British Police Cricket Club 2016 tour report - a bit of a damp one
The 2016 British Police CC touring party
The 2016 BP adventure began on the evening of Sunday 26th June, with our intrepid squad meeting at Bromborough Police Station on the Wirral side of the Mersey near Birkenhead.
Beefy’s arrangements went like clockwork and in no time at all kit and players were aboard Stena Lines finest for the overnight ferry to Belfast.
The next day it was straight to Carrickfergus Cricket Club, north of Belfast, for the first fixture against Ireland Under 19s.
The management team, aka the ‘three Amigos’, saw ‘Beefy’ and ‘Youngy’ completed by the addition of John Ellis. Josh Woodrow from PSNI was a welcome addition as Physio. The officials were Ray Knowles (Umpire) and Peter Mitchell (Scorer & Statistician).
The BP playing line up had a fresh look about it with Mick Martin of Gwent taking the helm for the first time supported by all five new caps. They were Richard Wharton, a wicket-keeper from Hertfordshire, the first ever representative from that county; George Crossley, a seamer from Leicestershire; Fergus Bailey, another seamer from Lancashire and Adam Phillips, a keeper from Merseyside.
Warming up the opening match
Finally there was Calum Rodger, an all-rounder and the first call-up from the newly evolved Scotland force, but the third wildling to join us from north of the wall.
Let’s put a timeline on Monday 27th June’s events:
1045am: In a shower break the captains toss for innings – won by Mick Martin who inserted the Irish.
11am: Scheduled start time of a 50 over game – raining so play delayed until 12 noon with overs reduced to 45.
12noon: Still raining – start further delayed and it was agreed to commence at 1pm with overs reduced to 40.
1255: BP take the field – cloudy and dismal.
1258: Play commences, with Andy Sidgreaves coming in from the pavilion end to Doheny, captain Tector the non-striker. From the scorebox end George Crossley was the first newbie to show his wares with an economic run up and all action style. The first three overs went down with 12 runs accrued and little incident.
1310: Four balls later Crossley had his first wicket. Doheny tried to cut but didn’t keep it down, with Phil Gray diving forward at point to take a low catch (14-1).
1311: As the incoming batsmen Matchett, in at No.3, was striding to the middle the rain came down again and the umpires took the players off. Lunch was taken early a restart time agreed and a reduction of overs to 35.
1437: BP enter the arena again, with Crossley finishing his over and Sidgreaves continuing at the other end.
1444: After 11 dot balls George Crossley bowled the fourth ball of his third over to Matchett who skied a top edge to be caught to another diving catch, this time by debutant Fergus Bailey (14-2).
1445: Gillespie joined Tector and was put down to a straightforward gully chance off Sidgreaves, with no other issues the scoreboard moved to 33 after 11 overs. The sky then darkened and as the threat of more rain became acute Tector got stuck into Crossley with three fours and a single in the 12th over.
1509: At the end of the 12th over the umpires took the bails off as heavy rain came in. There were then serious issues with standing water on the square and it paddling over the laces in the outfield.
1525: The captains shake hands with the match abandoned as a draw with no further play possible.
N.B. Stato you should get out more!
There were 45 minutes of play (less two minutes for fall of wickets) with 72 balls, plus three wides delivered.
George Crossley won the bowling wicket count on his debut 2-0. Andy Sidgreaves won the dot count beating George Crossley 26-21. He also won the boundary count conceding one to four and the wide count 0-3. Phil Gray and Fergus Bailey took their first catches in ODR’s
On Tuesday 28th June BP travelled to the Civil Service Ground at Stormont, the venue for many of Ireland’s international matches, to play the Northern Cricket Union.
Cloud and showers were forecast as the captains met for the toss, won by the hosts, who elected to bat.
BP brought Ted Roe, Alex Pocket and Stuart Taylor into their line-up.
Sadly the rain came harder and harder as the day went on and the game was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Match sponsors Uberfone (courtesy of Mark Groves on behalf of Mark Singh MD) at least had the opportunity to promote their innovative products from the cover of the pavilion and get a team photo prior to the start of the match.
The rest of the week was a complete wash out due in the main to standing water on already sodden squares and outfields.
This is the first year that BP has never faced a delivery!
All this was a great disappointment not only to the tourists but especially to Gavin Todd from the Police Service Northern Ireland who had put so much time and effort into creating a formidable list of fixtures on Northern Ireland’s finest grounds. He had also taken care of every detail concerned with the accommodation, transportation and hospitality throughout the week.
However, there was no question of it putting a dampener on the warmth and sociability of Gavin and his team in ensuring BP could fill in the rain gaps, with trips to the Titanic Museum, Gymnasiums, Golf Clubs and tours of the City and much more.
To our 'drivers' and 'escorts' - Gavin, Graeme, Andy, Mark, and Campbell you all did a great job much appreciated by everyone. Thank you.
On Thursday evening there was a charity dinner held in the Dame Mary Peters suite at Newforge Country Club.
Events on the night, including a memorabilia auction, this together with money allocated from player fines and pre tour fund raising ensured BP were able to hand over nearly £2,000 to the Make A Wish Foundation.
This organisation makes such a difference by granting the wishes of children and young people in the UK fighting life threatening conditions. The cash was presented by DFD and Gavin Todd and accepted by Gail McKee on behalf of Make a Wish.
I think we can be assured the cash will be put to good use.
L-R: Gavin Todd, Gail McKee (Make A Wish) and David Fraser-Darling presenting £1900 raised during the week
Thanks to everyone who made a contribution or who did their bit on the night to guarantee it being a success.
It wouldn’t be fitting at this point if BP didn’t acknowledge the continued commitment and dedication of David Fraser-Darling, our ‘Beefy’. The players recognized his efforts with a presentation by the captain, but the whole of BP cricket must officially record it’s appreciation for the effort he puts in, not only to ensure the continuity of every BP tour but managing Police cricket in its entirety. Never mind his efforts to raise money for charity.
Finally many thanks to our Sponsors – John Shaw (G4S), George Burrows, Police Mutual, Uberfone and Arc Legal.
We were joined on Thursday by Martin Johnson of Arc Legal who became a formidable tourist as the evening went on!
Our sponsors are the people who make everything ‘BP’ possible, so although this year there was a shortage of cricket those sponsors made it possible for us to turn our attention to help one of the most deserving of children’s charities.
Thanks to you all for your continued and much appreciated support.