforgiveable sin: turning up late on tour. At the end of the meal, the bill arrived and Rob did no more than pick up the whole tab. A great gesture and guess what – his sin was forgiven, especially as he explained why he was late in latin.
So what to do in Wimborne Minster on a quiet Thursday night? We went out to a `Spoons` and basked in Mikey’s celebrity, with both barmaids recognising our online star. Tony did his usual trick with the slot machine – racing ahead winning copious amounts of money from a fiver, before pumping it all back. Joe, Matt, a barmaid, a window and a plaster all became jointly involved in a project which sadly falls within the WGOTSOT guidelines. It had been a long day, it wasn’t a late night.
The following morning, what do we find? Edward Bunn at breakfast, in full praise of the hotel. The food, the rooms, the staff, the location…last year’s critical hotel inspector was awarding 5 stars to the King’s Head. And yes, breakfast was good. Full English, eggs Benedict, fruit salad, cereals, pastries….the only thing it didn’t provide was milkshakes, but fortunately Edward found a shop in the pretty market square which managed to double its output and thus keep up with his insatiable demand. So what to do on a boiling Friday 8 miles from Bournemouth? It was never in doubt. Towels were packed, budgies were smuggled…we were on our way to Bournemouth seafront.
OMG: little did we know what embarrassment awaited as we sauntered towards the end of the rather sparsely facilitated pier. TWCC’s finest strong arms took on the `knock a can off a shelf` game. From two yards, Matt Edwards missed with his first two balls. From 5 attempts, the greatest feat of the TWCC mighty was to remove two of the 5 cans from the shelf. It was a warm up for the greater humiliation to follow. The challenge was a simple one. Hang onto a pole with your feet off the ground for two minutes, win £20. A quiver of excitement ran through the youngsters, a collective ripple of tanning muscles – the boys couldn’t believe their luck, it was a cash giveaway. The following is an approximate outline of what happened (rounded to the nearest second)
Matt Edwards: Stayed on: 1 second
Joe Panther: Stayed on: 1 second
Mikey Pearce: stayed on: 1 second
Reese Packham: Stayed on: 3 seconds
Tony Pearce: Stayed on: 4 seconds
Matt Brock: Stayed on: 14 seconds
My apologies if any is under or over-represented by a second or so, it’s from memory, but the story it tells is accurate. As the young guns of Twineham sloped off, the stallholder could be seen to shed a small tear – never had trading been so profitable, so quickly, so simply.
Next stop the beach. Bournemouth’s beautiful sandy beach, full of lovelies (once we’d arrived), enough space for a bit of beach cricket with first Tony then Brocky sending tennis balls in all directions, with young cricketers diving after them. Particularly impressive was Tony’s `catch behind the back`. And the sea was wonderful: warm, clean and the perfect place for a game of slip catching, won by Matt Brock.
We spent about 4 hours by the sea and it was fab: admiring the sights of Bournemouth – of which there were many – before heading to Harry Ramsden’s for a fish and chip lunch. As we headed back, some of the boys diverted to crazy golf, whilst Reese and Joe offered to take fans’ selfies during Mikey’s celebrity walk in the town. Unhappily for the recipients, they flicked the reverse camera on: so the star-struck youngsters got home to see the gurning mugs of Joe and Reese contaminating their phones.
Back to the hotel, turn round, out to cricket and we arrived at 5.30 at Bournemouth CC `one of the biggest cricket club’s in the country` (BCC website). And big it was. Two huge grounds, we were directed to the `second` clubhouse which was large, had a bar, balcony etc. For the match, BCC pulled together a team of mostly youngsters, peppered with varying degrees of talent, led by Rob Pack, a first team bowler.
The role of skipper for this match had been decided at Harry Ramsdens. 5 put their names forward: names were put in a hat, pulled out by Dave. Mikey was to be vice captain but it was Tom Firth whose name was pulled out and who led a team sadly devoid of Reese, who stayed at the hotel as a protest against the voting procedure. His absence gave Richard a match and happily Jim offered to play for BCC who were one short – so all those who wished had a game on a beautiful hot evening.
