2005 Tour to Italy
Tour Game #1 – Euratom CC
- Salix – 182 for 8 (Hewitt 53)
- Euratom – 183 for 3
Tour Game #2 – Idle CC
- Salix – 116 all out (Rayner 50)
- Eymet – 117 for 7 (Jacobs 6-0-12-2)
Gingers Official Tour report:
Why the f(self censored by writer)k are you going to Italy to play cricket, was a question I was frequently asked before the tour began. We’re crap, I’d always say, so we play in countries where they don’t normally play cricket to improve our chances of winning. Except it never works out that way; 3 victories in 5 years is hardly the sort of record to inspire confidence and this year proved no exception. Played 2, humped twice.
The tour started off well enough as far as I was concerned. An unsurprisingly full Rank Air flight meant I was forced, almost literally by my second brain, to sit in the spare seat next to 2 Italian teenage girls. They had cigarettes, so they must have been over 16, I hasten to add. M’lud. They pretty much ignored me for most of the flight, as I sat snoring, dribbling and being photographed by my team mates but a little bit of thunderstorm induced turbulence and they were practically sitting in my lap.
Or maybe that was just part of the dream.
Landing late and getting lost trying to find our hotel in Milan meant that we didn’t get to a bar till 1.30am. It shut half an hour later and we were forced to visit the bargainacious Gatto Verde Nightclub, where for the reasonable price of 60 Euros I could purchase myself a beer and a glass of champagne for Anooska, an interestingly dressed lady of Polish origin who informed me I was gay when told I could only afford to buy her one drink. I had never previously considered the correlation between sexuality and pecuniary wealth before and left the club wondering whether my general lack of solvency meant I’d been a closet raging queen all these years.
Friday we all got lost again. Italian road signs aren’t helpful. That or my ability to read Italian road signs isn’t helpful, but I couldn’t possibly blame myself, even though I organised the tour and could have done something simple like, oh say, buy maps. But no, I decided that printing off directions from Maporama and winging it was the way forward. We eventually made it to Taino late afternoon, having left just after lunch and travelled what should have been 50km.
Taino itself is a pretty little town, sitting on a hill with views across to Lago Maggiore in the distance. It’s a fairly quiet town – our host hotel, The Agnello, provides most of the nightlife, although there is a dodgy neon lit bar cum ice cream parlour round the corner from the church, where myself, Davy and the German received a variety of threatening looks from the local halfwits, presumably concerned that we might provide more alluring company for the two semi attractive german women that one suspected were the first members of the opposite sex to whom the chavinerri had been exposed.
The evening started off pleasantly enough though; our opponents for the Saturday match, Euratom CC, were kind enough to invite us to join them and their families for dinner on the Friday night and their wicket keeper, Rhys, drove Mr Magoo,
Swordsman and the Oxford Crew to go clubbing in Varese. I was sensible enough to head back to the Agnello, but eye
witnesses who made the journey report on the Swordsman’s attempts to live up to his name; apparently he failed to do so, but compensated by sleeping in the road, much to the amusement of the local Carbinieri, an organisation generally famed for its tolerance towards drunk Englishmen.
Tony’s written the match report for the game on Saturday, so nothing to add there save to comment on the high quality of the Euratom chairman’s wife’s Victora sponge at tea, which was delicious. That evening we had dinner in the hotel, with the German somehow managing to convince the waitress to cook him some horse, even though it wasn’t on the menu. Drinking games involving cigarettes and tissue paper ensued, with someone having the bright idea that a bottle of grappa would add to the proceedings. It was all a bit too much for Davy, who sloped off to natter with his missus on the mobile and fell asleep mid conversation.
Sunday it rained. And we got lost again. Well, half the team were sensible and didn’t get lost. Those in my car, directed by me did get lost. And those in the car following us got lost as well. Twice in fact. The match against Idle CC was played on an idyllic little farm whose picturesque setting not even the grey skies could dampen. Again, Tony’s written the match report and again we got beaten, but it was another enjoyable afternoon, made all the more so by the selection of wine and beer on offer during tea. I could use the consumption of the forementioned as an excuse for the paucity of our cricketing performance, but it wouldn’t be accurate; we just weren’t very good.
The evening activites were slightly muted with an early start required by all to get back to the airport in time for our 10am
flight. One of the Idle players booked us into a pizza place and their skipper, Rob, was kind enough to drive most of us there and back in his big white van. No drinking games afterwards that I’m aware of, but there again I drank too much of the fizzy red wine that seemed to be on tap in the restaurant and passed out in my room about 5 minutes after we got back, woken only by the disconcerting changing tones in MyRing’s snoring after he’d drawn the short straw amongst the Oxford crew and was forced to bunk down with me.
We made it to the airport ridiculously early, mostly because for the first time in the weekend nobody got lost. After an exciting game of “guess the check-in desk”, the only thing we won all weekend, we ensconsed ourselves in the departure lounge for a few early morning beers to ease the pain of the flight home. No Italian teenage babes for me this time, just Herr Direktor and a piece of chewing gum molded into the window frame.
All in all a cracking weekend. Next time I’m buying a map and learning how to bat before I go. Thanks to both Euratom CC and Idle CC, but especially to Dai Berry of the former for helping me organise both matches and to Joe Torti of the latter who waited patiently for us at the motorway exit for Lodi whilst half the team drove back and forth around the Milan Tangenziale.
Finally, congratulations to Chazza for being man of the tour. A fine batting performance on Saturday and some pinpoint bowling were enough to win him the award over the German and Mr. Magoo. He receives a fine silver thing and lifetime membership of Salix CC, provided he pays his subs every year.
Italy 2005 – Match Reports
Saturday: Although Euratom had lost the original pitch for the day, the match was able to go ahead after the portable mat was laid on the local football pitch of A S Cadreazzatese. And pretty well it played too, although it clearly needed a good going over with the Hoover after, given the amount of mud. Salix CC batted first and comedy opener yours truly was straight in and out but the proper players soon got stuck in, an especially bright 50 from second oldest man on the tour Chazza setting us up well, ably supported by Capn Ben. Retiring to let the young un’s have a go was however clearly a bit of an error…
After tea, our fielding resembled a juggling master class for people with no motor skills and their man Sumit laid in with a 70 not out to see the hosts cruise to an early victory. Speaking of cruising we hope that Mr Purple will be removing his comedy face fungus shortly to avoid the attentions of overzealous Milanese sea faring folk
Bracing ourselves for bad weather news, we were still surprised at the downpour on Sunday morning. A one hour aquaplane class up the autostrada to Lodi saw us hone our Italian driving skills and test our waterwings. As we stood in the deluge at the toll booth waiting for one of our hosts, Joe, it looked like there was more chance of the Sworsdman being asked to form the new Italian Government than actually playing. But then a miracle as the skies cleared, the ground dried and we actually played. Again we took to the field first and made sedate progress on a wicket that suited the slowest of slow bowling.
This time the German took over from the aging Chazza to hit 50 and by tea we had amassed a lowly score. But what a tea. The club might be called Idle, but this is a total misnomer in the nosh stakes. High spot for me, the Parmesan Regianno from the actual farm we were playing on. and so back out under lowering skies and great bowling from Mr Magoo and Ginger saw our host edge towards our target only slowly, with the game MOTM Sunny hitting 44, ably assisted by Landi. And as the last ball was whacked the heavens reopened, and stayed that way until we had jetted of by Ryanair the next day. Truly a weather miracle, Holy Cardinal Michael Fish we bow to you and your pagan isobars.