Tour Report by Alex Britten
The tour of Cyprus, finally and successfully named the President’s Tour, was a long weekend of great food, sunshine, honest conversation, cricket, and … some interesting beachwear.
Despite the best efforts of Cypriot airline Cobalt Air to torpedo plans by going into administration a week before the tour, flights were rebooked and overdrafts extended in the spirit of October cricket. In all, 17 tourists represented the Wash – 14 players, two partners, and one senior Washman in Marshy’s dad, Daryl.
After picking up the tour attire – lime green shirts and white Make America Great Again headwear (attracting feedback ranging from ‘I’m not wearing that’ (most players) to ‘I’m a big fan of Donald J. Trump’ (one local taxi driver)), we descended on Cyprus. Fittingly, limousines were on hand to ferry the Presidents to their hotel suites. Midway through the first night, there were scenes of astonishment and delight as, Abhi arrived on time! The power of Mike Egan (Tour Virgin 1) to drag the man through Luton airport and passed the leather goods stands is not to be underestimated. The night went off without drama or concern – yet on the walk back along the seafront, Clint, Creedo and Mark Molloy (Tour Virgin 2) found a small aeroplane in a child’s playground, and paid homage to the newly unemployed pilots of Cobalt Air – Wash Air was established.
On Friday, two groups departed for varied activities. Whilst Luke, Creedo, Russ, Alex Britten (Tour Virgin 3), Marshy Jr. and Marshy Snr. explored the ancient site of Kourion at the price of €4.50, the rest of the touring party investigated the local beaches. The bliss of archaeological exploration was broken during the afternoon however, as photographic evidence of a discovery more recent yet no less important came through – a budgie smuggler had been spotted on the beach. The virgins were horrified and yet curious…
The final touring party consisted of: Kiwi, Alex, Krippsy, Abhi, Molloy, Aftab, Mike Egan, Stu & Elaine, Daryl Marsh, Apollo, Russ, Mitch, Aff, Clint and Karen, and Klossy. On the second evening, an excellent meal in the heart of Limassol’s Old Town - full of traditional Greek mezze dishes - was on the cards and it was so readily served that two large boxes of assorted meats were taken away to Marshy’s room, never to be seen again. The evening continued into town, to Chaplin’s Bar.
Day 3 was full of promise, as the minibus took the Wash deep into the countryside for the first match at Tochni Cricket Ground. “Ground” is used in the loosest possible sense, as the pitch, an artificial wicket best described as ‘spicier than Sabina Park in 1995’ was set amidst a barren rock of solid grassless terrain of loose shale and rockery – indeed, it would not have looked out of place at Kourion.
However, the fact that a team of Indian expats could set up a cricket pitch in this most harsh environment was heartening. They batted first, and their skipper Ankit pasted all onto the surrounding hillside as he hit 97. His stay was cut short by Russ, having him caught at long on by Wash captain Creedo. Luke and Marshy bowled excellently too – tying down the Amdocs batsmen as best they could. They batted incredibly well, amassing 282/7 in their 35 overs – two wickets for Luke and Marshy, one each for Molloy, Russ and Egan. Fielding was always risqué on that outfield, despite excellent performances from Aftab and Kiwi in the field. In reply, the Wash were blown away by fast bowling which was both accurate and hostile. Used to playing T20 cricket in the local league, the Amdocs bowlers hit the pitch back of a length and gave nothing. Being bowled out for 60 was not a fair reflection on the strength of the Wash team on display, but more a hint towards the excellence of the opposition. Amazingly, in spite of the barrage faced, there were only a couple of injuries, most notably Molloy, who wore one on the chest whilst batting. After the game, we climbed the hill into the town to a bar scouted out by Klossy, where we watched the sunset and enjoyed a few drinks with our opposition.
That night we ate at a local pizza restaurant, where, owing to two separate incidents with the staff, we received both free beer and looks of disdain from the manager. And eventually, Marshy received his dinner. The majority of the party then retired to the hotel bar, used by most for drinking, and by Klossy for napping.
The next morning, we negotiated the changing of the clocks to be on the team bus and onto game two – this time down the coast in Episkopi, at the British Army base. The scene that greeted us could not have been more different than that at Tochni: the outfield was lush and green and the artificial pitch was more flat under foot. After some tense discussions with the opposition, the Sri Lankan Lions, a 35 over game was agreed.
Again bowling first, there was immediate reward for the Wash bowlers, as Luke picked up two wickets with an excellent spell. Yet the real star with the ball was captain Tugmore (the general view is he needs to tug less) who picked up 4 wickets in an excellent spell of fast bowling. Wickets were also claimed by Gloss (Klossy), Krippsy, and there was a run out – this would prove to be an omen for the Wash’s attempts with the bat. The long grass on the outfield made batting a challenge for the hosts, as did the great performance of the Wash, and the Lions were bowled out for 131.
In reply, the bowling was again fast and nasty. Alex dug in with a Boycott-esque effort of 14 off 60 balls, but that aside only Clint managed to get stuck in. Despite being 69/2 after 17 overs, we proceeded to collapse to 85 all out, with the final four wickets (Russ, Krippsy, Klossy and finally Clint) all falling, remarkably, to run outs - the visiting fans in Karen, Elaine, and Marshy Snr were bereft on our behalf. Despite the loss, it had been an excellently competitive game, played in a good spirit.
We made our way to a beachside bar, to watch the sun set over the Mediterranean and to drink to two good games of cricket. We were also treated to Klossy and Abhi going for a dip in their undies – the sight of which, plus our chat, was so gripping that both Daryl and Karen fell asleep.
That night, we assembled at a restaurant again in Limassol’s Old Town, scouted by Kiwi and Aff for the last dinner. Marshy administered the fines, with punishment for even the most minor misdemeanours as the virgins learnt that no deed goes unnoticed.
The following day, the squad slowly dispersed back to London, with memories of sun, sea and smugglers in our hearts. It was a tremendous trip, excellently organised by Klossy primarily, with Apollo on hand, yet many others had a hand in the details of the weekend.
Two fantastic videos of some tour highlights were produced, one by Alex and one by Russ. The former an action sequence with in game video footage courtesy of the GoPro, and the latter a testament to Russ’s great camera skills. Both videos are highly recommended!
Our club is proud to be affiliated with and sponsored by The Washington Pub, England's Lane, Belsize Park, London
We tour every year in October, usually to somewhere warm and sunny in Europe. WAGS and kids welcome to join. More details here.
Lord's Cricket Ground
We train here here every year pre season