According to Gary
If you haven’t already met Gary, the International Cricket Tours Tour Rep, then you’ve missed out on a gem of the cricket touring world. His mild-mannered charm and keenness for what he famously calls a ‘jolly up’ make him a real asset to our team and the reason we’ve chosen him to be our man in Australia and New Zealand for the 2017-18 Series. With our new Captain Joe Root giving it his all, our Gary will be there making sure you catch all that unforgettable cricket action as well as taking in the must-have experiences of these 2 incredible incredible countries.
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4th October 2017
The timing of the Ben Stokes altercation in the early hours could not have been worse with the Ashes only 6 weeks away, it’s one of those occasions when the ECB could wish they could just erase it and sweep it under the table, but it’s not as simple as that. I wrote in my last blog praising Andrew Strauss for the way he handled the situation. At the time we had no idea what had happened until the videos of the scene started circulating around the media. I have spoken to people in the media, read several reports online and in the press, the police are currently gathering all the evidence of what happened. You can be sure the press will be looking at any wrong doing by any player including dragging up any misdemeanours of Ben Stokes from the past which will have no relevance to now.
From what we know there could be several conclusions if it drags on he could not go to the Ashes as his head will be all over the place mentally and in no frame to play test cricket. Nor will he go if he is charged but if it is affray he could go, but in my opinion I think he will be disciplined by the ECB – perhaps a six month ban. I will be amazed if he does go, he will need help through this, the England management team will have to revise late nights out etc. but believe me I would love him out there!
It’s not all over by any stretch, Stark has a injury a reoccurrence of a heal problem – that’s twice this year- and James Pattinson (bowler) will miss the Ashes series following a recurrence of a back injury. The wickets in Australia are rock solid not spongy like here, their side is ageing, even the sledging has started with Jim Maxwell stating that their bowlers are quicker and the Aussies will win 5-0. Half of their bowlers are or have been having injury problems, I think if Jimmy just bowls straight aiming for off stump then who knows? He has only had one injury so I expect him to fully tuned in on taking wickets with the help of Broady, Woaksie, and Moeen. On a drying wicket we have a chance, I’m expecting an extra bowler to replace Stokes, maybe Plunkett? He can bat a bit as well, but we always have the option of drafting in Mark Wood who has had his fill of injuries from the Lions squad who are in Australia at the same time. He does have genuine pace, as for the batting, people forget we have the most prolific run scorer in test cricket in England with Cook and Root probably the current 2nd best batsman in World Cricket after Kohli Root will be chomping at the bit to get at them, on hard wickets it favours the pull and hook, Cook plays of the back foot so will be suited by the conditions and Root will come into his own. Plus we all know we have wonderful mid to tail batsman, but will need to improve on the 16 dropped catches against the West Indies and a bit of Lady Luck so all is not lost yet, just be positive and get behind the 3 Lions!! There is still space in Perth, Melbourne and a little in Sydney join us there for what promises to be an interesting series.
All the Best
27th September 2017
I salute you Andrew Strauss, a breath of fresh air to English Cricket.
24 hours is a long time in sports, as news filtered it’s way to the Sky Sports studios, that Ben Stokes & Alex Hales had been arrested in a brawl in the early hours in Bristol at a night club, straight away the journalists were all over it about the possible omission from the Ashes of one of our brightest stars!
Within an hour after being reported on Sky a interview with Andrew Strauss was being shown that he advised selectors to pick the Ashes squad based on ability and form!!
Brilliant! That is exactly what you want to hear from the director of English cricket he’s completely nipped it in the bud, The F.A would have gone about it differently, swept in under the carpet and dealt with it a few years later. Andrew is a credit to the sport of Cricket not only a great Ashes winning captain of England but someone who deals with the Day to Day running of our wonderful game who can deal with issues off the pitch as well..
