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    Bermuda 2009

    Played 7 Won 1 Lost 4 Abandoned 2


    1.    I have pink balls. Have you seen them?

    2.    Queen is the head.

    3.    What the f*** is this? Do you want me to dance or something?

    4.    It’s OK, I don’t think he saw us.

    5.    A bad hair day?

    6.    Don’t bring the field in.

    7.    I don’t like port.

    Bermuda Tour Report

    Stewart Peet Tours does it again! Early in April sun-loving Sou’westers looked out their passports, bought their dollars (a painful experience), packed their bags, golf clubs, cards and shorts and assembled at Gatwick over several days for the Bermuda flight. The main party fumed at the lack of tea with their tea (turbulence and all-powerful health and safety concerns, apparently), but we landed safely and on time and, after a lengthy queue in immigration, found our base at the Surf Side Beach Club. For most the short(ish) walk to the Swizzle Inn for grub, for those with less stamina, the long climb to the highest room in the complex.

    The following day brought nets for the players (and a likely bunch they looked, the youngest and fittest squad for many a year) and a vigorous mix of football and cricket for the boys, under the benevolent eye of our travelling umpire.

    And so to our first game, on the ground of host club Somerset. It isn’t large and is dominated by a splendid pavilion, which resembles nothing quite so much as an elaborate, pink and vaguely oriental wedding cake, and four floodlight pylons. Rain clouds were gathering in a high wind amid the wail of kites flying high. The opposition conducted a long and vigorous warm-up. The pitch, baked clay with grass clippings rolled in, was being prepared with the largest roller your correspondent has ever seen and a battery of hairdryers. The skipper won the toss and chose to field, and then the heavens opened. Meanwhile a sweep on the Grand National kept us on edge and delighted at least the winner. Then the game was abandoned, to the frustration of V.Lewis, travelling umpire, who hadn’t been consulted.

    Four days later we were back, for a 20/20 game under lights with a 7 p.m. start. It was again pretty windy and occasional spots of rain hinted at a repeat, but after a last-minute photocall for the whole party the skipper led his men into the field. He set a brace of Georges to bowl with the pink ball and they obliged in contrasting fashion. Tom slipped in five wides in his first over, but surprised an opener with a straight one. Sam opened with three maidens and an LBW. Robbie Prior, a welcome recruit from Axminster, had a very tidy spell. Jeremy Peet bowled. Andy Bolan produced a super shift – four an over and three wickets. Alistair Thomas was less successful. The groundsman, not long back from a knee operation, laid about him and carried the score past the hundred, which after fourteen overs had seemed unlikely. George S picked up a second wicket off the last ball in an innings where our fielding had not always been impressive. Our reply was full of incident. A stumping given off a no ball free hit had to be reversed. We failed to lay a bat on in all five free hits. Paul Barford had a long wait to find out that he had actually been bowled. One over appeared to contain nine legitimate balls. George T batted well for a while and George S laid about him with some purpose at the end, but our effort lacked distinction against skilful off-spin and we only got as close as 102 thanks to thirty-seven extras; the groundsman’s knee, by now operating under protest, inhibited his keeping. The final margin rather flattered us.

    The following day we were back for another 20/20 game, with Chris Haynes at the helm. The toss was somewhat delayed, but eventually Haynes led his men into the field, following umpire Lewis and his urgently recruited colleague, George PW. Again a brace of Georges took the new ball, this time Robert and Sam. Runs flowed at first, but Sam hit the stumps in his third over, and soon after a direct hit brought a run-out. Prior and Bolan took up the attack and bowled eight overs between them for thirty runs and two wickets, supported by some excellent fielding. Peet J and Haynes bowled tidily at the death and took a wicket each, with the groundsman this time greatly hampered by his knee and not nearly so effective. Justin Williams and George T made a steady start, but then Tom took charge with some searing shots and positive running. Justin scored mainly in singles in a stand of ninety. He was bowled and soon after Tom was LBW, leaving Thomas and Prior to knock off the five runs needed, with seven balls to spare. It was a pleasing win.

