The annual pilgrimage to Costa Blanca has come and gone ...

The trip has increased in popularity year on year and it was a 33 strong party that arrived at Alicante airport on Friday 6th March. The 33 was made up of an eclectic mix of young, old, talented, not-so-talented, chip shop / club / representative / international cricketers – but with one joint goal – to have a laugh. Several father-son relationships were put to the test – and most are still talking.

Loads of photos from the tour are available!


Friday – with military precision we left Woodbank, after tour shirts were allocated, at 12 noon after a fabulous breakfast (which unfortunately did not contain any of the pre-ordered items Mark Stringer demanded including Kangaroo steak, truffle, Mediterranean infused cous-cous, etc). The airport was the designated place for the all-important room draw which was actioned by ‘honest’ Steve Dearden. Many unfortunate couplings were agreed and strangers became friends – or at least ‘roomies’. The hotel had been pre-paid enabling a swift turnaround after having met several ‘full-timers’ – Pete Allen, Maurice Haslam, Derek Read etc. Benidorm, funnily enough, was just the same as other tours ...

Saturday – to the cricket! With a side including several past professionals and two Lancashire juniors, we were confident if a little jaded…. With temperatures above 20 degrees and heads thumping we decided fielding was not the way forward and opted for a bat. Kieran and Harry opened and Harry quickly overcame his first ball nightmare of last year by guiding a lively delivery to the 3rd man boundary. With another 4 placed through the covers it looked as if we were to enjoy an innings of talent – but it was not to be – Harry blobbed again by trying to hit a 3rd 4 – the impetuous departure again being in the first over. Kieran was joined at the wicket By Josh Bohannan and the pair (well, Josh mostly) put on 50 before Kieran dragged on. Josh went on to score 70-odd and with Steve Dearden hitting a 50 and Simon Marsh getting his 20-odd not out – we were able to post 265-5 in our 40 overs – which some experienced tourists thought below par.And it was to prove the case – the Sporting Alfas openers put us to the sword and both achieved centuries in knocking off the required 265 in 37 overs without loss. The ten wicket victory was made almost bearable by a fabulous paella and great hospitality (yes- we drank them out of Carling again). Off to Benidorm again – and, to the shock of everyone, it was pretty much the same.

Saturday team

Sunday – The formula adopted on tour of breakfast, cricket, beer is a tried and tested one and it was no different on the 2nd team day. We played two teams (yellows / reds) against their 2nd team. In the first game of 15 overs the yellows were triumphant with good fielding (epitomised by Roy Grundy), bowling and batting. The second game saw some sloppy cricket from the reds (despite Leigh Dickinson hitting a fine 32 retired) and it was the yellows taking on SACCs 2nd team in a final of 6 overs (the light fades here as fast as Schoey makes trifle disappear). Never troubled and always with greater fire power in reserve, the yellows won to finish a great day's cricket. Off to the Wok, all you can eat Chinese and the tour was given its customary and culinary send off.

Monday – the buses, trains, planes, taxis all arrived and departed – although Kieran should learn the difference between arrivals and departures for next year – and tour ended.

Thanks to Woodbank for a fine breakfast, Kieran and Steve for organising, Sporting Alfas for the hospitality and cricket, Benidorm for not changing and all the tourists good bad and ugly – here’s to next year!


Loads of photos from the tour are available!

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