Being a big football fan as well, I cast my mind back to 1977 when in my opinion and probably a lot of you, the greatest English manager of all time Brian Clough was turned down to manage England by the F.A and Ron Greenwood was given the task the against the nations wishes, a Year and a bit later Clough had steered a mediocre Nottingham Forest to back to back European champions. The F.A hierarchies decision not to offer the job to Clough was the most ridiculous decision and possibly cost us a World Cup it was the decision that stopped me ever going to see the the national side and we have probably never recovered from that as a football nation, if only we had someone like Andrew Strauss on the F.A then!!
I think meetings will take place with Ben & Alex, especially as Ben has been sent home in the past from a Lions tour for late night drinking and missed the T20 World Cup for punching a locker in frustration against a poor loss of form, of course we don’t know the facts of what happened, but Ben is crucial in all forms of English cricket having said that I think Hales is too!
It’s funny I decide to write a blog when there is something to say but this has been a bit like ”hold the front page” as it was meant to be mainly on the Squad for the Ashes!
So I will say ”hold the front page” and write next week on the Ashes squad
There are still a few places left for our magical trip down under, life is for living so why not join us!
All the best
20th September 2017
Now the sun has gone down on the English Cricket season, it’s time to reflect… test wins against South Africa and West Indies, but that does not really tell the whole story. S.A. fielded arguably a weakened side and the W.I. appear to be wishing they were on the beach on there respective islands! Having seen them first hand they fielded, batted and bowled very poorly and just did not look fit or focused enough for test cricket! They collapsed like a pack of cards with no aces at Edgbaston – 19 wickets fell on day 3. It was far more embarrassing for them then it was in 84 for England in the famous Black Wash series. To be honest would you like to face Marshall, Garner or Holding? At least England tried back then like every other team but those W.I. sides were just wonderful. Full of great pace and elegant batsman, not very often would they use a spin bowler, but why would you? Their attack would destroy the best batting line ups in the world! At least they gained a bit of revenge in the 2nd test this year only for it to be on a one sided third test…
At this moment in time, behind the scenes there are meetings discussing who should be selected for Australia. I have my ideas who should go and about batting line-ups like everybody else. I certainly would keep Stoneman, but move Joe Root up the 3, a few have argued Captain Steve Smith bats at 4 so why not leave Root there? Well, my argument is that we always seem to be 32/2 so he is out there well before we would like him to be. So, I would move everyone up one and bring Hales into the team and have him in at 7. All of a sudden it looks like we have a strong side in my opinion a great middle/tail end one of the best currently in world cricket, I would also take Butler, if JB picked up a injury behind the stumps he is the only contender. Foakes at Surrey should be considered but a huge ask to throw him in on an Ashes series in Australia…
I will write another blog as soon as we have more news on that, we still have a few places available for the Ashes if you can make it, if not then what about New Zealand?
Before I close we were at the Village Cup final at Lords on Sunday (we are a sponsor) We had a most enjoyable day climaxing with dinner in the Long Room, Sara was asked to ring the 5 minute bell – an huge accolade, the last time we were at Lords it was rung by the wonderful dear old thing Henry Blofeld!
All the Best
4th September 2017
The nights are drawing in and Australia & New Zealand tours are just around the corner it is 79 days as I write to be exact……..are you coming?
Just for a change I write this blog in my favourite hostelry in Chiswick, George 1V, if you are ever around this way pop in – you will love the ambiance and the great range of ales they serve… but enough about my ”Jolly”
Australia is selling fast and we are expecting great demand in the coming weeks so don’t leave things to chance – phone Sara or Richard and they will be delighted to hear from you whether it be for the Magellan Ashes or ODI’s in Australia or the test matches or ODI’s in New Zealand. If you are as enthusiastic as I am you might even be thinking of the T20 Tri-series, with England, New Zealand and Australia.One of the games is being played in Hobart which I have always wanted to visit – it’s a bit like the dessert after the main course which I am sure will be a great. I think we have a wonderful chance of retaining the urn!
