by Ian Gason
It’s so much harder to write a tour report than a match report. Cricket makes up just a small part of each day’s events; amnesia is part of the problem; and let’s face it, it’s far more interesting getting drunk than reading about it.
The fun began in Bangkok with Marty making a re-appearance in the city of angels, and quickly settling in for some serious team tactics discussions with Gavin and Jarrad. Me, Paul and Nick joined the team after some lost luggage and lost hotels, and a tour of the usual bars and cultural performances took place.
Marty ran into arch-friends Awali on his Chiang Mai flight, and you know how that ends. Maurice’s curtailed speech at the Welcome Party was a welcome innovation, allowing us to concentrate on the free booze, catching up with friends, trying to remember people’s names, free booze, meeting the team guide and more free booze.
Game number one on Sunday was v Irish Pub at 9am, and to ensure it was played on a level playing field, the first shot session of the tour began that night at Irish HQ, and continued until past 4 at the VW/JD bar. It ended with Florence (aka Jarrad) asleep at the table but steadfastly refusing to go home (“Nah, ish too early to go home..zzzzz”); Return of The Ewoks- spew on the thongs Part I; one Dingbat’s first and last trip to Spicey’s- he was never the same again.
The Dingbats were last to leave, so convinced we had won the important battle, the result of the actual cricket was not so important. On the pitch, we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when Ross’ first duck changed the equation from 20 off ten balls to 20 off 6, and our first fine session for 2010 got under way. It ended with our first case of passing out in public, behind the food stalls of all places!
Sunday evening saw Awali celebrate 10 years of touring Chiang Mai. The famously generous Bahraini’s picked up the tab for 3 or 4 hours of drinking and eating at the Irish Pub for about 80 people…..79 if you discount the 70baht Kevin Beath had to pay for a Singha!
That’s pretty much how the week continued: bars, drunk, hangover, cricket, lost, fine session, eating/cheating, bars, drunk, hangover. Pleasingly, the Porn Ping breakfast has been made edible, although Ross’ daily attempts to order an omelette resulted in precisely zero omelettes arriving on his plate. Of course Porn Ping brekkies aren’t about eating, more of a de-briefing session of the night before.
Next two games were v Divine Felons (lost) and Perth Postels (lost). The ins & outs of the Felons game are (like much of the week) forgotten, overshadowed by the howls of pain from Ross, who had taken a tumble in the bath tub and messed up his back/side/rib/gut. He did knock up 30 runs, but at a cost of an ambulance ride, and being demoted to wicket-keeper for the rest of the tour. The Perth game at 9am almost became a 5-a-side when neither side could muster 6 fit blokes. When Sixes legend Cat stumbled out of the elevator and fell into the bus, Ross scoffed some more pain-killers and game was on. We failed to defend whatever total we posted (duck #1 for me) as Cat somehow saw the ball and gay-dabbed Jarrad (Florence) away in the final over.
The preceeding fine session rocked a few boats, with Cat the first to to holler “watch under” and re-visit his breakfast. A few fellas were hot on his heels, and an unfortunate consequence of our 0-3 record meant we had to front up that arvo for a must win game.
From that point on we were a team re-born- or more like regurgitated. A win that day over Drifters (inc a controversial handling ball incident) lined us up Friday morning v…..the Zimbos! yes, Floggers and Robbers! More on that later.
Somewhere amongst all that alcohol and cricket, we ventured out to the hills to Flight Of The Gibbon with our lovely team guide Jan and her friendly friend Fah. After 3 years of procrastinating, a beaut day was had, getting right away from the cricket and city. One Dingbat had not so much fall off the wagon, more like taken 100kgs of plastic explosives and turned the wagon into a truck bomb. Maybe Chuck’s famous and foolish words from years ago were ringing in his head, “I’m going to f**k up those Irish Pub bitches!” Despite hangovers, none of lost our lunch swinging in the trees (though one or two almost did in the bus) but it did put an end to Paul’s comeback plans.
Wednesday second match threw a monumental spanner in Marty’s works. Fines with Cat and a few drinks with Big Bob & co’, a few fits of sleep, another game of cricket, and that was the end of Marty’s Wednesday! Yep, Marty missed the Pig Picking Night, aka Yukata Night! The rest of us struggled out and enjoyed the feed and the band (OK, not all of us Jarrad….) and went to cow corner to show off our frocks. The weeks activities and that second game had knocked the wind out of most of us and the boys were as flat as last week’s lemonade- it took Gavin until 11 to face a drink!
