Category: Tour Report

RBCC 2023 🇬🇧 UK Tour Report

Royal Brussels CC crosses the channel on a 4-day cricket tour

After a tour hiatus for a few years, Royal Brussels CC was back on the road and travelling to the United Kingdom. Here is the tour report by our very own Nick Revill, who was there to ensure the touring party was behaving well & brought back safely!

Day 1 With military planning and precision, the cream of RBCC’s crop packed up and rolled out of Brussels, destination Kent.

Such was the commitment to the cause that our lads didn’t let the terrible weather, the dreadful traffic jams, or the hated ‘No Ball Games’ rule stop their pursuit of cricketing perfection, managing to get a game on in the Eurotunnel car park and an empty train carriage while en route.

Not for the last time on this tour, some of the umpiring was a little too enthusiastic!

Despite the congestion, eventually, all the touring party managed to make it to the rendezvous in Sevenoaks, where dinner with Kumar proved to be a delight. There was one minor hiccup when one of our leading lights managed to lock himself in the toilet for half an hour. Happily though, after a thorough explanation of the difference between ‘push’ and ‘pull’ he managed to make his escape and rejoin the rest of the party. The evening was rounded off by drinks at our hotel under the expert guidance of Tipu and Jalal.

Day 2 Our tourists woke to two of the greatest things known to mankind, sunshine and a Premier Inn breakfast. Our younger players in particular showed a real commitment to preparing in a professional manner for the matches to come.

Having feasted and rested we headed into Sevenoaks, stopping off at an impressive Ferrari showroom on the way. Sadly none of the models on offer had sufficient boot room for a cricket coffin so we declined to enter into negotiations.

Poor weather forced us to take refuge in a grand old English pub, The Anchor, for a couple of hours.

Suitably refreshed we made our way to The Vine, one of the oldest cricket grounds in the world having been established in 1734. We were immediately made welcome by our old friends.

Despite the poor weather, our hosts were kind enough to suggest a pairs game. For some of the younger members of the party, this was their first game on a grass pitch; even so, our accurate bowling and tigerish fielding restricted our hosts to a meagre score.

As we opened our innings, RBCC decided to even things up with some comical cricket of our own. Young Ollie demonstrated that it is possible to lap your partner, running out Kumar several times in the process. Arun added to the frivolity by posting an individual score of -20. The latter was particularly hard to understand because he had prepared so assiduously beforehand…

Old hands Nick and Sudh showed all their class and experience by bringing us back into contention. Williams and Adam then showed the cool heads for which they are both renowned, seeing us home by a hairs-breadth, thus ensuring a 100% success rate for guest star Pradeep

.

Joyful after-match celebrations were paused briefly for the obligatory speech by Lord Compo but the beer was soon flowing again in a marvellous celebration of cricketing fraternity.

Some hardy souls then adjourned to the Miners Arms for refreshment, others took the more traditional route of partying with Jalal and Tipu.

Our diary, being faithful to the old motto ’What goes on tour stays on tour’ must draw a veil over subsequent shenanigans…

Day 3 We woke to glorious sunshine and set off for our match at Uckfield, our opponents being a couple of solid hangovers and a scratch Fletching XI that sounded worryingly young and athletic.

Big Al, captain of the official Fun Bus, struggled to adapt to local driving conditions and, after several near misses, gave up entirely and resorted to simply nudging other vehicles off the road. No one was hurt, though it should be reported that Pride, and the van, were both dented.

The pitch at Uckfield had clearly not benefitted from the tender ministrations provided by The Vine’s professional groundsman. Frankly, it was the sort of sticky dog that gives batters nightmares.

Fletching CC batted first and were soon struggling with Adam taking early wickets. Perhaps it was over-confidence that resulted in one of our umpires calling their captain back after a first-baller but it proved to be a mistake as he went on to top score with 36.

We couldn’t possibly comment on rumours that the responsible umpire and the Fletching captain are related. It should also be noted that at one stage we had three generations of the Compton family on the pitch; the eldest and the youngest performed admirably, the middle one not so much…

Williams bowled well and Arun was electric in the field as we restricted them to 122. Surely that wouldn’t be too much of a problem?

We were then presented with one of the finest cricket teas ever seen on God’s green earth, so much so that our host, Sharon, received a standing ovation from both teams as the lot was devoured.

Matt and Sudh started our reply in sparkling form against some sprightly bowling. The dodgy pitch did its work however and when some pretty ruthless umpiring saw Dom sawn off at the knees by his mate Max, the writing was on the wall. A defiant 26 by Ollie was insufficient as RBCC fell short by 14 runs.