We have a wonderful trips planned for you and I’m sure you’ll love the Polo Shirts which set us apart from the rest! I am hoping to model one – without a beer! You might just want to purchase another! In Australia & New Zealand we have optional day trips available and of course memorable NYE, Xmas Day and end of tour (Sydney only) functions – it would be great to see you there!
I will be there with Sara and Richard but not all at the same time, we are taking calls 7 days a week at the moment because of the demand, I look forward to seeing you for a beer or two!!
All the Best
Tri Series dates and locations Feb 2017
2 Prime Minister’s XI v England, Canberra (23:00 GMT, 1 Feb)
4th August 2017
Just for a change I write this blog on the plane heading for Dubai en route to England and am hoping for another view of the amazing 7* Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai, brings back memories of unbelievable bedrooms!
In Sri Lanka we have visited well over 30 Hotels and 7 Cricket grounds from Dambulla to Kandy, Galle & Colombo and believe me there are some magnificent grounds. It has been a lot of hard work – so many notes and photos taken. We have selected hotels from contemporary to boutique and colonial – in fact, something for everyone. We have also done our homework on restaurants. I must say though that I have checked my thoughts against Trip Advisor and and don’t completely agree at the ratings. I feel some are are based on past reputation which is no longer valid and having been an apprentice and commis chef at the Goring Hotel, Victoria for 7 years I think I should know a bit about it! I did work hard there, it was and still is a truly wonderful hotel and I am very proud to have worked there, I was not always in the pub or at cricket or football!
I, of course, have my favourite hotels and cricket grounds which I will be happy to share with you by phone or email. We were lucky to catch the last day’s play at Galle between Sri Lanka and India, very one sided but Sri Lanka did pick up a couple of injuries during the game and the setting is of course totally unique set in the shadow of the old fort.
When in Colombo I was hoping to arrange a meeting with the president of the of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board HON. THILANGA SUMATHIPALA to find out whether the ODI’s would be day or day/night but due to the 2nd Test match with India only 3 days away he was unavailable. My feeling with the ground managers I have spoken to is that it will be day/ nights except Galle because of the 16th century fort which is a UNESCO World Heritage site so no flood lights allowed.
We have had a lot of interest in Sri Lanka already it is inexpensive, has lovely people, excellent standards and Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a must. All that remains now are the dates and venues which should be around March, if you have anything you would like to ask us please get in touch or register here
A beer has just arrived…a jolly up in the Sky..!
All the best and hope to see you at the Cricket Club Café in Colombo next year for one of our events.
26th June 2017
I thought it was time for a blog with some news!
As I write this blog I am having a beer in my favourite pub in Chiswick, no surprise there I guess but today I am celebrating success as we beat S.A in Cardiff to take the series. We have unearthed a lot of great young talent during this series, with Milan (Middlesex) having a brilliant knock of 78 in 44 balls and across the water Tom Curran (Surrey) both of whom will make it in the test and 1 Day arena with ball and bat closely followed by Sam. The future of English cricket is in great hands with Andrew Strauss steering the ship…now for the much anticipated and eagerly awaited test series with them. South Africa are a great side, we had the better of them the last time we met in SA, but they will be without the great AB de Villiers, whose wife is expecting so congratulations to him, we follow that up with West Indies visiting these shores in August. there are still places at Edgbaston 19 August if you would like to join us for the 3rd session of the day/nighter. Contact Sara on 0203 824 8444 to book
The eagerly awaited Ashes are only 6 Months away modules are selling very fast so don’t dither if you are interested. We expect to sell out – there are very few spaces left for Adelaide so my advice is don’t leave it too late.
I have been busy designing the tour T shirts and we are in the process of adding a shop to the website with very good quality tour merchandise including a range of Polo Shirts, T Shirts, fleece, caps, sun hats and sunglasses mostly embroidered and some printed. I am extremely excited by this addition to the website we had everybody wearing the polo shirts in the Caribbean it was a great picture, so watch this space an email will go out when we launch as you might need additional shirts for Australia.
I look forward to meeting some new and old friends at Edgbaston.
I am at Lords on Saturday 1st and 8th of July so if your there and fancy a beer give me a call!
