By Frank Barretta
30 September
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What am I doing here? 8am on a cold July morning at Portsmouth ferry port having not picked up a cricket bat or ball for 4 years. At least, as me and 70 year old Ray Clarke are discussing, we will most prob only have to play one game each of the 3. Maybe play the first game tomorrow and spend the rest of the tour on the piss, it will be fine.

“Alright guys, here’s your tour shirts, and Picko dropped out last night so we only have 11” Oh for fu……

Although things quickly picked up on the ferry when Effie pulled out a 3 foot tub full of amazing homemade samosas. The way to start every day.

We arrived at our B&B and quickly took over the games room, the wonky pool table or table tennis, plenty of opportunity to show off. After an hour of play it was decided to head to a pub. Ireland are 19-3 chasing 181, should be a good days play. By the time we got to the pub Ireland were 36-9. The 5 balls we did see meant we got our drinks as the interviews started.

As plans were discussed Steve Routledge mentioned that his Mum was umpiring a Hampshire girls U13 game if we wanted to watch some cricket and sit at a bar. The idea was quickly thrown out although a guy who looked like Prince Andrew suspiciously left the bar soon after.

After a couple of pints we moved to another pub and that was us done for the day as we settled in to doing what Clapham does best, drinking talking about old tours and putting the wrongs of the world right.

Even after 10 pints a determined Matt couldn’t get Ray to spill the beans on any of his bank jobs, where the money was hidden in Spain or what his next target was.

Steve’s mum turned up halfway through the session and added a new dimension to the group, not just in Ray’s trousers but also by being a great laugh and dishing out and taking all the abuse flying around. It was a really funny day and I had a great time. Towards the end of the night I was told that I would be doing the tour report so made some notes. Anyone who can remember anything about the below please get in touch!!

NOTES in my phone read; 09.32
Ray bank jobs
Fresh meat
U13 girls game
Britney Spears with 2 blacked up mates
Shanklin's mum same clothes

Day 2 was where the action started. A T16 Tri-Tournament has been arranged with the home team Brading and another touring team Brighton Exiles. Clapham played Brading first and would bowl first.

I know I hadn’t played for 4 years but Brading’s 79-4 off their 16 overs didn’t seem like we were in the new era, I know the Isle of Wight is a bit behind the times. Asif Khan’s opening spell of 3 overs for 3 runs setting the tone.

To keep messing with my head Clapham went back to the 80’s scoring 6-2 off 6 overs, Josh playing the perfect Boycott roll with 1 not out off 18 balls. It was down to myself to bring Clapham back into the 90’s with a scintillating 10 off 10 balls, including my first action back batting having to see off a hat trick ball. Matt and Josh then remembered it was 2019 and won the match in the 14th over scoring 60 off 6 overs. Matt with 27 off 14 balls and Josh finishing on 25 off 39.

We then watched Brighton Exiles score 141 against Brading and the fight for the trophy was set between the two touring sides.
Even reversing the batting order Clapham managed 133 -6 with Idrees and Steve Routlegde striking some huge sixes to get us up to 35 off 3 overs before a big lull as wickets fell. 80 off the last 8 got us up to a solid total with Matt and Josh doing most of the damage again, Josh finishing just short of 50.

Having watched the Brighton openers hitting boundaries for fun in the previous game, the opening spells from Matt and Idrees won the game for Clapham thanks to 1) bowling just short of a length so Brighton couldn’t drive the ball, which turned out to be their only shots and 2) Matt being well up for it. I could see he was up for it as his run up got a pace longer every ball. If this was due to the lure of the trophy or the 3 glasses of red wine he had during our break I couldn’t tell you.

And for those eagerly awaiting, Matt Mankad Attempts over the two matches : 3
After a long day the group split into 3, some went to watch The Current War starring Benedict Cumerbatch, some went to bed, Matt, Joe, Steve and Josh decided to sample the sights and sounds of Ryde Wetherspoons. And we saw some sights and sounds! After a long discussion with a 19 year old witch and her friend who was sleeping with the obviously gay barman we ended up in a club where you didn’t have to show ID to get in. Give it ten years and they will catch on.

We ended the night in the only way Woke, Remainer Snowflakes can by getting a falafel kebab and a cab home.

Sunday was the big match against Shanklin and the team weren’t looking in the best shape. Ray could hardly move after two games the previous day, I couldn’t move as according to my fitbit I added on 2,800 steps in the club on top of the two games and unsurprisingly the film was shit so the guys who went to see it weren’t in a good mood.

We arrived at the ground and spent 15 minutes explaining to Effie the tour rules. “There’s no toss, we bat first and it’s 35 overs. Now go out and sort it with their captain”
Clapham lost the toss and bowled first.

44-3 off 12 overs finally ended up on 224-5 off 35 overs and reminded me why I don’t play anymore! Although the undoubted highlight was Effie’s prematch team talk inspiring the troops by saying ;
“If you bowl rubbish and get hit for any boundaries in your over you’re coming off”
Effie’s 3 overs went for 41 which included five 4’s and two 6’s.

A tough ask, especially as even though it was now 5pm, Josh was still drunk but an excellent 63 and a 72 from Ravi got us needing 60 off the last 8 overs. A 29no from Matt plus some comedy extras from the Shanklin bowlers who with 4 overs to go suddenly decided to take the game VERY seriously, meant we reached our target in the last over.

An unbeaten tour, 3 wins out of 3, definitely fits in nicely to the superb cricket of summer we had with the World Cup and the Ashes. Unfortunately for Josh even after three top innings he still wasn’t the best left handed batsman of the summer, maybe if he punched some gay bashers outside of Coburgs it might have been a closer decision.

Thanks all for a great tour. Bring on Ireland!!

Tour report from Joe Mansi

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