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In a wonderful game at Caloundra on Thurs 21st May that featured 19 HT’s, HT successfully the VOP’s score of 192 in the final over.
The VOP 2015 tour group included 6 NZ HT’s who participated in 4 games throughout the week and the usual great time was had by all.
The now traditional after trophy-match gathering at the Mooloolaba Yacht Club was completed with a battle hymn from WT #10 and we all look forward to our 10th Anniversary Tour to NZ in 2016.
Dates to be notified soon, again thanks to our great NZ friends for another brilliant week and thanks to all the Aus HT’s for their efforts and support.
The advance guard of the Trundlers arrived in Queenstown on Wednesday 18 February, looking forward to another successful tour and to giving our NZ brothers some spirited competition. Several experienced Trundlers and two newbies [32 and 77] assembled to review portfolio allocations, recent form and potential disciplinary action. As they had done in 2014, #5 dispensed with his dreaded note book and reached for the Smartphone to record all HT violations, while #9 let all know that he was touring incognito and trying to stay under the radar. The presence of local Trundler Steve Fraser and the promised arrival of Bobby Masefield gave the cheerful prospect of at least having an XI to take the field for the first game of the tour. With other Trundlers arriving late for the tour and some also leaving early, there was understandable concern about the cohesion of the touring party and our ability to be competitive on the field of battle…
Thursday 19 Feb. Game 1: vs Millbrook CC at Millbrook Oval, Arrowtown
We arrived to the welcome sight of MCC’s new clubhouse and the fringe benefit of toilets, as well as the usual green pitch and a cloudless blue sky. Trundlers batted first and were soon in trouble, #9 clipping a ball firmly off his pads to find it brilliantly caught at short fine leg for the first duck of the tour. Tricksta began his Trundlers career by retiring and returning later for an assured 37. Unfortunately the rest of our batting did not reach that standard; only Bobby Masefield , Captain Spalding  and Whispering Ted  reached double figures as we succumbed in the 37th over for an obviously inadequate 136, the innings wrecked by the unlikely guile of Fraser Skinner. Millbrook felt that this was such an easy target that they revised their batting order and were soon in a worse situation than the Trundlers. Whispering Ted took three wickets in four balls to reduce Millbrook to 3-9, then they were 4-20 when Ace chipped in and 5-37 as Bobby Masefield joined the party. After 20 overs, they were 5-55 with the game still in the balance. Solid batting by Watts, Harry Sheehy and Herron saw Millbrook safely to the target with two overs to spare. Though clearly second-best on the day, we felt that we had made Millbrook work for their win
Millbrook 6-137 [Watts 31*, H. Sheehy 30*, Herron 24*, WT 3-20, Bobby 1-13, Ace 1-15] defeated Honest Trundlers 136 [Tricksta 37, Bobby 28, Stu 26]
Friday 20 Feb. Game 2: vs Millbrook CC at Queenstown Events Centre
After the spirited reply in the first game, the Trundlers were looking forward to tackling Millbrook on the turf wicket at the Events Centre, where we have traditionally given them a tougher game. The MCC have never looked as secure on turf as they do on their artificial wicket. So it was to prove again. Ace removed Harry Sheehy early, thanks to a sharp catch in the gully by Harmy, and Millbrook were always struggling after that early setback. Only Ross and the injured, limping Fraser Skinner reached the thirties to give their score some respectability. Good tight spells by Ace [1-9], Steve Fraser [1-6] and recruit-for-the-day Greg Douglas [1-17] were outshone by a devastating spell from Bobby Masefield, who wrapped up the innings in the 40th over to finish with 4-16. While 155 might have looked a competitive total on turf, the Trundlers reply was kicked off by a brilliant opening partnership between Tricksta and the captain, both reaching the retiring score. Left Hand Magic and Steve Fraser continued the untroubled progress. After both were retired early, Brewery and Greg Douglas cruised to the target score in the 34th over, completing a remarkable win for the Trundlers without losing a wicket: a truly historic occasion, celebrated on the grassy surrounds before we left Queenstown for the road north-east.
Honest Trundlers 0-156 [Tricksta 35*, Stu 30*, Fraser 25*, LHM 24*] defeated Millbrook 155 [Ross 37, Skinner 30*, Bobby 4-12, Fraser 1-6, Ace 1-9]
Saturday 21 Feb. Game 3: vs Otematata Eagles
Instead of the usual flight transfer to Christchurch, the Trundlers went by bus after the second Millbrook game to the small town of Otematata, arriving in time for a meal at the local hotel but not in time to catch the very early end to New Zealand’s World Cup match against England. The local club allowed us to see a replay and enjoy the sight of Steve Finn conceding 49 in two overs. Reinforcements to the squad had arrived, with Phil Harris and Peter Watt having flown in and driven from Christchurch to meet us at the hotel. The Saturday game against Otematata Eagles was played under the local rules; each batsman faced 17 deliveries, with 5 deducted from the score for each dismissal. Trundlers batted first and coped well with the uncertain bounce of the local pitch to score 213 with Phil 31, Tricksta 30, Watty 24 and Theo 22 leading the way. After a great lunch, Trundlers took to the field and had little trouble restricting the local lads to a total of 133, with a highest score of 27 and a lowest of -8. Brewery and Harmy each took two wickets. Grateful to have survived a field of unusually variable bounce, the Trundlers headed for Christchurch to be joined by further reinforcements: Saint, Brad, Orfy and Hoggy were all waiting when we reached the traditional motel which was to be our base for the next few days.