All the best, enjoy this summers cricket and see you in Australia
Granted. It is a long way to New Zealand and you don’t go much further before you start coming back. However, if there is a country worth the journey then it is this beautiful collection of Pacific islands with its pleasant climate and friendly inhabitants.
As it is a long way I would recommend breaking the journey. Head East and your options are numerous, Hong Kong, Dubai or Singapore all offer routes in to New Zealand and are great places to explore while getting some rest before heading onwards. On my trip I opted to stop briefly in Singapore, a modern, bustling city-state with very affordable high standard hotels, it is also a shopaholics paradise with every option from local markets to glitzy malls packed with world famous designer brand shops. Head West and you can stopover in Los Angles and hang out with the crazy and cool of Venice Beach, or take a drive along the magnificent Pacific Coast Highway.
From Singapore I flew straight in to Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’. In my opinion Auckland ranks as one of the great Pacific coast cities along with Sydney, San Francisco and Vancouver. It has a well-developed waterfront scene full of trendy bars and world-class restaurants. A short distance from the centre is the impressive Eden Park stadium where we expect one of the Test matches to be played. The rumour is it will be a day-night Test match, being the first day-night Test match between England and New Zealand. If you want an idea of the type of atmosphere you can expect here, then catch the All-Blacks v The British Lions who will be playing there in June 2017.
On to South Island and the city of Christchurch, the proposed venue for the 2nd Test match. Evidence of the disastrous earthquakes of 2010-11 are still prevalent in the centre of the city despite this the city has retained its intrinsic ‘English’ type charm with its green parks and historic buildings that did survive. It is an easy city to negotiate with most places of interest being within walking distance of the centre, including the Hagley Oval. In complete contrast to Eden Park the Hagley Oval nestles in leafy Hagley Park. A quintessential English style cricket ground that will no doubt delight those who like their cricket served up in a more ‘traditional’ setting.
If New Zealand is not already on your list of ‘must-see’ places to visit then it really should be. Taking cricket to one side for a moment, the diversity of natural sights of these relatively small islands has to offer will amaze you. From the pristine endless beaches and rolling green volcanic hills of the North Island to the rugged Southern Alps and fjord-like scenery of Milford Sound of South Island. If it all sounds a bit fantastic then just remember it was New Zealand that provided the back drop to the fantasy films of Lord of the Rings. For those of you considering the trip you can be sure there will be a warm welcome for you in Middle Earth.
Watch this space for full tour packages in June 2017.
Register with us to receive full tour details as soon as dates are released.
13th April 2017
27th March 2017
Today is Mothers Day.
On our recent tour to the Caribbean I looked around the stands in Antigua and there appears to be an ever increasing volume of woman going to the game whether they are girlfriends, wives, daughters or just friends, I don’t remember seeing that when I first started going in the early 70s, I do remember seeing an elderly couple, he was focusing on the cricket why she was knitting! How things have changed, I was lucky enough to have met so many lovely ladies in the Caribbean who have become friends, and that is where cricket is going it’s not blokes on a ”Jolly”
So I hope all you lovely ladies out there were spoilt and had a wonderful Day!
Now spring is here I am spending a lot of time researching the best restaurants & bars and places to visit on the trip down under for you all to enjoy, I have always wanted to go to see an ODI at Hobart Tasmania which will now be possible and we are compiling a trip to include the Test in Perth plus a few days in Hobart before returning home for Christmas, this will be on the website in the very near future.
Richard is flying out to New Zealand in April to source the right combination of hotels that will be most suited to our diverse clientele and I am flying out to Sri Lanka in July to firm up our plans for the tour in 2018.
We are still taking bookings for all the Ashes games and of course if it’s ODI you are looking they are on sale now v Australia and the Tri series with the Aussies and New Zealand.
I have sent out an email invite to all for reunion in the summer at Edgbaston on the 19th August, we have had several confirmations so we will confirm the agenda to everyone in a few weeks time so please let us know the closing date will be 15th April.