Skipper Firth won the toss and opted to bat. Looking back through the scorebook he saw a shard of light: Joe’s big weapon! So Joe it was who went in with Tony to open the batting against an attack still on cricket’s steep learning curve, but clearly with much potential.
Tony was bowled with the score on 36 while Joe kept thumping the fours. It was a good start. Rob limped out to the middle, as close to fitness as we are to a new pavilion. He smacked a couple of fours but his limited movement meant he was LBW for just 9. In strode Mikey, a young man so full of batting talent that sometimes he convinces us to believe it. And this was just such a moment. Mikey joined Joe in taking the attack to BCC. His 50 was near flawless – apart from a couple of drops. As Joe was bowed out for a splendid 28, and Edward for just 1, Tom F joined Mikey and the pair of them powered forward, spraying fours to all areas of the ground. The score went from 56 to 145 in the 10 overs they were together. Mikey retired on 50, Tom was out for 34 but Matt Edwards and Tom Rydon belted a few at the end to leave us on a respectable 158-6. The BCC bowling was variable, with a couple of the spinners in particular getting great grip and causing real problems.
Any weaknesses in BCC’s bowling were made up for by their highly competent batting – something that only became obvious after the first over, during which Edward took the two wickets of their openers. BCC’s strong middle order kicked in and it was the two Brocks who both took a bit of punishment. But Brock senior got a lucky edge from an appallingly wide ball and Brock junior followed up with a proper wicket, caught and bowled. Batsmen Markham and Jones, who’d put on more than 50 between them, both out. But we were far from home and dry. As their skipper Rob Pack came in, he started to spray the ball at TWCC’s numerous walking wounded, especially Rob, who was to be seen hobbling after the ball to and fro at mid on with painful regularity. During this period, BCC kept absolutely to the required 8 an over. At 117-4 from 15 overs, they needed 42 from 5. The next over – a huge boost. Joe’s repositioning to mid on led to him catching Rob Pack off Tom Firth the very next ball. Good overs from Ed and Tom R left BCC needing 20 from the last two overs, then 12 from the last Ed Howes over. A four and a wide were not a great start – but Ed kept his cool – just – and got through his first 5 balls for 10. 1 for a TWCC win, 2 for a tie, 3 for a BCC win. A good ball and a scrambled single – we won by one run. A game played in great spirit and afterwards, BCC put on beer, burgers and cakes for us, which were most welcome. We stayed for a good hour enjoying their company, they were a really good bunch and we’d like to thank them very much for their hospitality and spirit – notably Mark Smith who’d offered us the match in the first place. It was a great tour evening.
Friday 29th June 2018
TWCC vs Bournemouth CC
TWCC won the toss and opted to bat
T Pearce Bowled J Palmer 10
J Panther Stumped C Smith 28
R Rydon LBW A Humber 9
M Pearce Retired 50
E Bunn LBW C Smith 1
T Firth Ct C Smith Bld A Humber 34
M Edwards LBW C Smith 4
T Rydon Not out 6
TOTAL: 158-6 (20 OVERS)
FALL: 36-1, 46-3, 54-2, 56-5, 146-7, 158-6
DNB: R Brock, E Howes, M Brock
BOURNEMOUTH CRICKET CLUB
N Groves Ct R Brock Bld E Bunn 0
A Deem Bowled E Bunn 4
J Markham Ct WK (M Edwards) Bld R Brock 28
O Jones Ct and Bowled M Brock 17
J Palmer Not out 32
R Pack Ct J Panther Bld T Firth 46
J Gray Bowled E Howes 8
C Smith Run out 7
TOTAL 157-7 (20 OVERS)
TWCC Bowling: E Bunn 3-0-18-2; E Howes 4-0-32-1; M Brock 2-0-20-1; R Brock 2-0-20-1; M Pearce 2-0-14-0; T Pearce 2-0-23-0; T Rydon 3-0-18-0; T Firth 2-0-20-1.