    Three days later, at last, a longer game, fifty overs a side. The skipper won the toss and chose to bat on a pitch offering variable bounce. The wind was still strong and we had a spell without bails. After one delivery there was a lengthy discussion about the ball (which we had provided, apparently by a misunderstanding), and another was produced. It wasn’t very lucky for Paul Barford, who survived only three further balls. Haynes and George T put on 64, a bit tied down by excellent fielding by the current Bermuda club champions. Haynes appeared to run out of steam, and then Thomas was done by a shooter. George T passed fifty and offered a catch. George R played positively and Prior, Williams and Bolan all contributed, but the scoring rate was not rapid, and when the skipper was run out by a brilliant piece of fielding we had left seven balls unused and were some thirty runs below par. The early overs of the Young Men’s innings were not tidy and they rapidly moved to 93. We seemed to be heading for a thrashing, but Bolan and Prior again pulled things back. Barford P leapt for a catch and George T caught two more. Thomas came on at the end to take two for very few.  We had kept them out there for forty-four overs and in the end were perhaps flattered to have lost by only three wickets. A lively evening apparently followed at the YM clubhouse.

    The next day we watched the Bermuda Under 19 squad warm up, and then the heavens opened again. The covers eventually went on, to conceal some giant puddles, and the game was duly abandoned. Your correspondent took a rather bloody nosedive in the rush through the rain to the transport and the first game of bridge ensued.

    Two and a half days of R and R and we returned to Somerset for another of these 20/20 jousts. Our playing strength had by now been reduced to eight, and we recruited three local ex-pats, if that is not a contradiction in terms. Only three of the four sets of lights were in operation, which left a quarter of the ground pretty murky. Again a brace of Georges opened the bowling. Sam was economical, Robert after a steady first over less so. It took the introduction of Prior to take the first wicket, but in his second over he dislocated a thumb and left to the island’s only hospital. We were reduced to ten fielders and it showed as the Rangers captain, hot off the plane from the World Cup qualifiers, laid about him. Peet J entered the attack in place of Prior; his first four balls conceded eleven runs and with his last two he hit the stumps. WC man then succumbed to a farcical run-out. Bolan then missed another run-out chance and took one the next ball. Peet J hit the stumps again, but we were not thrifty in the last few overs, and 167 looked a formidable target. Williams and Bolan opened our innings to a field which featured two square covers barely five yards apart. Justin either played and missed or hit it for four and we kept well up with the required rate for some time. Bolan holed out at square leg to a steady medium-pacer, who appeared to be at the least the twelfth player used by the Rangers, but Steve Drake, one of our recruits, showed that he well understood the demands of the Bermudian game by using the aerial route. After some aggressive mishooks, he played a little straighter, and he and Justin carried the score to 114 in the fourteenth over. We seemed to be on target. The middle order was less successful however. The bowling tightened, and we simply couldn’t get the eleven needed off the last over. It had been a good chase against a useful side.

    We returned the following day, now down to seven players, to face a Somerset Select. The start was late and the scorebook presents something of an enigma, as the scorers were not supplied with the names of fifteen of the players. Our travelling umpire took command at both ends, as again two Georges took the new pink ball. The missing lights had been restored, as seven Sou’westers and four guests took station. We did all right until the twelfth over. Peet J hit the stumps and was unlucky to see the seventh legitimate ball of an over disappear for six. A Bolan spell was as tight as ever. But then it all went wrong, and we conceded eighty-eight runs in the last eight overs. Williams had a bowl and took a wicket, but it was not a cheap one. Williams and Bolan again started our innings well, until Williams fell to an off-spinner. Boland and an Aussie guest took the score to 92 in the twelfth over, but they were both out within a run, and the innings subsided in a rather over-jolly atmosphere. We could manage only thirty-seven more runs against some fairly ordinary bowling. It was rather a flat end to the cricketing section of the tour. However the following evening a lively dinner, with a guest, speeches and presentations, at the Swizzle Inn raised our spirits, and it was a contented party which gathered at the airport for the dreary flight home.

