The Latest from Our Touring Reporter

June 15

We arrived in Hong Kong and after a long sleep we had a lovely tour of the city yesterday and then an eventful afternoon playing bowls at the Hong Kong Cricket Club. This is no ordinary club. This is your top shelf facility and a welcome to match..
For Marion and me this was our first game of lawn bowls. It was great fun and our hosts were very welcoming and friendly. Although in the clinches we did see some earnest bowling maneouvers and gamesmanship with lots of friendly blocking and driving. We soon caught on but lack of experience in our team meant we went down 2 to 1.
There were 6 others teams on the greens - 4 per side. Across the lot there were over 50 HK Rotary folk battling out the afternoon. Lots of refreshment and friendship combined to make a great afternoon followed by a BBQ and speeches [David does chat a bit] and then a tour of the sumptuous club house. Cricket? What cricket! Bowling underarm just won a whole new army of followers. Hong Kong is a must for fellow travelllers.

June 19
(after arriving in Lincolnshire, UK)

On a beautiful sunny Friday morning the local pitch looked flat and safe and the only blemish was a chilly wind that blew across the ground. The spirit of the game was warm and friendly. Bourne Captain Norman Brown lost the toss and put Australia in. The opening pace attack consisted of spinners and it took some getting used to as did the pace of the ball.
Rotary Australia - 5 for 229. Dungey - 40 ret; Robertson 40 ret; O'Shea 42 ret; Fitz 26 n. o.and Brigden 19.
Rotary Bourne - 9 for 200. Musgrove 18  Worker 41; Jones 25; Hill 34; and Webber 29. Pooley 3 for 18.
David Worker won man of the match. Jamie Bones won best catch in the deep - ball fished from the local 'eau' [creek].


The 'catch' in the creek.

Great match only bettered by the wonderful local hospitality. Local press attended as did Mayor and other notables. Thank you to Norman Brown and the local Rotary and friends. A most memorable visit and game. Thank you all.


June 22


Game 2 at Swinnerton hosted by Lord Stafford and the North Staffordshire Team.  


Aust 2 for 224. Pooley 33 ret; Williams 20; O'Shea 33 ret; Horsley 25 ret; Brigden 33 ret; Fricke 27 n.o.and Scanlon 15 n.o. Scanlon 2/24    GB&I 4 for 163. Lloyd 30 ret; Williams 31 ret; Dodd 23; Sprowston 27. Fricke 1/23; Stevenson 1/19; Musgrove 1/10 and Fitz 1/4. 


Aussie stalwart David Horsley shows his style.

The day started with light rain and overcast conditions but finished up bright and sunny at the close of play.  Francis Fitz-Herbert, or otherwise Lord Stafford,  wished everyone all the best of luck for a great day's play and provided two bottles of cheerful port and the most marvellous stilton cheese. The Swinnerton ladies excelled with a fab spread for lunch that made post lunch play quite a challenge. A great day was had by all.


June 23


Game 3 - The Ashes at Harborne near Birmingham.


Aust 6 for 251. Dungey 41 ret; Robertson 41 ret; O'Shea 43 ret; Williams 30; and Scanlon 42 ret. Stirrat 2/61; Johnson 2/63.    GB&I 8 for 178. Johnson 21; Hill 40 ret;  Webber 24; and Stirrat 20 n.o. Scanlon 2/24; Williams 1/35; Boyd 1/30; Pooley 1/34; O'Shea 1 24 and Fricke 1/20.


The Ashes was a closely contested game despite the one sided score. The pre-game gamesmanship was lively and both sides excelled in this department. However the scoreboard pressure proved too much for the GB&I team who crumbled under the pressure.


The second game was GB&I versus The Rest of the World which GB&I won by 4 runs from the last ball of the game.


The local hospitality was superb and the delightful setting was appreciated by all. The post match BBQ was a treat and again thanks to the local hospitality was a treat The Ashes were duly handed over to Aust and celebrations carried on into the night.

June 25

Game 4 at Newport.   


Aust 135. Dungey 27; Johns 28; Fricke 17 and Boyd 17. Rudge 2/14; Roper 3/22; Mucky 3/27 and Fairbanks 3/33.   


Newport 114. Russell 22; Mucky 26; and Williams 17. Pooley 2/12; O'Shea 3/16; Musgrove 1/13 and Fitz 2/27.

The day started as overcast but the sun soon burnt through and a sunny day carried throughout the afternoon. The low scores were indicative of a slow low bouncing pitch. The bounce was unpredicable and the outfield grass long and boundaries were few and far between.

Jan Horsley with mum, Elaine.