FALL: 1-0, 2-4, 52-4, 57-3, 118-6, 146-7, 157-6
TWCC WIN BY 1 RUN
We arrived back at the hotel to find Reese in good spirits. He’d been on his own little spree around Wimborne and discovered a place called The Rising Sun, what he told us was a happening place. We considered poker and we considered The Rising Sun. No contest. As we squeezed inside, the heady mix of sweat, perfume and pheromones, combined with the lively dance music from across the generations with a little bit of World Cuppery thrown in made for a fantastic night. The shots lined up again and again, the boys – and one or two of the old gits – took the dance floor and it just brilliant fun. By 1’O clock we were on the road outside, chatting away before the short walk past Wimborne Minster back to the hotel. A merry bunch.
Saturday morning in Wimborne. Edward in the milkshake shop, a market in the town centre, the chaps enjoying breakfast. Golf was lined up for 2pm – so the perfect time for the TWCC tennis tournament. The tour’s existing champion of many years – Skipper Brock – was under serious threat from Tom `5 racquets` Firth. Remarkably, two days before Wimbledon, we were offered two excellent grass courts a short walk from the hotel. Teams: Tony and Richard, Tom and Tom, Matt B and Ed, Matt E and Reese. Argumentative umpires: Mikey and Joe. It was a baking morning, serving into the sun was tricky, some shed their shirts, others their shoes. But however it looked, it was competitive. Edwards clearly miffed with Packham, Panther helping none at all, Mikey central to all disputes…boys on tour! The senior Pearce/Brock partnership took a while to get into gear before dispatching Edwards/Packham, whilst Tom and 5 racquets breezed past Matt and Ed and then the argumentative pair of Matt and Reese. The showdown was saved to the last match. Tom selected the finest of the 5, TWCC’s youthful youngsters stepping onto court to trounce the old gits. It was over sooner than anyone believed. A 3-0 whitewash – and for Tom and Tom - the scalding walk back to the hotel to reflect on where it all went wrong and possibly the need to bring a couple of extra racquets next year.
We set off early to the golf course for lunch – a proper golf course. Dudsbury, a golf resort with nice everything. It was baking, France Argentina beckoned and Brock senior shockingly contemplated staying in the clubhouse to watch. HEFTY FINE ADMINISTERED LATER! Breaking up the group activities is one of the most heinous crimes on tour and as author of the report, I humbly apologise.
The golf course was lovely. Long, green and wet. Rather too wet for some, and lots of balls were lost to the numerous marshes, ponds, lakes, streams etc. The first two groups raced ahead but the Brock/Brock/Bunn/Rogers group had on its tail a tournament of juniors, and an incredibly annoying twerp in a golf buggy managing them. Letting them through wasn’t a problem – letting them through and then waiting whilst they lost their balls, faffed around and waited for the ones ahead was. After 3 and a quarter hours, the group reached the 9th green – and headed to the bar. The other groups made good time on a lovely course before we headed at various intervals back to the hotel for SHIT SHIRT NIGHT.
SSN is a new concept for tour. The requirement was to wear what it says on the tin.
Matt Edwards showed a particularly queasy coloured garment, Richard’s bow tie effort plucked from the 80s, Dave’s paisley truly gross, reeking of new Romanticism. Ed was sent back to his room to find something worse, a particularly poor effort from Edward who wore a shirt he’d already worn on tour a day earlier – but Jim’s was surely worst of all, with the appearance of a pyjama jacket combined with a car rug – really quite ghastly. Unsurprisingly, as we gathered in the bar of the hotel, our shirts caused more than a little comment from others trying to enjoy their evening. One particular lady and her partner were so amused that they agreed to be the judges in the SSN competition. Rob’s faded pink Hawaii shirt received a highly commended, as did Dave’s effort. The absolute loser was judged to be Edward whose shirt was capable of being worn almost without humiliation – but the winner by a country mile was Jim’s pyjamas. We sank a lot of beer in that short hour, before buying our judges drinks and heading out to Rim Jim.