Any grumpiness on the part of the visitors was quickly dispelled by a visit to the nearby Griffin, a marvellous old country inn with one of the finest beer gardens in England. We were joined by our hosts for a post-match debrief, young Ben leading the way with a few quick pints of Guinness.

All too soon we had to pack up and head south to Brighton. The evening took a sour turn when Al’s bag was stolen as we checked into our hotel but we reconvened at the Ephesus restaurant and it didn’t take too long for the big man’s smile to return.

We adjourned to the Quadrant a rare ‘old man’s pub’ near the seafront but it was clear that the young pups were struggling to stand the pace.

In the end only the GOATs – you know who you are! – had the stamina to go clubbing…

Day 4 With heavy hearts, we left Brighton and headed for Rye and the picturesque Church Lane ground of Iden CC. This pitch had considerably more grass on it and the groundsman told us that the ball would carry through at a good pace; always listen to the groundsman’s children, this chap was spot on in his assessment.

We batted first and posted a solid score of 192. Ben batted beautifully for an undefeated 67 and both Dom and Tipu scored 39.

Another excellent tea confronted us but, worried that the previous day’s post-prandial lethargy had been caused by one too many vol-au-vents, mascots Nick and Al sacrificed their waistlines by hoovering up most of the cake before the players could get any…

Our bowling was excellent. Williams and Ollie were quick and straight while Jalal was absolutely in his element and virtually unplayable. Special mention also to Max who toiled up the hill, despite being ill, and bowled an excellent spell. It was all too much for Iden and even some late-order slogging could only get them to 125. In part this was also due to an excellent cameo spot at cover from all-action South African fielder Jonty Rhodes Big Al; like a sausage roll, the ball never got past him!

We got on really well with the Iden team and we dragged ourselves away with promises of a reciprocal visit ringing in our ears.

Sadly the tour was over too soon. We had an excellent trip filled with laughter and camaraderie, met some great people along the way, and played at some lovely grounds. The whole party got on well and our thanks go out to Sudh and Compo for organising everything. Our drive home was bittersweet; sad that our adventure was over but with loads of happy memories…just as it should be on every good tour.

The End…Until Next Year!

BBCA Summer Fete 2023

Annual Summer Party organised by the Brussels British Community Association at Royal Brussels CC.

Another great day at RBCC for the annual Summer Party organised by the Brussels British Community Association and sponsored by the British store Stonemanor. Over €1,000 was raised for good causes with donations going to four charities based in Belgium.

Despite the scorching heat and the temptations of the Pimm’s tent, there was also some excellent cricket to entertain the crowd, with our old friends from SHAPE taking on the might of the British Embassy. The Embassy called upon a few ringers from the Brussels Celtic rugby community; the latter group performed with commendable enthusiasm although it is fair to say that their results could best be described as mixed…

There was also some highly competitive off-pitch action under the watchful eye of MC Nick Compton. The tug-of-war, three-legged race and perennial favourite, the egg-and-spoon sprint, all caught the eye of the discerning sports fan. Appetites whetted, cakes, cream teas and burgers were all consumed in considerable quantities as the Fete drew to a close.

We are looking forward to seeing you all again at RBCC next summer!

Frankfurt Tour Report – 2018

Royal Brussels CC visits Frankfurt on tour

A party of 23 players and supporters left Brussels on Friday 31/08 to play in Frankfurt against Frankfurt Furies (Ladies) & ZVCA (Men). On arrival, we were welcomed by Chairman Compton who had arrived early to find us a good spot in the hotel bar.

The first match of the tour started in the early afternoon with RBCC Women facing off against the FCC Furies. After winning the toss, FCC Furies elected to field first. The field’s dryness along with some good batting skills allowed the RBCC batsmen to score freely, with Christina retiring at 20 in the 4th over and an excellent performance from Pascale who stayed in to demonstrate how running between wickets should be done, retiring after 18 overs in her 3rd cricket game ever. Contributions from Paromita, Sue and Maureen, who batted her first innings, ensured an excellent score of 141 after 20 overs was set.

RBCC women are all set to take on the furies

In the 2nd inning, we set the field with a plan to keep it tight and restrict wides and extras. After a close battle, FCC reached the target in the 19th over despite Tight bowling from Anya, Paromita, Pascale, Sue and Keshav.

After a long night at the bar with Chairman Compton leading the team meeting until 6:00 am, the Royal Brussels CC men’s team looked fresh & prepared to take on ZVCA apart from a few hungover heads. Although the Chairman does not recall any discussions or events after 4:00 a.m.