The low score was defended by tight bowling and fielding. Highlights included a great catch by Bruce Pooley; sensational fielding by Craig Booth and tight bowling by all bowlers including Ian Musgrove. A close call for the undefeated Aust team who worked well as a team and supported each other strongly.

Newport hospitality was again fab and greatly appreciated by the visiting team. Thanks to all for a great day. Now on to Scotland.


June 28


Game 5 at Forfar

Australia 7/140 from 35 overs. Dungey 35 ret. Johns 16. Lawrence 2/13.
Scotland 10 for 148. McKay 38 ret. McLean 21 n.o. Tucker 27. Craw 18. Scanlon 3/22. Williams 2/33. Pooley 1/1 from 4 overs.
This was the first IFCR game in Scotland and pre game speeches were fired up by wee drams of local 'gold'.
The day again started with overcast skies and persistent drizzle. Gradually the skies cleared and a sunny day arrived close to stumps. Teams were made up of 12 per team with 11 in the field. Australia were coming off 4 straight wins and  were playing a full strength team.

The field was slow with long boundaries which exacerbated the  wet conditions. Australia batted inconsistently with the exception of Lloyd Dungey who posted another not out.
In a cunning move the Scots reversed their batting order and, whilst losing wickets steadily by the time the Oz top order bowlers finished their spells, the remainder then came on strongly and reached the modest total in the last over of the day.

Post match was spectacular. Haggis mains had the Aussies somewhat nervous but in reality it was delicious. The after meal cakes were superb as were the poetry readings and tall tales and true.
The cultural day featured a visit to Glamis Castle and greeting from Dowager Countess Mary of Strathmore who was the best guide you could imagine. It is her family home. It was a really special visit. When visiting Scotland you cannot miss the beautiful scenery,ghosts and hospitality of Glamis Castle.
The entire group of tourists at Glamis Castle.

The afternoon was spent at 'Discovery' - the first purpose built ship to explore the Antarctic. Also well worth a visit. The evening was dinner and dancing at Memu's. It was a spectacular affair and we all had a ball. True hospitality and friendship bloomed here. Thank you Kerriemuir and Forfar Rotarians, friends and family.

July 1

Game 6 at Uddingston - Canny Scots foiled in battle of tactics.

Australia 3 for 227 after 35 overs. Dungey 35 ret; Scanlon 35 ret; O'Shea 35 ret; Williams 37 ret; Fricke 31 n.o. and Stephenson 19 n.o. Anyer 1/30; Kerrigan 1/30 and Fitz 1/19.
Scotland 5 for 166. Porteous 29; Robertson 35 ret; Williams 17; Stirrat 36 ret; Geddes 14. Pooley 2/24; Musgrove 1/28; Fricke 1/7; Scanlon 1/3.
A most beautiful day visited the Bothwell Castle ground today. The conditions were hot and steamy and this lead to much movement in the air and off the pitch. The undulating green top ground was the former site of mining tailings on the Bothwell Castle estate. The locals were giving advice and cheek in full measure and rumours of bringing in first grade ring-ins were rife. None of it was true but it created good pre-match tension.
The locals plan to un-nerve the visitors by transporting them firstly in a bus driven by a former racing car driver from Forfar nearly produced results many times on the highway to Hamilton and the next day we had to endure a Scotish scorcher in an un-air conditioned bus. The bus sauna actually worked to our favour by helping us lose excess weight - resulting in a sprightly team in the field.  
Australia lost the toss yet again and had to bat first. The Combined Rotary Clubs of Scotland visited the wishing well once too often with creative tactics today. The Australian bats were in control all through their innings and the Scots could not really get their game flowing. Man of match - Patrick O'Shea.
The post match meal was again a Haggis, tatties and neeps affair. The entertainment also ended up in a battle of the poets. Banjo versus Burns. The locals won hands down because they knew their yarns by heart and the raw emotion of the reader left us in no doubt that an evil plot had been foiled again by the fabulous Robbie Burns. It helped that their reader spoke in dialect and we did not have too many clues about what was said.
Thanks again to Euan and his hard working team. The hospitality has to be experienced to be believed. Thank you Scotland for the fellowship, friendship and good times.
July 7
Unfortunately it was a day of low scores and underarm bowling in the 7th tour match between the visiting Australian Rotarians and the united Soar Valley Rotarians at the Sileby Town Cricket Ground. Unfortunately rain delayed the proposed 11.30 am start of play. An early lunch was taken in the hope of clearer skies but to no avail so at 1.30 pm the game was converted into a scratch grudge match of men and women in lawn bowls at the nearby Wymeswold Bowls Club.
The teams were carefully choosen to show off the best talents of all present. Newbie bowlers were mixed with old hands and all teams showed off the biases. It was great fun to see all present helping and encouraging one another. A great afternoon was had by all.
However in the back of our minds was the ever present hope of a sunny afternoon and maybe a Twenty20 game when the ground dried out. Unfortunately when we returned to the cricket ground after bowls the rain had become even more persistant and at 4.30 pm the cricket match was officially abandoned due to dangerous and slippery ground conditions.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in fellowship and tall tales and true from previous encounters as well as predictions and counter bids about the result of the first Ashes Cricket Test due to start in Cardiff the following day. The evening was rounded out with a delighful meal and poetry readings and an array of talented local singers plus the massed Oz Team Choir belting out a stirring rendition of 'Advance Australia Fair' ably directed by Melody Musgrove. Again many thanks to all of the providers for the fine fare and hospitality.
The previous evening we had attended the local rotary club dinner at the Rokeby Manor Hotel. Coincidently it was also the venue for the Knights Templar. [Dan Brown fans will be envious] Lots of photo opportunities in the chapel, corridors and haunted bar. Rotary banners were exchanged and the evening speaker talked about a narrow boat charity and their great work for the families with terminally ill patients.
Local attractions were many including visits to the local steam train station and the narrow/long boat port. The countryside is dotted with beautiful villages and laneways with many thatch roofed houses and quaint pubs..  Thanks to Eric and Muriel Hill ...and crew.

