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.
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.
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.
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.