All the best!
13th March 2017
We have now arrived back in London with the weather wet and miserable.
The tour started on 22nd February we had 20 people in St Kitts and we became friends instantly, a couple of warm up games, a lot of local banter and several beers later we were on our way to Antigua. We had clients all over the island, so it was difficult to meet everybody though between Sara, Dom, Richard & I, we managed to spend some time with everyone. The catamaran trip was a huge success, with the legends of Antigua on board 2 of the boats – Curtly Ambrose and Richie Richardson – plus ex West Indies player Kenny Benjamin on the third. We had a lot of great comments on our day out and is something we will be doing again in the Caribbean in 2019. After 2 wins and Richie Richardson’s party with Spirited Band (in which he and Curtly play and sing ) and more famous cricketers – Joel Garner and Gordon Greenidge, we left for Barbados, some stayed on in Antigua and some arrived just for the Barbados match.
Our event at the Mount Gay rum distillery with Desmond Haynes and 3 other Barbados Legends hosted by Simon Hughes from TMS was a huge success with a hilarious Q/A session probing Ian Bradshaw, Milton Small and Thelston Payne for clues as to how the Windies will break this spell of underperformance and of course a quick look in to their cricketing past we all remember so well.
To be fair, the cricket probably was not the best, I personally think we are a very good team and the West Indies just not good enough, they have a lot of work to do in all areas, I did have a few minutes with Stuart Law and he said they were young but thought they have some talent to work with.
We have had several people ask us if we could arrange a reunion at a test match venue on a Saturday during July. If you are interested in this please contact me on [email protected], and we will do our best to make this happen, next year we will be offering weekends away in the capital at either the Oval or Lords taking in a day’s test and a show of your choice with hotel so please keep an eye on the ever expanding web site!
Finally I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting as many of you as I could, I think it was a huge success, many of you have expressed interest in future tours. Our repeat clients are always offered an advance booking period before general release, Sara & Richard will be delighted to hear from you, and put together a tour that suits your needs.
Thank you for reading my blogs, I will continue to write them when we have any news for you!
So for now a big thank you from me and International Cricket Tours.
10th March 2017
I write this blog for once just chilling and without a beer!
I’d like to start by saying what a great night at the Mount gay Rum Distillery. We have had so many lovely comments about the Q&A with Simon, Desmond, Milton, Ian and Thelston, and of course those speeches! I had no idea I was going to be dragged up there and speak so it was completely off the cuff. I was told today that it reminded them of Churchills speech! I thought wow what an accolade, then I thought he might had been talking about the dog!
I would like to congratulate Andrew Maidstone who won the competition last night, winning a trip around TMS studio with Tino Best & Ebony Jewel. It was amazing I was asked by Simon to come with them. We were allowed in the sky box with all the gadgets they use for stats etc, and to finish in mcr where all the editing is done. We were delighted Gordon joined us in the boxes, there were a lot of photo & autograph opportunities.
Finally a special mention must go to Susan Bayliff, she stood on a sea urchin and needed medical attention and who should she meet – Sir Cliff Richards! She is now on the mend but unfortunately could not make the event last night!
We are already being asked about 2019, there are a lot of newly formed friendships that would like to return, we have had discussions about an event in Antigua with a Q&A, Caribbean hot buffet and Richie & Curtly’s band ”Spirired” and dancing the night away!!
Thanks guys, this is not my goodbye blog. I will write again on Saturday!!
6th March 2017
As I write this blog I am on route to Barbados on an elastic band propelled Jet with Liat.
Firstly I would like to apologise to Alison, Mike & John for not mentioning them in my previous blog that was partly due to too many wadadli’s in the Coconut Grove. Those guys beat the Barmy Army at Royal St. Kitts golf club, so a big congratulations to them.
On the golf topic, we have been asked to arrange a golf competition on future tours, so thank you Keith we will certainly be arranging this but obviously where possible!
