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1998 Cricket Tour to England

The proud Peterhouse tradition of overseas tours continued in April - May 1998 with a cricket tour to England, which was chiefly sponsored by Sir Roger Gibbs the highlight of which was a fantastic game at Arundel Castle, which is often described as the most beautiful cricket ground in the world. Despite one of the wettest UK Aprils on record, the touring party had a tremendous time, played good cricket and won 4 out of the 5 matches they were able to play. Our thanks to all the many contributors to the tour whose generosity both in time and money is gratefully acknowledged.

The UK Petreans contributed something like 1250 pounds towards the tour which was spent on 24 balls for the school, a cash contribution to each of the tour party (boys) which they no doubt got through very quickly during their two days in London, and the remainder going to tour funds
James Bowles, the Tour Manager, reports:
There had been snow two days earlier, was the news as we landed at a blustery Heathrow on 16th April. Newspaper cricket statisticians had been trying to find precedents for snow stopping play and indeed worse weather for the start of an English cricket season. It was 170 years since England had experienced a spring like this and we were on a cricket tour!

We were to find that, within English schools, there are ground staff that would move heaven and earth to get some cricket played, especially against touring sides, and we were very relieved that Wellington College, had such a grounds man and that despite the bitter cold we managed to play our first game of tour.
On a makeshift track, Peterhouse won the toss and having decided that conditions would only get worse chose to bat. The slow low bounce of the wicket was quickly adjusted to by Carruthers-Smith (14), Durham (43), and Barber (46) who all made it look relatively easy. Matthew Hosack however, appeared as if he always batted on this type of wicket as he carried his bat for a magnificent 65 not out.
162 for 3 at lunch, and Peterhouse were feeling comfortable. After the break, however, Wellington came back well and took the last seven Peterhouse wickets for the addition of only 41 runs. It was immediately clear, however, that batting second on this track was not going to be easy for the home side who slumped to 11 for 2 after 5 overs, with Henderson removing both opening batsmen.
Wellington never, really looked liked recovering from this, despite some wayward bowling and big hitting by their middle order. As Wellington attempted to bat out their 50 overs the Peterhouse bowlers all chipped in to make sure the game was over with 6 overs to spare and Wellington dismissed for 152.

The weather sets in ....
After this initial success, there followed a week of frustration as we trekked from school to school, to be met by long-faced cricket masters and grounds men, who were simply unable to get onto their fields to prepare wickets for us. The frustration was compounded by the days being relatively dry, making us think that cricket may be possible the following day, but this hope being dashed away by heavy rain overnight.
Matches were abandoned at Marlborough College, Dean Close and Cheltenham, leaving us to make alternative entertainment. Days out in local towns, visits to Shakespeare’s birth place, a vomit inducing day at Alton Towers amusement park, a day at a county cricket match, hockey against Cheltenham and a bare-foot football match at Dean Close all relieved the malaise felt by all, at the lack of cricket.

King's School, Bruton
It was only when we arrived at King’s School, in Bruton, Somerset, that we felt there was any hope of cricket. The weather was clearer and the ground staff very keen to play. It wasn’t, however, until we were in the process of packing the bus to leave that their master in charge of cricket received the green light for the match to be played.
Peterhouse batted first and stuttered to 143 all out, with nobody really getting in on a difficult wicket, although there were useful contributions from Craig (33), Hosack (25), Buchanan (21) and Durham (20), but a steady stream of wickets falling resulted in us being 50 runs short of comfort.
King’s looked much more assured when they batted, and looked comfortable against our bowlers in conditions that suited their batsmen. They reached 100 for 2 after 28 of their 35 overs and the game was definitely on. Peterhouse, however, came back well and a spell of 4 overs from Matthew Hosack, where he took 4 wickets for 14 runs put pay to King’s school’s chances, as they limped to 125 for 8 in their allotted overs.