Sunday 22 Feb. Game 4: vs Valley of Peace
We recalled that last year on this day, rain had greeted the Trundlers as we looked glumly out from breakfast, so cricket had looked unlikely. On that occasion, the Valley team had worked assiduously to enable a late start and a 40-over game. While the field was again damp this year, the weather cleared to allow the full 50 overs to be played. Commander Banks and The Jockey began in circumspect manner against the oldest opening attack in world cricket, nudging Ace and Ted around for 24 from the first 10 overs. Wickets then fell regularly as all the Trundlers bowlers managed tidy spells. A youthful John Davidson threatened to take the match out of reach with a hard-hitting 77 before he was invited to retire by Bobby Masefield, who had quickly swapped sides to be the Valley captain for the day. The total of 199 looked a challenge even before Jeff Olsen bowled a very tidy opening spell for Valley of Peace. Trundlers wickets fell regularly: 1-18, 2-36, 3-51, 4-75. With the top four back in the shed, things were not looking bright, but then Brad and Saint combined for a masterly century partnership. When Saint holed out for a rapid-fire 64, Jeff Olsen returned to the attack and made life very difficult for the lower order. Brad remained solidly in control for an undefeated 53, so he and Theo were able to see us to the target in the 49th over. The ANZAC Trophy was handed over in front of the Valley clubhouse to complete a very satisfactory day, after which the two teams headed into town for the traditional after-match formalities.
Honest Trundlers 6-201 [Saint 64, Brad 53*, Watt 21, Olsen 3-9 off 8 overs!] defeated Valley of Peace 8-199 [J. Davidson 77*, Jones 35, Banks 23, Orfy 2-29, Ace 1-9, Brewery 1-18, LHM 1-20]
Monday 23 Feb. Game 5: vs Heathcote CC
The team was in good heart as we headed off for the Broken Inn Trophy match at Heathcote. The pitch was soft and Heathcote struggled against a probing opening spell from Dr Orford, but as has happened on more than one occasion, JG cruised to the retiring score of 50. Equally predictably, Phil Harris playing against us also chimed in with a solid half-century. After Roger was run out for 21, we thought we had restricted Heathcote to a reasonable total, but big Alf Smit smashed the late overs to all points of the compass in a rapid 33 n.o. marked by a huge six onto the roof of the two-storey pavilion. Anchored by a solid undefeated half-century from the skipper, the Trundlers struggled valiantly to reach the target. Magic stroked a solid 29 and Harmy brought the crowd to its feet and Alf Smit to the brink of apoplexy with a quickfire 24 n.o. but good bowling from Kit Chambers saw Heathcote in control, Trundlers finishing 14 runs short. So the match saw the return of the BIT Trophy to Heatchote.
Heathcote C.C. 5-201 [Harry 54*, JG %1*, Smit 33*, Orfy 2-24, Tricksta 1-22, Brewery 1-24] defeated Honest Trundlers 5-187 [Stu 52*, LHM 29, Harmy 24*, Chambers 2-17, Poole 2-22, Needle 1-8]
Tuesday 24 Feb. Game 6: vs Goatherders at Diamond Harbour
We had learned last year that it is not much easier to take on the Akaroa Goatherders on the turf at Diamond Harbour than to play them on their own ground, but this game proved to be historic. The ‘herders batted first and were rocked by an excellent opening spell from #61 and #23, who took one early wicket each to have the innings reeling at 2-5. Dr Orford’s figures from his opening spell were 2-13. With Brewery and Stu chipping in, the Goatherders innings slumped to 5-45. As always seems to be the case, the later batsmen asserted their authority, clubbing 29 from Brad’s last two overs to take the score to a respectable 8-184. The HT response was always about the required run rate, with solid contributions from Tricksta , Saint , Brad  and an important 23 from Orfy to complete an outstanding all-round performance. Wickets fell regularly and Stuart returned after retiring to steer us home in the last over, helped by an undisciplined overthrow and a wild delivery from the ‘herders final bowler. It was an exciting finish to an excellent game of cricket, with the rare sight of a Battle Hymn in the presence of Akaroa Goatherders ending the day.
