The touring party flew into Christchurch from various places on the afternoon of Wednesday February 21, an unusually late start to the tour to allow Rowdy 61 to celebrate his half-century with his family before coming to NZ. Toru and Harmy were already in the South Island, having walked the Kepler Track before the tour. They were joined by numbers 5, 9, 10, 11, 18, 30, 41, 45 and 61 to make a bare eleven, leaving no room for the injuries some tourists were alleged to be carrying. Portfolios were allocated and the team transferred to the Ashford motel for just the first night. The wet weather which had hit the South Island the previous day was still around, so prospects for the following day did not look bright.
Thursday 22 February Game 1 vs Akaroa Goatherders at Little River, a 30 over game after rain made Diamond Harbour unplayable and delayed the start after transferring the fixture to Little River and waiting for the rain to stop. The two captains initially agreed to play a 25-over game, then revised the plan when the weather brightened.
Akaroa Goatherders batted first and after a slow start against tidy bowling, accelerated in the later overs to reach a competitive total of 5-177. Rowdy started the tour well with the ball, bowling a consistent length with good shape to snare two early wickets. When we batted, Magic, Brewery and Brindle all reached the retiring score of 25, but we gradually fell behind the required run rate after Saint was run out for 14. Harmy and Dax both achieved second-ball ducks, Harmy being bowled and Dax falling to a spectacular diving catch by Pinky. The innings ended quietly when Ace was left by an irresponsible Ted to face the last four balls, but he nudged a single to avoid competing with Harmy and Dax for the two available duck shirts.
Goatherders 7-177 (Orford 2-16, Dax 1-20, Stu 1-18, Harmy 1-16, Saint 1-10)
HT 6-114 (Magic 25 no, Brewery 25 no, Brindle 25 no, Saint 14, Toru 13 no)
Friday 23 Feb game 2 vs Akaroa Goatherders at Akaroa
There was a minor rearrangement of players before the game, with Harmy and Dutch joining the Herders in return for TJ and the promised later arrival of Pointer. The highlight of this match was a great start by Rowdy, three wickets in a five over opening spell with two catches dropped. This match-winning effort set the locals back on their heels, with three wickets down for 14. The Herders limped to a shaky 6-90 after 20 overs. The Trundlers had the worst possible start, Brewery caught behind from the first ball of the innings for a royal duck. Steady bowling and keen fielding saw us 5-82 after 20 overs at the lunch break, with our guest TJ Masefield having retired.
The Herders rallied after lunch with Dutchie retiring and solid contributions from the tail before the innings was ended by a good spells from Jason and a last wicket to Brewery. Saint took a second good catch at extra cover. Hopes were high for a rare victory at Akaroa, with Trundlers needing just 63 from 20 with wickets in hand. The locals fought back strongly and we lost wickets, with our captain shouldering arms to lose his off stump and see us a precarious 7-87. With only TJ in the shed, Ted joined Jason for a solid partnership that took us to the brink of victory when Jason retired with the score 135. Team-mates were startled to see them run four twos in one over. After Magic holed out to give Harmy a well-earned wicket, TJ returned with only 7 needed from three overs. He hit a six to tie the scores. Ted was then stumped trying to hit the winning run, bringing Jason back to join TJ as the last pair with one run needed. As a limp end to the match, Harmy bowled a wide to take the Trundlers to a rare win at Akaroa. Ted was awarded a cake of goat soap for his effort with the bat.
Goatherders 144 (Rowdy 3-17, JT 2-12, Jason 3-18, Magic 1-19)
Honest Trundlers 9-145 (JT 30 n.o. Jason 30 n.o.)
