30th Anniversary 1st XI Cricket Tour to Jersey
From 25th to 28th May 2018 many of the original school 1st XI squad from 1988 made the journey down memory lane to play 2 games of cricket on Jersey as we had done 30 years before.
Andrew Underwood (S 77-87)
James Underwood (S 83-88)
Robin Bishop (Ch 82-88)
Chris Goodman (K 84-89)
Rob Dow (Cl 84-89)
Ben Jones (Br 82-89)
Richard Tomlinson (Cl 83-90)
Aidan Thompson (Cl 80-90)
Matt Bourne (W 83-90)
John Malins (K 85-90)
Duncan Hughes (Os 84-91)
JJ (John) Richardson (H 82-91)
Phil O’Neil (W 82-91)
Non-travelling team members
Neil Robinson (H 79-89) & Jamie Rogers (Cl 86-91) who both sadly could not make the tour at the last minute and were sorely missed, well Nobby Robinson was, not so much Squealer Rogers.
A small but vocal advance party arrived on the Friday 25th, the locals I am sure have not yet recovered from their murderous karaoke session.
Bolstered by many early arrivals on the Saturday we set off to The Farmers cricket ground, a beautiful setting and blazing sunshine. The OVs were set 281 in 35 overs, after a very fine 92 for 47 balls from Farmers batsman M. Tribe. The Old Boys were always up against it, chasing this total, having only a few players who are still playing regularly.
However, there were some notable performance in the field, Ben “Dale Winton” Jones bowled a mixture of unplayable deliveries with some very playable deliveries in his 2 for 44. He opened the bowling with Matt Bourne, unlucky not to pick up a wicket in his 7 overs. John Malins, Rob Dow and JJ Richardson, the express pace man bowling off-spin, all bowled well. James “if only we had a spinner” Underwood bowled with great control as always and should have had more than 1 wicket. Aidan Thompson picked up 4 for 49, all of them caught which tells you he wasn’t necessarily threatening to send off stump cart-wheeling back. Phil O’Neill had sunstroke after 3 and ½ minutes in the field but held a good catch and Duncan Hughes did an outstanding job as wicket keeper. We were led without imagination by Skipper Andrew Underwood who also took the first of several tour catches, more on this later. Robin Bishop was also there apparently.
However, the story of the day and unanimously voted “moment of the Tour” was Chris Goodman’s 1 run from 22 balls. Chris had a brain tumour removed a few years ago and simply to be playing cricket, let alone amongst old friends in Jersey, is a true blessing. His eyesight is certainly not what it used to be, but his bravery, application and determination is humbling, his innings mirrored his battle to recover. His single was greeted with the biggest cheer that 1 single run has ever had.
Hughes, Richardson and O’Neill also showed glimpses of real class in their knocks. Oh, and Rob Dow scored a brilliant 105, his innings was both patient and powerful, unlike his personality. The OVs finished on 222 for 6, 59 runs short.
The post-match celebrations involved watching football in the Farmers clubhouse, thanks to the chap who went home had brought back his sky box, he also got a big cheer and a couple of pints for his trouble. On to the curry house, via the local bus service, for some very fine food and more wine than could be deemed sensible. Skip tried (very hard) to get the Hotel to open the bar when we returned but thankfully he was rebuffed, the words used by the Night Porter to describe their exchange shall remain undisclosed.
Photos from 1988 and 2018
Next day we were bright and breezy back to Victoria College, the scene of our 88 tour games, a beautiful setting and another blue-sky scorcher. This time the Old Boys batted first, O’Neill and Hughes facing the new ball. Phil played one of the shots of the tour a deft late cut for 4 but fell soon after, he also made a brilliant tumbling diving stop in the field which had seemed extremely unlikely up to that point. Thompson joined Hughes and for a while they rolled back the years in batting friendly conditions on another true pitch. Thompson fell for 30 to catch that really had no right to be taken an otherwise “flat six” was ultimately a wicket. Hughes continued for a very fine 65, supported superbly by Bishop who batted very nicely for 36. Richard Tomlinson finally arrived on tour having “forgotten” about a family wedding whilst helping to organise the tour dates, he hit a lovely back foot 4 and leading edge 6 and looked like the class player he always been but fell for 11 when it looked like he might go on. Rob Dow added another 34 to his impressive tour total, Malins cracked a wonderful lofted straight 4. OVs posted a very respectable 201 for 8.
Bourne and Jones opened up the attack again, history does not record quite why they only managed 3 over opening spells and didn’t return for a second spell, but both picked up an important wicket. It was when Phil Le Cornu and W. Jenner came to the crease that game swung back to the Vic College old boys, both scored very good 50s but fell to James Underwood and Richard Tomlinson who both bowled very well. Tomlinson picking up 3 for 23, Underwood sensibly decided not to employ his newly found “hand facing upwards” pétanque skills.
Skipper Underwood Snr though was the undoubted star in the field, cracking a rib taking his second catch he battled manfully on, refusing to leave the field, only to take a third catch diving forward at full stretch. There was concern, resulting from what can only be described as a “death roll” following this brilliant catch, that he may never return to his feet, happily he did and finished the game leading the lads with style.
With the 2 set batsmen dismissed the game was back in the balance and the hosts needed 4 from the final over, OVs only needed 1 wicket, victory was secured by Victoria College with 2 balls to spare, an excellent game of cricket.
The evening was spent in the company of our fellow tourists whose support was wonderful all weekend, Russ and Sue Mason, Steve and Sarah Le Marchand, Anita, Harry and Kate Iddon, as well as several of the Victoria College old boys at a fine steak restaurant. The capacity of the wine cellar was again severely tested, but it held firm, unlike many of the tourists.
Finally mention must be made of Pete Iddon, instrumental not just in arranging the original tour and many, many subsequent tours, he was also instrumental in sharing his love of the game with us all. We would not have been there had we not been privileged enough to have known him as a coach and a friend. His memory burned as brightly as the Jersey sun.