Honest Trundlers 9-185 [Stu 34*, Tricksta 29, Brad 25, Orfy 23] defeated Akaroa Goatherders 8-184 [Orfy 2-13, Stu 2-24, Brewery 1-8]
Wednesday 25 Feb. Game 7: vs Goatherders at Akaroa
The ‘herders batted first on their familiar artificial wicket and blasted off from the start, but history was again made when Pointer skied Brad to safe hands in the covers for only 5. With guest Ralph working up a good pace at the other end, a second wicket fell with only 23 on the board. As usual, this early setback did not worry the Goatherders, with John Masefield soon slamming the ball to the boundary and our hosts reaching a solid 2-116 in their first 20 overs. In response, Stu got an assured 20 and Phil Harris was on this occasion successful in HT colours, reaching the retiring score of 30. At the lunch break the match was evenly poised, with the Trundlers 3-117 after our 20 overs. The Goatherders continued to paste the ball to all points of the compass in their second turn at the crease, only being pegged back by a very tidy spell of off-spin from Steve Fraser [3-38] and a burst of speed from Ralph at the close of the innings, with the innings ending in the 40th over with an imposing 269 on the board. We did see the unlikely sight of Bobby Masefield dismissed without scoring! With a daunting target of 153 to win from the last 20 overs, the Trundlers were struggling against tidy bowling and characteristically competitive fielding to be 6-206 after 32 overs, when the retired batsmen started to come back to the crease. This was the turning point of the match, as Brad [68 n.o.] and Steve Fraser [50 n.o.] smashed the required 65 runs in less than seven overs to take the Trundlers to a famous victory in the 39th over. After the usual cheery reflections with our hosts, both teams adjourned to La Thai for a spectacular Asian banquet organised in characteristic style by #53.
Honest Trundlers 6-271 [Brad 68*, Steve 50*, Ralph 34*, Phil 33*, Bobby Masefield 3-46] defeated Akaroa Goatherders 269 [J. Masefield 44, Steve 3-38, Brad 2-25, Ralph 2-29, Ace 1-12]
Thursday 26 Feb. Game 8: ANZAC match: Magical Mystery XI vs Harmy’s Jungle XI
The now traditional ANZAC fixture began with Ace leading a reflection on the history of the formation of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps almost a hundred years ago, the recitation of the Ode to the Fallen and a minute’s silence in respect for those original ANZACs who lost their lives.
The organising group had divided those assembled into two teams which they believed would be evenly matched, the Magical Mystery XI under the guidance of #9 facing Harmy’s Jungle XI – as it had turned out last year, the judgement of the organisers was dramatically vindicated when the game came down to the last over on an amazing day which saw over 600 runs scored. On a day when bat dominated ball, the Magical Mystery XI batted first and raked up an impressive 4-318. Tricksta, Jockey, Roly, Brad and Theo all retired, with Tricksta and Jockey returning to retire a second time with 50s. Saint 1-22] and Harmy [1-36] were the only bowlers keen to talk about their figures. In reply, Harmy’s Jungle XI scaled the mountain and reached the implausible target in the 40th over. Steve Fraser, Phil Harris, Jeff Olsen, Bobby Masefield, Stuart and Saint [filling in for WT who had gone lame] all retired, with the first three returning to retire a second time with 50s. The Jungle XI timed the run chase to perfection. Brewery had the impressive figures of 2-24, but most other bowlers were looking for somewhere to hide on a day when the Jockey [1-44] and Roly [1-47] were the best of the rest. All agreed that cricket had again been the winner.
Harmy’s Jungle XI 5-321 [ Steve 51*, Phil 51*, Jeff Olsen 50*, Bobby 39*, Saint as WT 35*, Stu 32, Brewery 2-14] defeated Magical Mystery XI 4-318 [ Tricksta 50*, Jockey 50*, Brad 39*, Roly 35*, Theo 32*, Saint 1-22, Harmy 1-36]
After the usual post-match formalities, Trundlers showered and changed into blazers and ties for the traditional end-of-tour dinner, again this year at Bully Hayes. Most of the Australian Trundlers were still in a state of shock caused by the unprecedented success on the field, with five victories and two narrow defeats in the seven games before the ANZAC match. There were many reflections on the tour, tour medallions were presented, mini-bats distributed and it was announced that the democratic process had made the popular choice of Left Hand Magic #9 as Man of the Tour. The evening concluded with the traditional singing of the Battle Hymn of the Honest Trundlers to wind up another wonderful tour, the ninth visit to the South Island. All present expressed their enthusiasm to return for the historic tenth anniversary tour in 2016.
Congratulations to #9 for being awarded the prestigious Man of Tour trophy at the conclusion of HTNZ 2015, fittingly our 9th Christchurch tour.
A highly valued all-round contributor to every tour group, #9 delivered with outstanding left-handed performances on the field and in numerous portfolios.
In an emotional acceptance speech after being presented the trophy by #15 as the current holder, he acknowledged:
- his parents for his left handedness advantage,
- his fellow “Brotherhood” members (although there are no official records of who they are)
- his numerous 0.5s for teaching him so much about the value of undertaking full tours,
- his teammates for entertaining his many hard to understand theories such as Flat Management, Marcoola Solution(s) and Swami Pooff Blessings to name a few.
We await his return to the crease after an extended NZ adventure or even misadventure. Congratulations again from all HTNZ 2015 Tourists.
Go left and….go in peace.