West Indies deserved winners of the T20 series
It was great to be back on tour. After the brief T20 World Cup in drab Dubai it is always magical coming back to the Caribbean with its characters lining the markets in Bridgetown to the wonderful beaches and warm blue sea.
With a scattering of rum shacks every few hundred yards this tour was just the most enjoyable and at times a very moving tour we could not have wished to ask for more .
We were served up some great cricket by the Windies who fully deserved their victory England had a youngish and experimental side with a view to the T20 World Cup in Australia later in the Year! A few of the regular side rested from the test side after the loss of the Ashes. I couldn’t actually say anyone really grabbed their chance of being on that plane, but at the end of the day we were just thankful to be there after a very bleak two years..
The party enjoyed a catamaran trip, cocktail making competition and our cricket match this year was played at the Wanderers. The oldest ground in Barbados. Our match was probably a bit like watching cricket in slow motion, you could easily tell the ones that had played more recently and the ones that hadn’t. But it was once again the most enjoyable day and topped with a wonderful barbecue. Tony Orwell captained the winning side as we were bowled out in our pursuit of 104 for the victory so congratulations to him and his team. I cannot write what we normally call each other but it’s all in good banter!
After the match we had the presentations and a very moving speech from Andy Latham whom is battling prostate cancer. I must say he is a great guy who is just so positive and is trying to to help raise funds for the cause. I am looking forward to seeing him later in the year in South Africa. I will add the just giving link to anyone who wishes to make a contribution at the end of my blog. We also had with us Martin who is totally blind he became something of a celebrity, everyone looked after him, but no more so then Dominic one of our tour leaders. He was brilliant with him. After the match Dom took Martin out to the wicket with a few others and took photos as he bowled a few balls to him. Martin gracefully hit one to mid wicket, it was extremely emotional. I think I will be speak for all of us there – not many dry eyes in the pavilion as we all watched on. He was given a standing ovation on his return. After the 5th T20 I tracked down Paul Collingwood who, with the team manager got one of our polo shirts signed for him by the England squad! So I thank them for that, it was actually signed on the day of the last T20, another emotional moment and presented to Martin the following day surrounded by numerous new friends from the tour.
Continuing on with my emotions, I had a call from Ken Elliott from Somerset a few months ago , at the time I was just about to go racing to Exeter. He was telling me he met me in Antigua 3 Years ago and had so much fun. I remembered him well he was always smiling and chuckling. He went on to say that he was once again looking forward to meeting me at the same island and that he enjoyed reading my blogs! We spoke for around forty minutes, sadly a few weeks later I heard that Ken had sadly died rather unexpectedly, he was the most charming man whose company many of us enjoyed on that last tour.
I would like to dedicate this blog to the three remarkable guys Martin, Andrew and Ken, to whom I will raise a glass in his absence in Antigua next Month.
God bless Ken.
All the best