Saturday 24 Feb ANZAC match Harmy’s team vs Jiff’s team
With depleted numbers, the annual ANZAC match was a nine-a-side 35-over fixture. Harmy’s side batted first and made a confident start. The innings was dominated by the locals with Hubert, Roly and Gordon Fulton all retiring. Magic was left cold by Harmy to be run out for a duck, seeing the two in line for a rare double-entry on the duck shirt and Harmy awarded goose of the day. Jiff’s team chased the total confidently after Dutchie was out for a duck to leave the score 1-1. Hamish and Saint put the innings on a solid basis, then Jiff and Toru both retired. When Ted was out to a stunning catch by Hubert from Magic’s gentle outswinger, Saint returned to join Brewery. With four needed from the last over, Saint smashed the first ball to the boundary to bring Jiff’s team home. It ended a famous run of victories by the Jungle XI, guided to four consecutive wins by Harmy.
Harmy’s team 7-177 (Hubert 37, Roly 33, Gordon 31 no, Dax 31 no, Harmy 13, Saint 2-29, Toru 3-29)
Jiff’s team 5-179 (Hamish 33, Saint 34 no, Jiff 31 no, Toru 30 no, Brewery 13 no, Magic 1-20, Gordon 1-20, Jason 1-25, Rowdy 1-29)
Sunday 25 February Game 4 vs Valley of Peace
A fine morning greeted us on arrival at the famous ground. It was agreed that the traditional 50-over match would be played in 25-over quarters. Valley batted first and Ted bowled his usual opening spell, then Rowdy from the other end struck to break the opening partnership. A smart catch by Saint removed the dangerous Bob Masefield, but the other opener was still there at the end of the 25 overs with Valley 4-99. The highlight of the morning session was a spectacular leaping one-handed catch by Saint, now our go-to man for the crucial extra cover position. Tricksta and Magic gave Trundlers a good start until Magic lost his off stump. Toru joined Tricksta for the best partnership of the innings, ended when Tricksta departed for a solid 38. At lunch, we were well placed at 3-83. After the usual sumptuous Valley lunch, the hosts cracked on against some fielding showing the effects of a 50-over game to reach 8-215. The target of 133 from 25 overs was always daunting under the unique Valley scoring system. Toru departed for a brisk 34 and wickets fell regularly to the crafty spin attack and solid fielding of our hosts. After Gordon Fulton and Valley captain Brent both took catches going over the boundary to give us four runs, Brent took a great diving catch to remove Dutchie, who had hit Bob Masefield over the top three times already in that over. When all seemed lost, Brewery joined Rowdy for a hard-hitting partnership that took us to the brink of a famous win. In the end, the task was just a bit too much and we fell ten runs short in an exciting finish. Valley took the trophy to make the overall record 11-10 in this very even series.
Valley of Peace 7-215 (Dax 2-23, Ace 1-26, Rowdy 1-31, Ted 1-31, Toru 1-30)
Honest Trundlers 8-205 (Tricksta 38, Toru 34, Brewery 30 no, Rowdy 32 no, Dutchie 22)
Monday 26 February Game 5 vs Heathcote
Steady rain greeted us on a bleak Monday morning. It was agreed to delay our departure for Heathcote until 11 a.m. in the hope it might be possible to play a shortened match on a synthetic pitch. The outcome was a 35 over match with each team to bat first for 20 overs, then 15. With twelve players available, Ted was rested and shared umpiring duties with Phil Harris.
Heathcote was rocked by two early wickets to Rowdy to be 2-11, then KC chipped in to see them 4-28 and Trundlers right on top. JG and Grunter both retired to steady the ship, then Ron was out on the last ball of the 20th over to see them 5-77. Trundlers lost Tricksta, Rowdy, Burgundy and Harmy to be 4-26 in the 13th, then also lost KC to be 5-80 after 20, meaning the game was evenly poised. Heathcote continued to struggle in their second session until Grunter and JG returned, with JG hitting two sixes from the last two balls to spoil Ace’s otherwise impressive figures and end the innings at 9-161. Our chase wobbled with Dutchie and Brewery both getting ducks and Dax only 1. Some hard hitting by Magic, Saint and Toru took us to within four runs, but Heathcote were the deserving winners. Both teams returned to the Heathcote clubhouse for after-match formalities and a catch-up fines session which dramatically boosted the tour coffers.