9 July 2009
Game 8 at Alderholt

Australia 7 for 222. O'Shea 36 no; Pooley 29; Boyd 22 no; and Fitz 22 no; Brigden 19 no;
King 2/13; Cottrell 2/26; Meeke 1/21; Couchman 1/33 and Broomfield 1/15.
Fordingbridge 18 for 99.  Jackson 24 no; J Stephenson 17; Halski 17 no; and B Stephenson 14 no.
Johns 3/11; Robertson 3/12; Booth 1/19; Boyd 2/12 and Fitz 3/17.
Tour results: Australia won 6 games; lost one to Scotland in the last over and game 7 was a washout.

The last game of the tour in many ways was the most interesting and provided the major highlight of the whole tour. Michael Jackson - World IFCR Chairman - proposed a different set of rules called the 'Fellowship Rules'. Put simply everyone gets a bat and most get a bowl.  The batting team put pairs of batsmen in for 5 overs and no matter how many times they each go out – they bat for 5 overs.  Outs are penalised 5 runs - batsmen and their teams can end up in deficit. Bowlers get 3 overs each and the teams field 12. The result was a game where everyone got an opportunity to be involved and the result is in the balance with batting and wickets providing continuous action.
Tactics were quick to evolve as the competitive spirits grew and changed continuously throughout the match. Post the game many players commented that it was great fun because regardless of individual abilities everyone could get into the action. Lesser players were, by necessity, drawn into the tactics and play. Your scribe felt it was a great success that should be built on. Sometimes only those with batting and bowling skills play the major roles in a game. In this variant of cricket everyone gets a go!.
With 'Fellowship Rules' everyone is involved. Batsmen play in tandem and bowlers get mixed and the game relies on collective talents - not just a few. The rules do need a wee bit of tinkering - maybe more fielders in catching positions and less on boundaries and bowlers need to be penalised for bowling legside. That said, not a player or spectactor could be found who was not interested and involved throughout the game.
Salisbury Cathedral was built in the thirteenth century and its colossal spire reaches over one hundred and thirty metres high - the tallest in Britain. Apart from the many quaint villages, laneways and thatch cottages Fordingbridge is a neat 10 miles away from one of Britain's most iconic attractions - Stonehenge. The drive through the New Forest National Park is a delight where wild deer, pigs and horses still roam free.
We also visited the new home of the Hampshire County Cricket Club at the 'Rose Bowl'. [We might even be able to play here on the next tour] It is a purpose built cricket facility that has been home base for many Australians including Warne, Watson and Katich. Next was Portsmouth, England's biggest naval port, featuring Lord Nelson's ship 'Victory' and the King Henry 8's flagship 'Mary Rose' which had lain under the sea for over four hundred years.
Local hospitality was superb and the meals had to be experienced to be believed. The cakes are to die for - especially the lemon drizzled fantastic cake. Muchas gracias to all!
Needless to say the friendships gained will endure. Thanks to Carol and Michael Jackson and all the local hosts for fab hosting and organisation and for the warmest of welcomes and the fellowship. Can't wait for the next tour.