I have tried to get myself around to as many of you guys as I can, we have very large numbers here and in Barbados, so I am struggling to remember everybody by name but I’m trying my best! I would like to thank all you guys for your lovely comments and constructive suggestions so we can do better.
It has been wonderful meeting all you guys! And I will say we have been sent a few screen shots from guy’s in the UK, it makes us so proud to see all you guys wearing the t-shirts & caps, a special mention to Lewis aka ”the Lobster man” as bumble described him on sky!
I designed the shirts and already have my design for the ashes which will be fantastic, and as soon as I am back in the UK we will have a page on the website showing the completed t shirt, it has also been great receiving all the pics with football shirts & flags. A big thank you to the guys with the Mansfield & Norwich flags.
Finally, I look forward to seeing some of you guys when we deliver the tickets tomorrow Dom & Richard will also be doing some.
It would be great if you can all wear the t shirt in Barbados, we are trying to get as many group photo’s as we can.
Thanks guys, I will write the next blog in a few days.
2nd March 2017
I am writing this blog in the Coconut Grove a very quaint bar on Dickinson Bay but very lively!
The tour kicked off in great fashion with welcome drinks at the Marriott in St Kitts, in glorious sunshine and as far as I was aware no one was in a hurry to be back in the UK for storm Doris!
The England team were staying at the hotel so there were a lot of photo opportunities which most took advantage of, we will have a lot of photos during the tour which will go on the scrapbook, special thanks go to Debbie for sending me so many photos and being in the medical profession she was also concerned about my cough as were a lot of them! The conversation turned to our new friends locations around the UK and of course cricket with football teams thrown in for good measure, some great friendships were made in no particular order, John, Linda, Andrew, Alison, David, Alyson, Mike, Gwyneth, Lewis, Stephanie, Josh, Andrew, Jack, Pam, Debbie, Gary.
The next few days were about propping up the bar and just enjoying the sun with two ODI’s thrown in for good measure at Warner Park, which no doubt the star was from the Caribbean in the name of Jimmy Cornwall who is 23 and probably weighs slightly more than his age but he bowled and batted very well scoring a half century!
We rounded of St Kitts with dinner at Marshall’s for most of the party.
The following morning we were all up bright and early for our departure to Antigua, with our good friends from Stoke, Josh & Andrew, looking forward to the next bar at St James Club!
No sooner had we arrived, Sara, Dom & myself had a painstaking time putting all the tickets in envelopes which we distributed today. We did not get the opportunity to meet everyone but am looking forward to meeting you all, as my health is on the up I will soon be in need of a few ”Jolly up’s”. I’m sure a lot of you will be up for a few beers especially my new friends from Stoke!!
Have a great time everyone, we could not do this without you!! You are the Stars!
Please keep those WhatsApp messages coming and send me those pics, I might have a competition for the best ones!!
Watch this space..
9th February 2017
So the Chief has decided to pass the armband on. After captaining the team for 59 Matches, with Series wins in India and South Africa and two Ashes wins followed by a difficult draw with Pakistan and Bangladesh and a 4-0 trouncing in India, Cookie has decided he has had enough.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest and most successful batsmen we have had, breaking several records on the way, Cook has been a great ambassador for English Cricket and is very highly respected by the team and England Supporters alike. He’s had some critics (mainly from the press and one or two pundits) about certain aspects of his captaincy and the KP sacking and maybe some of them are warranted – but it is a team game, and I’m sure each one of the players out in India, if asked could they have played better, would have given a 100% yes.
Having watched a majority of the tests in India and being in Chandigarh, it was a poor performance by almost every player, but I am afraid the buck always ends up with the Captain and Manager. I was personally hoping he would stay until at least after the summer Test Matches against the West Indies and the improving South Africa team – as I see it, if we lose those games the new captain (most probably Rooty) would be under similar pressure with the Ashes just over the Horizon.
Thank you Cookie I hope you stay around for a few more years yet and maybe have a chance of passing Sachin Tendulkar’s record!
Copyright © 2017
Last updated September 5th, 2017