North Nibley (Tour) v Erratics Cricket Club Erratics on Sat 30 Aug 2014 at 2.00pm
Erratics Cricket Club Lost by 5 wickets
Reflections of a Tour Virgin,
by Rob Hayes
I had little idea what to expect on my first Erratics tour, other than being told it was "good fun" by those who had been before. The other common observation was that the tea at North Nibley justified the trip to Gloucester on its own and so it was that we headed north on the M5 on Friday morning.
We had 13 people on the team sheet for the first game against Frocester and so I was somewhat bewildered when we started the game with only 9 players. Apparently this is "only possible with the Erratics" and that was something that I was to hear several times over the course of the weekend. One of our team had decided not to come because he thought it would be rained off, one had injured himself whilst surfing, another was a mystery and Mark Hailwood had got lost between the two Frocester pitches (this involved simply taking one left turn so the squad were understandably nervous taking any further directions from Mark).
After about 25 overs in the field the Erratic focus was very much on tea and I began to realise how important this meal was to the tour regulars. It was the single event that truly galvanised the team in each of the 3 games and I was impressed by just how much food could be piled onto a small plate. It was just a shame that the same level of balance and control could not be shown when we were trying to catch the ball. We dropped a lot of catches, but very often the drop would be swiftly be followed by a cry of "good stop" which seemed to typify the positive nature of the Erratics leadership. There were some fine catches too, notably from Jim, Martin and Dan but the common theme was to let the batsman get plenty of runs first, perhaps as an act of sporting kindness.
The friendly Anchor pub proved a welcome base for the campers. The camping facilities were basic (some grass) but there was an old skittle alley which provided great entertainment and was the only place where some of us found any sort of line and length at all.
In our Saturday game we got ourselves into a winning position with our batting but, after the substantial North Nibley tea, we capitulated in the field and lost once more. This did not matter though because we were off to The New Inn at Watersomething Bottom for a cheeky cider, some more fines and the re-awarding of the Unicorn and the Monkey hats. The question was asked that night "do the Erratics ever win?" The tour regulars went quiet and there was fighting talk about the game v Longhorns tomorrow. So we prepared thoroughly by playing more skittles, drinking schnapps and playing shove halfpenny...
After another fine breakfast canal side at the Saul Junction Cafe confidence was running high, another feature of the Erratics. Great opening spells from Harry Mollins and Ben Hayes reduced the opposition to 29 for 4 from 12 overs but then, much like the pitch, things went downhill. Despite losing once more it was uplifting to see the Erratics smiling in the face of adversity, embracing that cheery outlook that is so embedded in the team.
So, despite losing 3 tosses, 3 matches and 3 players it was a fine tour. Yet it was the only tour I have ever attended where the kind organiser was never seen. Is this an Erratic tradition as well?
For a further report on the tour see the Longhorns game.
[Jim Thomson fielded, Ben Abrahams did not.]
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Batting
for 7 wickets
ct & Bowled
North Nibley (Tour) Bowling
No records to display.
North Nibley (Tour) Batting
for 5 wickets
193 (31.1 overs)
ct F. Chave b. H. Molins
ct J. Thomson b. Hailwood
ct P. Power b. B. Hayes
lbw B. Hayes
Erratics Cricket Club Erratics Bowling
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