Brittany is CtC's 7th tour and the second of this fallow year as we prepare for Rwanda early next year. Though inevitably thoughts are turning towards our first inter-continental tour, Brittany looks set to be an outstanding trip. We have an excellent squad of seasoned tourists, with just one debutant to welcome in Oli Fairbank. Credit particularly to those on their second tour of the year in Brennan, Heath, Pemberton, Shaw and Rudkin. There appear to be some interesting cliques on this trip, with three bristol wvnkers, Pembertons weird mates and a new Leeds axis.. The Perse axis of Monatour seems to have died as quickly as it rose - and i’m sure many will be grateful for that.
The most interesting aspect to the squad is surely however the breaching of the long held two cannon limit for foreign tours, with regular heavyweights Pemberton and Dillon facing new competition from Brennan off the field, and at least two of the rest of us required to split the cannons in the batting line-up. In more positive news, for us if not the postcard sellers of Brittanny, this is our first tour without any Cassels in attendance.
For once we have sufficient bowling, but we are chronically short of batting. Fighting for the new ball will be our pace bowling battery of Davidson, Fairbank, Gimson and Heath, with Baggo providing some medium pace variation in the all-rounders role and Brennan the designated sixth bowler. With the bat we go with the aforementioned three cannon strategy in Dillon, Brennan and Pemberton supplemented with Dean, a batsmen only by virtue of a bowling preventing injury, and the in-form tourist Henry Rudkin. This is the first time we have toured without a recognised batting gun in the shape of Pearson, Hesketh or Coe, which means it is time for the little people to step-up. Simon Shaw is our keeper.
Despite the obvious deficiencies the touring squad, CtC have had a strong season. Following the pre-season victory over Riviera CC with victories over Moose, Whitgift Staff and And That’s Lunch to give a 100% red ball record. In LMS, CtC recovered from a shocking start to the season to qualify for the play-offs, the semi-final taking place the night before tour.
As ever, little is known about tour opposition, but the frequency with which they entertain UK touring sides suggests they may be stronger than we are used to. Forensic internet research suggests that Rana, Ackroyd and particularly Balla are batsmen to watch out for, whilst Mustapha is a distinctly nippy opening bowler.
Off the field, we swap the bright lights, supercars and glamour of Monaco for the campsites and dairy produce of Brittany, which seems much closer the roots of the club. Indeed we will be very close to the route of the eponymous Cambridge to Casablanca cycle which spent nights three and four in historic Dinan (an unscheduled rest day taken due to swelling on Pemberton's knee), a mere 20 miles from our base for this tour. Spending an evening on a vast camp site is also very much in keeping with traditions and something I know those original tourists will relish.
Cambridge to Casablanca Cycling Cricket Club