Back to Wellington
Games against both Radley and Buckinghamshire Young Cricketers were called off and it was once again Wellington that came to our rescue, offering us more cricket against a pick-up side on one of their wickets.
The game was won by 15 runs, with Campbell MacMillan scoring a competent 54 and Hilton Henderson a good-looking 31 on another difficult wicket and in weather conditions that the scorer has recorded as being ‘Not good’. Our 157 was put under pressure by some wayward early bowling and good batting by Matthew Searle (28) who was playing for the opposition, but again Peterhouse came back well and cleared up the Select team’s innings for 135.

The Petrean match at Shiplake College
We were due to play the Petreans at Shiplake College, and it did not look as if any play was going to be possible with the fields still being damp. The Petrean side was disbanded that morning. It wasn’t, unfortunately, until we reached Shiplake that it became clear that the situation wasn’t as bad as initially thought. The game was played on an artificial wicket against a depleted Petrean side (since many of the team had been told not to come).
Peterhouse batted first and everybody chipped into an imposing total of 230 for 5, notable performances from Andrew Durham (60 not out), Greg Carruthers-Smith (57) and Hilton Henderson (45). When the Petreans replied Peterhouse made easy work of dismissing them for 135, despite a sparkling 15 from Mr. Redfern for the Petreans.

The party, feeling relieved to have finally played some cricket had two days in London, on the first of which Sir Roger Gibbs had invited us to a Benson and Hedges Cup game at Lord’s, which included a tour around the pavilion, museum and the new developments at the ground. We were also very lucky with the game we watched where Middlesex beat Sussex on the last ball of the day. The boys were given an underground ticket for the second day in London and told to do their own thing - miraculously all were present and correct at the allotted rendezvous time.
Another game at Wellington against another pick-up side as preparation for our final game of the tour resulted in another win with useful contributions from Matthew Searle (playing for us this time) 49 and Henderson (42 and 5 for 27) and Redfern (5 for 30).

As a finale to the tour, we couldn’t have hoped for a better day than the superb match we had at Arundel against the Sussex Young Cricketers. It is no more than a pipe-dream for most cricketers to play at such a splendid ground (often described as the most beautiful in the world), and with the weather being kind to us it was clear that this was going to be something special.
The Sussex Young Cricketers, despite being an under 17 side, were very capable and looked well set at lunch on 144 for 2. It is, however, testament to this side’s character that they were able to haul the Sussex side back and restrict them to 235. The mainstays of the bowling were once again Richard Redfern, who bowled 18 overs for only 47 runs and took 4 wickets, and Hilton Henderson, who took 2 for 52 in 16 overs.

The loss of 3 quick wickets in the Peterhouse innings, put us in a position from which it was always going to be difficult to recover, although the side did show good application in batting out 47 overs against a very good bowling side before being bowled out for 137 and losing the game by 98 runs. It was a creditable performance by a schoolboy side against junior county cricketers, and the team received much praise from attending dignitaries, such as Lord Cowdrey, the former English captain, and John Barcley, who managed the English tour to Zimbabwe in 1996/97.
The end of a highly enjoyable, if sometimes frustrating, tour was marked by a military band parading the team and a barbecue hosted by Lord Cowdrey. This really had been a wonderful experience for all those involved and despite the intrusion of the weather, we have returned to Zimbabwe as a vastly improved team and much the wealthier for our experiences in England.

With an undertaking of this enormity, there are of course, numerous people to thank, I would like to mention a few of these; The tour would not have been even conceivable without the support of Sir Roger Gibbs and the generous donation of funds from the Arundel Cricket Foundation, to them we are extremely grateful. Our itinerary was meticulously organised by Mr. Tim Head at Wellington College and to him we are indebted not only for this but also for the very warm hospitality Wellington showed us during our stay. Lastly, I am not sure that the boys appreciate the work done behind the scenes by Mr. Paul Davis, endless hours on the phone throughout the tour trying to make the most of a bad situation allied to the work put in before the tour, mean we all owe him and the endlessly cheerful Mr. Jim Redfern a huge debt of gratitude.

James Bowles, Tour Manager

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