Morning Richie, morning everyone,
Welcome to Monotour.
Team linguist and local pedant Rory Davidson pointed out to me that mono means one (as in brow) and that perhaps that wasn’t appropriate for the sixth CtCCCC tour… however this is a tour of many firsts... a first pre-season tour, a first split accommodation tour, a first hiring of cars, a first three day tour, a first tour two-tour year and, of course, a first without Jack Dillon...
It feels like a lifetime that we were charging charging around under lights in Valencia, scoring 11 runs and losing 5 wickets in the final over of a 400 run T20, but in fact it was only just over five months ago. On their second tour in six months we have hundred hero Henry Rudkin, Pemberton, via serious knee surgery, and of course the indefatigable Cassels Junior, who we can only pray is more use than he was in Spain.
Stepping into the breach is a pleasing mix of returnees and debutants. In the former category, and of most personal pleasure to me, is seeing Hammo back in the pink of CtC abroad after declaring he would never tour following after the debacle of Tourfu. Forming a potential dangerous Perse 1st XI axis with Hammo is Brookes and Hesketh, both on their second tour after Budapest. The final retournee is club stalwart Ed ‘The Cat’ Cassels who was sorely missed both on (just ask Baggo about his replacement opening partner Davidson and the first ball of tour run out) and off the pitch. The touring squad is completed by new signings Eric ‘The Beef Thief from Neath’ Heath, brought into solve our well documented new ball bowling problems, and Rhys Brennan, purchased (fee undisclosed) to play the role of a ginger loose cannon in the absence of Dillon.
Little, as ever, is known about opposition - Riviera CC - but we look forward to visiting their fine looking pitch at St. Valier-de-Thiey i for what will be their first game of the season. Off the field Monaco offers a somewhat different take to the Mediterranean beach destinations of previous years, being more famed for super-yachts, formula one cars, casino’s and general glamour than the under-age euro-clubs, cheap villas and large out of town supermarkets previously favoured by CtC. For most of us it will be a one off insight into the lives of the Europe’s wealthiest tax dodgers and for ‘The Cat’ it is a rare opportunity to wear his best cravatte, which I think we all thought was unlikely to ever occur on a CtC tour.
With one new ball bowler, Will Hammond, having a club average of 72 and an economy rate of over 8 (not to mention a 50% attendance rate on tours he pays for) and the other on debut, our bowling is amusingly as thinner as ever - aside perhaps from Brookes who will certainly be under pressure to repeat his heroics from Budapest. With Dean and Pemberton unift to bowl, Hesketh retired from bowling, and Shaw, as ever, our ‘keeper, just where will CtC find the other 14 overs? Our success or not will surely come down to our our legspin duo of Rudkin and Brennan as the spin option and the enthusiastic but erratic brothers Cassels as our fourth seamer. Exciting. The flip side is we have eight batsmen all of course pushing for a top five spot...
I’ll finish with a small reminder… 2017 is of course a ‘fallow’ touring year for the club in preparation for Rwanda 2018… hence the short and cheap (yes, it was really just £50) nature of this trip. There are however of course consequences of this, principally that the accommodation may not be as luxurious as previously (the compound in Cascais, the porn mansion in Torfu, Albert’s lair in Budapest or the beach pad in Valencia) and the cars might be on the cramped side. Prices within Monaco are also quite punchy (think €7 for a beer, €22 for a bottle of wine, €15 for a burger)... but I have tried to pick cheaper places. Nonetheless, and make no mistake, I think this has the potential to be an excellent tour.
We go, again,
Cambridge to Casablanca Cycling Cricket Club