Heathcote Travellers 9-161 (JG 47 no, Grunter 36 no, KC 2-6 off 6, Ace 3-29, Rowdy 2-18, Dax 2-9)
HT 8-157 (Saint 35 no, Toru 28 no, Magic 37 no, Burgundy 14, Theo 0, Brewery 0)
Tuesday 27 February. Game 6 vs Swannanoa Cricket Club
As is their usual custom, Swannanoa greeted us with the local school children singing both national anthems, followed this year by a Maori song of greeting before the match began.
HT took the field and Swannanoa were rocked by two early wickets to be 2-1, with Ace and Toru both having success in their first overs, Ace seeing a smart stumping by Tricksta and Toru provoking the number three to chip a catch to Dutchie. Swannanoa dug in to be 3-82 after 20 overs. HT responded with a very solid start from Magic and Tricksta, both retiring. Burgundy’s wicket was the only one to fall in the pre-lunch session, seeing HT a strong 1-94 after 20 overs. After a sumptuous lunch in the village hall, Swannanoa attacked the bowling and cracked on to be 5-224 after 40 overs, with Jiff leading the way with a hard-hitting captain’s knock. Set a daunting target of 131 from 20 overs, all the HT batsmen played aggressively. Dutchie and Dax both powered to the retirement score. Brewery departed to the rare sight of an LBW decision on a Trundlers tour, but that was the only dismissal in the second half of the innings. With Toru and Saint at the crease, we powered home in the 39th over for our first ever win at Swannanoa.
Swannanoa 5-224 (Jiff 30 no, Ace 2-18, Toru 2-29, Rowdy 1-24)
HT 3-225 (Tricksta 31 no, Magic 32 no, Dutchie 33 no, Dax 32 no, Toru 26 no, Brewery 25, Saint 12 no, Burgundy 14, Rowdy 13)
Wednesday 28 February, the team farewelled Tricksta and Rowdy who flew out in the early hours. The remaining tourists caught a flight to Queenstown where we were joined by number 6, Lance Tegg aka Forgetalot. We drove in two buses to the small town of Naseby, via a lunch stop in Clyde. After checking in to the three cottages where we were to stay for two nights, we donned warm clothing and went to the Maniototo ice rink to try the peculiar sport of curling. After mostly demonstrating our incompetence on the ice and seeing number 6 hit the deck as we tried to organise a group photo, we returned to the Ancient Briton for a very fine evening meal.
Thursday 1 March game 7 vs Naseby cricket club/ Maniototo Cavaliers
This new fixture was against the local team on their small ground in the centre of the town, with a synthetic pitch. A 1 p.m. start was arranged for a 40-over match. Magic and Saint gave us a solid start, with Saint going on to reach the retiring score. After bright contributions from Dax and Harmy, Stuart was joined by a returning Saint to accelerate the scoring. We closed with what looked like a competitive 9-162. Naseby lost two early wickets to Magic and Ace, both bowled playing across the line, to give the Trundlers a sniff. However, the other batsmen also hit across the line to devastating effect. The remaining opener thumped three sixes from one over to see Naseby 60 after only six overs, and the carnage continued with following batsmen smashing six after six; one bounced over a fence into a house fifty yards beyond the boundary, another landed in the post office across the road, and a couple threatened spectators well away from the field. Jason picked up two wickets and Dax one, but the runs just kept flowing. The target was reached in only twenty overs, with rain starting to fall just as the teams shared after-match beers. The teams then repaired to the Ancient Briton, where conviviality ensued until late in the night.