RimJim, it should be explained, was Wimborne’s finest Indian restaurant, as well as an amusing concept for someone like Joe. I’m afraid the tour report here goes a little hazy because the speed of consumption of the Abbott Ale gave the author a `missing hour`. Safe to say, it was a meal enjoyed by all, especially the team’s vegetarian Matt B who finished Edward’s chicken tikka masala. The bill payment was confusing but once that was sorted, there was only one place to be: the Rising Sun. The fines payments were lined up on the bar and swiftly despatched, along with many other drinks. Mikey’s only defence against a particularly clingy fan was to insist his girlfriend would be cross – severe loss of street cred I fear. And whilst the pub didn’t feature the numbers of the night before it did provide one of the greatest tour moments of all time. Imperilling the WGOTSOT creed, the following story needs to be told. Joe was chasing a birthday girl, clearly marked by a large badge reading 30 dangling from her chest. At one stage they seemed close. Moments later it was all over, Joe had moved on. As she ran out in tears, concerned club goers followed her out. What had transpired was that they fell out over something trivial – and as she tearfully said `I’ve been out with footballers, rugby players – and tonight “I thought I’d give the fat bloke a chance!”` A new club motto is born.
As we spilled out onto the road at the end of another great evening, it was to find a bare chested Dave swapping his paisley shirt with another clubber who loved what he was wearing. It was that sort of crazy night, with plenty more incidents falling under the WGOTSOT ruling.
5 days before the tour, Puddletown, the opponents for our second match in Dorset had pulled out. Richard frantically trawled 3 counties for a new fixture: Dorset, Hampshire, West Sussex. The only takers were…Balcombe, some 5 miles north of Twineham! And so it was that on Sunday morning, around 10.30, we checked out from the excellent hotel and headed for our match – in Sussex. Tony dropped Mikey off at a train station, turning round to rescue his car keys 10 miles later!! We reached the Half Moon pub in Balcombe – still very much on tour – at around 12.30 – unless like Matt and Joe you went via the M25??? Drinks were ordered and served to the table – individually and with great regularity – almost as if the attractive young barmaid was being called out again and again….
At 1.40pm we made the 400 yard drive from the pub to the ground down a dusty track. A new ground to us, despite the proximity to TWCC. It was small, narrow, but set in a beautiful background of the North Downs, really spectacular. It has a long modern pavilion made up of sectional modules which housed plenty of room for changing, tea, a bar and even a TV for those enjoying the World Cup. An excellent venue. Reese had been asked to be skipper and he was offered the choice to bat or bowl. He chose to bowl, and we went out for a sweltering long hot afternoon in a timed match of 2 hours 20 minutes and an hour and 20 overs.
Balcombe started briskly. Tom R and Ed bowled well but the short boundaries and the parched ground were creating quick scoring opportunities. Balcombe’s number 2, a young Colt called Ollie Hine was particularly impressive, clipping the ball to the onside boundary regularly, and a number of byes also raced to the boundary. Balcombe were past 50 when Matt Edwards was brought on and took a vital wicket, the opener Ward nicked behind to Reese behind the stumps for 15. Richard came on the other end and working in tandem with Matt, these two slowed the scoring rate considerably. Richard got an LBW awarded without question by Joe, who’d been given a chance to be umpire, and then a clean bowled. With the game back in control, and Balcombe struggling to find the boundaries, the skipper showed his sporting side and called on Edward and Tony to bowl. This might be seen to have tilted the match back towards Balcombe, as the pair conceded 56 in 7 overs – though in fairness Tony appeared to have got a clear nick from young Mr Hine, which everybody heard but Joe the umpire! But the young man batted well, before running himself out on 87, dashing to keep strike and make his century. Finally, it was great to see Jim come off his full run for 3 overs at the end, and working in tandem with Matt Brock, they took a wicket a-piece leaving the final score on 177-6. On our day, our bowling line up looks really rather fearsome.