After a long night of strategic planning

Skipper of the day Sameel was given strict instructions from the team to win the toss & bat first as some of the players still needed some more time to prepare for the game. ZVCA won the toss & decided to put us under the sun to ensure we were completely awake by the time it was our turn to bat. The game was a 25-over affair.

Sachin & Prateek were given the responsibility to share the new ball. The opposition openers were eager to take on our bowlers and unleashed from the first over. At 50/0 in 5 overs, Brighton came on to bowl and started off gently. Having warmed up after a few deliveries, Brighton was ready to slow down proceeding and took some crucial wickets. He broke the middle stump of one of their number 3 batsman and brought it back as a souvenir. He duly signed & kissed it with red lipstick so we could display it at our clubhouse.

Brighton with him momento!

With many legends of Royal Brussels CC present in the team, things stayed under control for the rest of our bowling. Some notable bowling performances from Kumar, Jalal and Gregg. Jalal turned back the clock from his playing days with figures of 4-0-11-1. Royal Brussels CC restricted them to 147/9 in 25 overs.

In reply, Nick Compton & Sudhanshu Verma led the batting order. The opposition started off with their new South African pacer who sent the first one down the leg for a wide and after having given it some thought Sudhanshu decided to run. He earned a royal duck in return for his efforts. At number 3, Brighton Watambwa walked into the middle. The score after the first over read 22/1. With the score ticking at a healthy rate and batsmen eager to return back to the pavilion, Royal Brussels CC found themselves in a spot of bother at 100/8.

Sameel found himself batting with Jalal and took on the attack to the opposition. With a quick 20, he went for one shot too many and got bowled. Sachin & Jalal kept trying out in the middle and brought us home nearly but with too many left for the last pair to score Royal Brussels CC lost by 8 runs.

An exchange of thanks and awards followed the game. Nick Compton, Club Chairman, thanked ZVCA for their hospitality and presented their captain with a club shirt to acknowledge his efforts. ZVCA hosted a BBQ post-match to end a top day of cricket.

Having not won any games during the day, Chairman Compton summoned another team meeting at the sports bar to prepare a strategy for the next day. Having listened to our conversations, the bar decided to shut the door and we were forced to retire to our rooms early.

On Sunday, well rested after the first game and a sumptuous BBQ, RBCC Women’s won the toss. They set out to field first restricting the FCC furies to a score of 103 after 20 overs, thanks to great bowling performances and very Tight fielding that led to great catches, run-outs and wickets down. Paromita, Nicky and Zara contributed with one wicket each. They were aided in the field by run-outs and catches from Sue and Alix.

In the 2nd innings, RBCC’s batting performance allowed us to reach the target in the 13th over, with Zara retiring after a few overs, and Paromita, Nicky and Anya each showing off their batting skills.

With a relatively fresh & rested men’s squad there were only two changes from the previous game. Vincent Ching replaced Nick Compton and Jalal Syed had to sit out due to a hamstring injury. ZVCA were kind enough to provide us with extra players.

Prateek, the skipper on the day, could not bring us the joy of batting first as he forgot to use a double-sided coin. We found ourselves standing in the field but this time under cloud cover. Kumar & Sachin started this time for Royal Brussels. Kumar was excellent with the new ball swinging it both ways and finding the outside edge of their opening batsman. None of the bowlers could stop the flow of runs but kept taking regular wickets. ZVCA finished their quota of 20 overs with 167/9 on the scoreboard.

Brighton & Sudhanshu opened but could not stay together for long. Brighton was the first wicket to fall down. Having made a royal duck the previous day, Sudhanshu played carefully up until the 11th over before Jitrendriya decided to send him back halfway down the pitch. Having successfully lobbied for not having batsmen retire after scoring 30, Jitendriya kept rotating the strike with the odd boundary.

With 6 overs left and 72 runs still required Gregg Hawson walked in to join Jitendriya Swain. Having practised with Miller Hawson for 2 days in the nets during & after games he was ready to let his bat do the talking. Gregg smashed the bowlers around the park and scored a quick 20-ball 50. With 13 runs to chase down in the last over, Gregg tried to run the ball to the third man and was bowled. Royal Brussels CC came close to the finishing line but lost by 2 runs.

Brighton was thrilled to have witnessed a classical Gregg’s innings.

We were very warmly welcomed by FFCC & ZVCA and it was a very enjoyable experience for Royal Brussels CC on their first tour to Frankfurt. A special thanks to Alexander Jewell-Thomas from ZVCA for organising an entertaining weekend.

A special thanks to everyone who made it on the tour. All enjoyed an excellent weekend’s cricket. It is hoped to tour again together in 2019.