Honest Trundlers 9-163 (Saint 46 no, Toru 29no, Harmy 26)
Naseby 5-164 (Jason 2-28, Dax 1-28, Ace 1-36)
Friday 2 March
The scheduled game against Central Otago Wanderers was a victim of the overnight rain, reducing the urgency to get under way for the team to be cycling the Central Otago Rail Trail. We transferred to Rainfurly for breakfast and provisioning, then assembled at Wedderburn to be equipped with cycles, helmets and torches for the expedition. Most of the group pedalled to Omakau, with a few opting out at Lauder and going by bus via the historic town of Ophir and a scarily ancient bridge to the arranged lunch in the Commercial Hotel. No injuries were reported, the lunch was enjoyed and the team moved back to Lauder for our overnight accommodation. Bruce and Esmee accommodated us in the converted school, and Bruce brought out his ukulele for an impromptu music session. The team strolled across the road for dinner in the Lauder Hotel.
Saturday 3 March
The team went back to Queenstown to return the hired buses, then take the Super Shuttle to Peppers for the final two nights of the tour. We were startled when we passed the Frankton golf course near the airport to see golfers in various states of fancy dress and almost complete undress; we later learned that it was a charity golf event. With the more conventional New Zealand Open golf tournament in its final stages at Millbrook, the town was jumping, but a quiet night was the general approach to our traditional Arrowtown match against Millbrook Cricket Club. Dinner in My Thai had been arranged by the Saint, once again a marvellously effective night-time Captain.
Sunday 4 March Game 8 vs Millbrook at Arrowtown
Trundlers fielded first at Arrowtown and, as usual, the Millbrook batsmen attacked from the start. After Ace’s opening over went for 5, Ted took 1-11 in an action-packed first over. Magic struck in the 11th over, then Toru hit the stumps in the 14th and 20th overs to see Millbrook 4-93 at the break. The Trundlers did not bat well against an attack that was steady without being devastating to be 6-47 in the 14th over, with Dutchie earning the duck shirt for the third time on this tour. We limped to a disappointing 7-73 after the first twenty overs, making our chances very slim. Millbrook had organised caterers to bring in a wonderful lunch, complete with a pavlova the size of a small child. We waddled back onto the field and bowled like players who had enjoyed a great lunch. Magic and Brewery picked up a wicket each, then Toru struck twice, with his second wicket the unusual sight at Millbrook of an LBW decision in favour of the visitors. Ace wrapped up the innings with two late wickets to see our hosts bowled out for 203. We never looked like threatening that total after Magic departed for a bright 16. Ted joined Toru and they batted patiently to avoid the embarrassment of an early finish; the captain retired and returned soon after to be 43 not out when the innings folded in the 40th over for 147, leaving Millbrook very comfortable winners. As they were celebrating 25 years, Fraser Skinner used the occasion to present Millbrook vests to all the Trundlers.
Millbrook 203 (Toru 4-11, Magic 2-16, Ace 2-41, Brewery 1-16, Ted 1-41)
Honest Trundlers 147 (Toru 43 no, Magic 16, Ted 16, Dax 12)
The team assembled at Flames for the end-of-tour dinner. Left Hand Magic inducted Burgundy into the brotherhood, having spotted him writing with his left hand despite the fact that he bats and bowls right-handed, as well as presenting the women at the dinner with colourful silly hats and the two Trundlers suffering back problems with a Twister game. Given his contribution to the team morale, it was no surprise when Magic was a popular choice as Man of the Tour in a photo-finish ahead of the Saint.
The win-loss ratio of the tour was a disappointing 2-6 with one match washed out. The stand-out performance on the field was that of our fearless leader, the end-of-tour audit showing he had scored over 200 runs while only being dismissed twice, for a Bradmanesque average above 100, as well as picking up 11 wickets and constantly showing the way in the field. The touring group presented Stuart with a book as a small token of appreciation for his organisational efforts in an outside ceremony on the Queenstown wharf, before the traditional end-of-tour Battle Hymn concluded the evening.
It is appropriate to recognise in this report the wonderful contribution of Peter Williams to the success and enjoyability of the entire tour. A qualified and experienced first-class umpire, he controlled seven of our eight games with quiet authority. The luxury of having a traveling umpire was greatly appreciated by the whole touring party, especially by those players who usually volunteer to do that job.