    The tour brought a number of Sou’wester firsts – games under lights, pink balls, free hits after no balls (no Sou’wester managed even to lay a bat on any of the numerous free hits we were offered, though one of our guests achieved a maximum). The party included numerous families and at least three generations – the old-and-past-it, led by your correspondent, the old-(or young enough-)to play, and the youngsters who will no doubt make the future of the club. We will all have our special memories; mine are of Bermuda fish chowder, Mexican beer, uphill trudges at the dead of night, a shortage of scorers, the whine of kites and improvised card tables, not to mention the cheerful and spontaneous greetings from all we met. Once again time seemed to stand still, this time for a little more than a fortnight, and we all owe a deep debt of gratitude to Somerset Cricket Club, to the marvellous and ever-charming Molly, to the island of Bermuda and its unfailingly cheerful inhabitants and above all to Stewart Peet, travel agent, fixture secretary, transport manager, logistics coordinator and adviser on parrot fish. Thank you indeed.

    The Quotes Explained

    1.    Stewart Peet, in all innocence, to anyone who might be interested.

    2.    The explanation of the coin given to Haynes at the toss.

    3.    A local standing at Swizzles bar, in answer to Stewart Peet’s friendly remark ‘Lovely evening, isn’t it?’.

    4.    Peet J, in plain view of a passing security guard whilst in the company of a large group of drunken Sou’westers singing at the tops of their voices to Rod Stewart at 2 a.m. on then patio of room 22.

    5.    The greeting from a complete stranger as two of our ladies entered a restaurant from an extremely windy outside.

    6.    Peet J, magnanimously, on a hat-trick.

    7.    Peet S, defying received wisdom.


    v Somerset Saturday 4th April Abandoned
    v Somerset (20/20) Wednesday 8th April Lost by 10 runs
    Somerset 112-6 A.Bolan 3-16, S.J.E.George 2-8
    Sou’westers 102 J.Gilbert 5-10
    v Somerset (20/20) Thursday 9th April Won by 8 wickets
    Somerset 104-7
    Sou’westers 106-2 T.W.R.George 70
    v Young Men’s Social Club Saturday 11th April Lost by 3 wickets
    Sou’westers 193 T.W.R.George 55, R.J.P.George 38, C.D.Haynes 25, Prior 21
    Y.M.S.C. 194-7 A.Thomas 2-2, R.Prior 2-26, A.Bolan 2-35
    v Bermuda Under 19 Sunday 12th April Abandoned
    v Southampton Rangers Wednesday 15th April Lost by 3 runs
    Rangers 167-6 J.Peet 3-57
    Sou’westers 164-6 J.Williams 71*, S.Drake 41
    v Somerset Select Thursday 16th April Lost by 39 runs
    Select 168-6 S.J.E.George 2-16, A.Bolan 2-17
    Sou’westers 129-5 A.Bolan 45

    Batting Averages

    Inns N.O. Runs H.S. Ave Ct
    T.W.R.George 3 0 144 70 44.67 2
    J.Williams 5 1 111 71* 27.75 2
    A.Bolan 4 1 70 45 23.33 1
    C.D.Haynes 2 0 34 25 17.00
    R.J.P.George 3 0 43 38 14.33 1
    R.Prior 3 1 25 21 12.50
    S.J.E.George 3 0 17 12 5.67
    A.Thomas 3 1 11 7 5.50
    M.R.Oliver 2 1 4 3 4.00
    P.L.Barford 2 0 5 5 2.50 1

    Also batted: S.Drake 41, J.Peet 0, G.Knight and several guests whose names were never established.

    Also played: P.W.George ( 1 ct)

    Bowling Averages

    Overs Mdns Runs Wickets Average
    C.D.Haynes 3 0 7 1 7.00
    A.Thomas 5.1 2 23 2 11.50
    A.Bolan 26 3 112 8 14.00
    R.Prior 20 1 68 4 17.00
    S.J.E.George 25 6 109 6 18.17
    J.Peet 12 0 124 5 24.80
    J.Williams 3 0 25 1 25.00
    T.W.R.George 8 0 58 1 58.00
    R.J.P.George 18 1 120 1 120.00

    Also bowled: J.Ball 2 – 0 – 23 – 0