Tea was described by Tony as the greatest ever cricket tea! A quintessential English Cricket Tea, light, bright and delicious. And so suitably fed and watered, it was the combination of Jim and Richard who led the TWCC batting attack. Richard departed swiftly but Jim and Tony moving forward purposefully taking the score to 75 before Jim was run out for 28. At 91-2 we were looking good. Tony retired confidently for an excellent 75. But Balcombe saved two useful bowlers to the end. Dave made 4, Edward 12 and Reese 12. 145-5, wickets falling...
Tony mildly upset that Dave was somehow run out...
33 needed, 4 wickets in hand (we had decided that come what may, Tony should not pick up his innings.) Matt fell without scoring. Tom helped the score to 174 - 8. 174-9 as Tom R went for 1. 4 to win and the last batsman was Matt Brock, not renowned for his batting greatness. He faced up – the game would be won or lost on the next few balls. Crack! First ball Matt creamed through the covers to the boundary – the day was ours and we raced onto the pitch to congratulate Matt and shake hands with our excellent opponents and hosts. Another cracking match to add to a season of brilliant finishes.
Sunday 1st July 2018
TWCC vs Balcombe CC
TWCC were given the choice and opted to bowl
A Ward Ct WK (Packham) Bld M Edwards 15
O Hine Run out (Packham) 87
G Botting LBW Bld R Brock 2
M Rawbin Bowled R Brock 1
A botting Ct…. Bld M Brock 27
R Mitchell Bowled J Simon 9
A Rewitt not out 5
K Mitchell not out 1
TOTAL 177- 6
Fall: 51-1, 67-3, 74-4, 139-5, 1692, 176-6
BOWLING: T Rydon: 5-0-18-0, E Howes 5-0-20-0, M Edwards 6-1-16-1, R Brock 7-1-13-2, E Bunn 4-0-38-0, T Pearce 3-0-18-0, M Brock 3-0-16-1, J Simon 3-0-19-1
J Simon Run out 28
R Brock Ct T Rawbin Bld R Mitchell 9
T Pearce Retired 75
D Rogers Run out 4
E Bunn Bowled M Rawbin 12
R Packham Ct G Botting Bld M Rawbin 12
M Edwards Ct T Rawbin Bld O Hine 0
T Firth Bld O Hine 10
T Rydon Ct A Botting Bld M Rawbin 1
E Howes not out 1
M Brock not out 4
Balcombe bowling: Mitchell 4-2-6-1, M Sargil 4-0-20-0, C Botting 4-0-16-0, A Botting 2-0-25-0, A Trevett 3-0-33-0, G Botting 3-0-26-0, M Rawbin 6-0-20-3, O Hine 4.2-1-11-2
FALL: 11-2, 75-1, 95-4, (137-3), 137-5, 145-7, 160-6, 174-8, 174-9
TWCC win by 1 (2) wicket(s)
As we chatted with Balcombe’s players after and joked among ourselves, it was the perfect end to an absolutely brilliant tour. To do 4 days was a risk but it paid off – just this once. We are a very close-knit club, we love each other’s company and we love our tours. This really was one of the greats. Great hotel, cracking matches, two great finishes, wonderful weather and most of all a great mix of players. Fantastic to see Dave back on tour, to see Tom tour for the first time, and for Rob to also come along for the first time. Everyone adds something to tour, be it an action, a suggestion, an idea, a piece of brilliance or craziness. And the camaraderie is phenomenal.
Back in 1893, I doubt they toured – but as the records show, they really enjoyed each others` company. That has not changed 125 years later – and at this club, I’m confident it never will.
Thank you all for touring, you are a fantastic bunch.
Many thanks to Richard, TWCC's long-time skipper, who organised this and previous tours.
As someone who feels the challenge when organising getting out to the shops I can only guess at the amount of time and effort that goes into setting up a tour, and, whilst others also helped, the bulk of the work has been Richard's which he takes on on top of doing his proper job. Not easy, but not thankless as we are all grateful, Brocky, for what you do.
More Tour Photies:
Life's a beach
Not shit enough...
Very hot night...
Dave puts a brave face on Tony's greedy run-chasing
Captain Packham finds something more interesting than the cricket to look at...
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