Was Thursday the Monster Guinness Show Down? Ross and Gavin giddy’up and go toe to toe and pint for pint, giving a whole heap of laughs for the rest of us…..though maybe not for the 6foot lady boy who abused us for 200m down Cow Corner Rd and threw a bag of rubbish at Florence! The night went down hill (from a reasonably down hill start) with one virgin saying we should go to “Sharkey’s…..Spacey’s….I mean Snakey’s…..” and ended up with one made-up Dingbat, and a certain Kiwi spilling shots at the Irish Pub. Throw a bit of Spiceys in there and we were fired up and ready for the Floggers!
Fortunately, the Floggers threw enough extras our way to allow us a defendable total, and with Florence Shearer’s darts at the death, the bowlers held their own. Fortunately, the Floggers had get back to flogging tobacco (ie work) and the fine session was postponed til the evening. Fortunately again, we had landed in the Bowl (3rd of 5 divisions) which was the only division to NOT have an early semi final on Saturday. That was very fortunate…..
Because after posting and defending a good total v Southerners in the day’s penultimate game (and therefore making the Bowl final) we had a the obligitory fine sesh with the boys from Bangkok. Most of the teams had begun leaving, except the die-hards such as the Irish, Southerners, Awali, us and….The Floggers.
Foolishly we ventured into their tent, the vodkas begun and seemed to never stop. They stopped for one Dingbat when he crawled under the sightscreen and passed out. (The same Dingbat, lets call him Jarrad, came unstuck by trying to take over the fine session from the wobbly fine masters) They continued for another Dingbat despite him being the second ewok that week to hurl on Ross’ Cheech & Chongs! One Dingbat learnt (we hope) the hard way not to drop the C-bomb around women and children. All in all, it was just one big, long, messy fine session, the kind not seen every year.
Apparently we left the ground at 9, plans for a big team dinner now looking shabby. Things stayed messy back at the Porn Ping- technicolour yawns, full monty, tuk-tuk round the block, a mystery shopping trip, lost Dingbats. The amazing thing was that 4 of us still made it out! To the Irish Pub of all foolish places to head. Numbers had dwindled by 3 or 4, but one Dingbat- one who claims not to drink- was dribbling so badly by this stage he was unable to even drink water.
The next morning saw a serious of “what happened?” calls, lost bags and credit cards found, unknown piles of Kashmiri scarves discovered, a very silent Dingbat at breakfast, a mystery trip to the dentist- the perfect prep for a show-down v the youthful and talented Thai Thevada.
Getting 6 bodies on the pitch was an achievement in itself. Keeping Ross on the pitch all week was a credit to modern pharmacy. Finding everybody’s kit proved impossible, and one of us had to play in a borrowed shirt. But 6 of us strode out to battle.
Ross’ one attempt at running 2 was enough, so he belted 6s and 4s and retired (30+) as did Nick. Kevin Beath got ran out, and Dino/Jarrad/Florence/Grumpy and myself got us into the mid 70s, a score not beyond Thai’s big hitting openers’ reach.
Surprisingly our bowlers executed the plans- full and straight to deny them the cow-corner option- and kept them under 10/over. Aged and weary fielders allowed the Thai lads to run not just a four, but also a 5 all run- no overthrows, it just took Ross that long to struggle down to the boundary! When Dr Death Shearer came on to bowl the last over we had 40 in he bank, but as Mr Ray will testify, stranger things have happened in Chiang Mai!! Luckily they didn’t and despite and HUUUGE six, and despite Marty’s porous effort allowing four on the last ball we won the game and Bowl!!
Two if us had left before the closing party, which was mercifully brief, and we bid our driver and guide farewell as we headed off for one last round of the bars. As past tourists know, the week has usually caught up with us by Saturday, so it can be a flat night. Perhaps the highlight was a discussion on the merits of travelling with an i-phone.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Nick Goold, 80+ runs, twice retired, tight bowling. Needs to pull his weight in fines though.
MAN OF THE WEEK: Hard to go past Marty, but I’d say ROSS FERRIS for playing through the pain barrier all week, both on and off the pitch.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: The Guiness sesh’? The mutant golf night? Marty’s dancing? Jarrad’s obnoxious Singaporean alter-ego? Winning something? Floggers’ fines? Flight of the Gibbon? Take your pick.
CATCH OF THE WEEK: Looking back, it wasn’t as hard as I made it look, and I’d have spilled it without Shearer’s directions, but it was up in the air for a while and after a few awkward grabs, I held it
THEME OF THE WEEK: A world of pain.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: *details withheld to protect the innocent*
– OI! You! You’re fat- move over!
– Oi! What kinda of f****ng place are you running here?!?
– It’s like an inflated Sherrin.
– As the week goes on it gets harder to put a sentence together.
– Porn Ping, 100 Baht.
– This cricket stuff is really starting to get in the way of things.
– It’s the blind leading the retarded.
So, thanks to all those that supported our fund-raisers and both of you who sent emails during the week.
Will 2011 be bigger and better? There is only one way to find out: BE THERE!! April 3rd to 10th.