2011 Tour

Following the 4 previous and succesful tours to Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Normandy and 'The Canals of Middle England' respectively, North Harrow CC's 5th annual tour occurred on 4/5th June 2011.
The pre-tour excitement was evident for all to see. Email banter ping-ponged: binge-drinking, boat-race style beer competions, daubing and waking up in one's own vomit were all on the agenda. With tour fantasy league points formulated, fixtures arranged, hotels booked, travel organised and Ben Lloyd enticed away from his early season sabbatical, the scene was set for a memorable NHCC tour.
With the location set as 'somewhere in Oxfordshire', the NHCC sub-groups made their way to the rendez-vous point of "some pub in the middle of nowhere". How would the sub-groups cope by venturing into the non-ethnic, highwayman-ridden countryside without relying on a good signal to phone the skipper to ask for directions? First to arrive was the Tradewagon, driven by the White-Van-Man Murray. Next to arrive, was Teebs, Garth and Dan. Their plan to get a train to Slough, then spend £90 on a taxi from there worked a treat. Then like wickets falling in a NHCC middle order, the cars of Sukh, Amar and Dave all followed in quick succession. So the first leg of the weekend had been completed. There were mutual greetings, consumption of beers, sandwiches etc and there was a general feeling of enthusiasm for the tour that lie ahead. Then after this everyone made their way to the cricket ground.
To read the match report of the first game click here.
Following the euphoric win, the only thing on the mind of NHCC players was the post-game beer. But first the hotel needed to be checked into. It had been a topic on the minds of all... "who would I have to room with?". As a racist club, it was unanimously agreed to allocate the rooms on racial grounds thereby creating de facto ghettos. The first and most obvious move was lump all the Asians of Dave, Sukh and Amar together. This racial strategy also had a logistical benefit - when the other groups decided to meet at 8pm we could just tell the Asian room to meet at 7.30 safe in the knowledge they wouldn't be that late. The next room to be sorted was the Antipodean Room complete with a late licence, sawdust on the floor and Sky TV with Super 14s through the night. Ozzie Dan and Saffa TB fitted right in. The final room to be established was the White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) room. This room was created so the good middle-class people of England could lead a happy and safe life away from the diseases and vices that were so prominant elsewhere. Robin and Matt felt at home.
The observant amongst you will have noticed that Lever and Garth did not demographically fit into any of these three rooms, so remained room-less. They had to be allocated. This caused a problem. The WASP room were loathed to let either candidate in, but reasoned that having a Jew was safer than having a Welshman in their midst. This coupled by the fact that the primative lifestyle of Wales was similar to the Southern Hemisphere meant that Lever went English and Garth went Antip. Only one more problem persisted - where would Ben go? As he was a late addition and therefore had to sleep on the floor, he could only squeeze into the over-crowded Antip room.
With rooms allocated, all the members strode forth to investigate the rooms. Basic was the word. One bed. One sofa. One 'desk' - made from one horizontal piece of plywood supported by a few verticle bits of plywood, one cupboard without doors, one bathroom 1975 B&Q spec, one set of crusty 'white' bedsheets, one kettle and certainly not even a whiff of a mini-bar, porn-channel, complimentary snacks / shower gels, framed pictues, electronic key card or soft carpet.
And so it was lash time.
Members met in hotel car park, allegedly showered, clean and changed then made their way into the throbbing party capital of Oxen, namely Burford. There were some interesting outfits on display: Lever and Dan were the superdry gang, Cloth went for the Gothic Chav look with dark shorts and dark hoddie, Sukh being a teacher dressed like a teacher with his trousers and sports jacket, TB wore his school trousers, and Amer dressed for the occasion by changing from his navy NHCC cap to his navy Yankees cap.
The first drinking tavern was found and 10 chairs with NHCC members on them were spread around a wooden table outside a pub. It was nippy. Those who admitted this were slagged off by those who had more than just a t-shirt on. As the first drinks were being guzzled, a venue for eating needed to be decided. A collective thought of, "this place seems ok", meant that we went inside and found a table. 
Pretty much everyone selected the steak and chips. A couple of people chose fish and chips. The food was ok. There was some amusement about how one woman went into the toilets and never came out. Everyone discussed if there would be any women for Dan to ensnare. Robin was reminded he was a "Manure Boy". This is due to the fact that he bulks up by carrying manure as opposed to spending time in the gym. After dinner, with the members lubricated, a more lively venue was sought. Another pub with no discernable difference to the previous was was selected. Here the members stayed until 1am, partaking in beer and banter.
Most people drank beer. Garth drank cider. Lever was then accused of having a 'gay drink' because he opted for Vodka and fruit juice. Shots were then purchased thanks to Robin's negotiation skills, this led to the pub locking us in with the landlord seeing pound signs in our faces. As the rounds of drinks seaped into the system it was interesting to note how the antics of the members changed: Matt - his anecdotal stories became slightly longer and probably more exaggerated. Robin - absolutely no change at all between sober Murray and pissed Murray. Ben - becomes slightly more cutting and more abusive of others. Dan - shouts a little louder and becomes more determined to discuss muscles, this led to an arm wrestle bout with some old guy where most the time they just held hands. TB - sits in corner and dozes off. Garth - becomes slightly more crass, the content of his remarks grew cruder and ruder. Dave - no major change but said on a few occasions how he was the eldest but could handle his drink the best. Sukh - his wild schemes, his visions and delusions of grandeur became fantasy; he even suggested that NHCC should play medium teams every week. Amer - more aggressive, louder within a short space of time.
Eventually the members had to make their way back to the hotel with TB's singing. After a too-short sleep the members made their way for an excellent breakfast served by a good looking woman. Then the members back in sub-groups made their way to the second fixture of the weekend. Arriving 2 hours early was maybe a little superfluous but it did allow time for the NHCC Olympics. The NHCC Olympics was a little like Wii Sports - partaking in silly games but was actually very fun. Event 1 - Rounders. No one knew the rules or the scoring system but apparently it was a very close hard fought game. Event 2 - Race. Race A was dominated and won by Lever (note he convincingly beat Robin). Race B was staged as Race A was deemed unfair for a reason that still remains a mystery today. Race B was won by Robin. Event 3 - Wembley rules football i.e. one goal, one goalkeeper and two teams. Surprise, surprise - the team that won was the team with the best goal hangers. After the Olympics, preparations began for the fixture.
To read the match report of the second game click here.

Following the game there was a general feeling of lethargy, Sunday evening blues and the phobia of long journeys home. But back in the sub-groups the members headed home in the pouring rain and reflected on the weekend. A roaring success. More trips for the future for sure. But no NHCC event would be complete without the obligatory email from the skipper thanking everyone for turning up to the trip he organised.

Mark Lever
Tour Reporter.