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Toasting a successful tour

Posted in England Performance Programme

We woke up on the morning of the match with a couple of illnesses amongst the lads. Graham Onions and Chris (Tremlett), our strike bowlers were both ill and had to stay behind at the hotel.

We won the toss and opted to bat first, which gave those guys another day to recover and which also left me on standby too in case they didn’t get better. Carbs (Michael Carberry) and Joe (Denly) opened the batting and got us off to a good start. We lost Denly, our first wicket, when he was on 55 – an opening partnership of 125. Davies, coming in at three, made 49 and Carbs reached 134 before being bowled. That brought James (Hildreth) to the crease with Trott, who was on 32. We finished the day on 288 for three.

After a swim session to recover, I met a couple of the lads for some food in the restaurant and had an early night ready for the following day. Sachin, our liaison officer, did try and get me up at 1am to watch the Liverpool game against Marseilles, but I declined. I was happy to wake up and see they’d won 4-0 though!

Trotty and Hildreth got us off to another good start and batted until lunch. Trott made 82 and Hildreth 63. Ambrose and Rashid moved the game on quickly with Ambrose really taking the attack to the opposition and scoring 53 with ease. Rashid was 28 not out and Tredwell hit 15 before losing his wicket, when we declared on 498 for seven.

Onions felt well enough to take to the field, so he and Steve (Finn) opened our attack. They both bowled really well, not giving away many runs, but the wicket didn’t do very much and they finished the second day on 85 without loss.

We spent the third day in the field with the wicket again not helping our bowlers. It was a very tough day with their batters not hitting out or trying to score too many runs and so it looked like it was heading for a draw. There were a few half chances that we should have taken in the form of four or five dropped catches, which didn’t help our cause in the field. This was probably due to a lack of concentration after more than 100 overs in the field. On that wicket, those chances need to be taken. The opposition batted all day, finishing on 309 for five.

We had another relaxed night after a long day in the field, knowing that potentially the final day could have been another full day in the field.

In the morning we had discussions about negotiating with the opposition to set up a game. We gave them the option of making 300 in 60 overs, which they took. So they declared and we went in positively with the aim to make 110 in 30 overs. We achieved that in 23 overs, giving them an extra seven overs to reach the required runs.

Our bowlers were on fire and with Harris (James) and Finn down through injury and illness, it was left to Trott to partner Onions with the new ball. We got them all out with an hour to spare with Onions taking four wickets and Trott and Tredwell each taking three apiece.

We had a celebratory drink with the whole team and management to toast a victory and a successful tour. it’s been really productive and very worthwhile for a lot of people. We’ve all learnt a lot and got alot to take back to England with us ready for next year.

It’s been great to work with the calibre of coaches that we’ve had and they’ve been a great bunch of lads to come away with. We’re all now really looking forward to spending some quality time with our friends and family over the festive season.

Merry Christmas everyone – ho ho ho!!!

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