KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
Founded in 1787, Marylebone Cricket Club is the most active and famous cricket club in the world and owner of Lord's Cricket Ground - the Home of Cricket.
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Following our game against Singapore at their national stadium, our attention turned to a crucial aspect of touring with the club, as we took a coaching session with young cricketers from the Singapore Cricket Association.
To spread the spirit of the game is something that all of the boys found extremely rewarding. The talent shown throughout the entire session - including fielding games, nets, and a classic running between the wickets competition at the end was simply outstanding, and the future certainly looks bright for Singapore cricket.
Manager Bob Baxter, who has been crucial in promoting the trip within the community, presented the boys and girls with gifts from Lord’s and spoke motivationally about the importance of their development and their pathway in cricket.
The following day was a fixture that everyone had been looking forward to since the touring programme was announced - the opportunity to play at the famous and picturesque Singapore Cricket Club, set amongst the impressive skyscrapers of the Singapore CBD.
For the first time on the trip, captain Mark Chilton won the toss, and we chose to bat first. Openers Ed Ballard and Reinhardt Strydom got the innings off to a rapid start, with Strydom making fifty as he struck the ball to all parts of the ground.
Despite having to regroup after a few wickets, the experienced pair of Chilton and Jonathan McLean got the scoreboard racing once again, both also making half centuries as we finished with our highest score of the tour - 307 from our 50 overs.
The start to our bowling showed just how much the tour had taken out of us, but feisty opening bowler Harry Horsley took two wickets in two balls to lift our spirits.
As the burning sun continued over the ground, Singapore’s guest batsman and MCC tourist Ed Kilbee (great idea captain) started to put us to the sword, smashing our bowling to all parts.
The friendships made, stories and experiences shared between the gentlemen representing MCC on tour are so very special
Kilbee bought up a fantastic century before he was crucially removed by Andrew Clarke, who also took the wicket of the SCC captain who was also set with victory in sight (though he looked very relieved to get back to the pavilion as cramp set in).
With all the bowlers playing their part and the fielders providing some excellent work too - the game was on a knife edge.
Needing 17 from the final over, captain Chilton had a tough decision to make - should he go with the pace off option of Ballard or the experience of Luke Jarvis?
In the end Jarvis was thrown the ball - a decision we may have regretted once the first ball was nicked for four, but Luke gave us a special finish as he held his nerve to close the game out, giving us our second victory on tour.
We were treated as royalty from when we first arrived in Singapore, and this fixture was no exception. Following the game SCC put on an incredible dinner, with guest speeches and a drop of red, the evening was a fantastic success. A special thanks must go to all of those involved at SCC for making it such a memorable evening.
After a very long journey home I am reminded of the lyrics of our strangely acquired tour song ‘Emily's Song’ by the Moody Blues - "the rivers of endless tides have passed beneath my feet, and all too soon they have me standing on my own."
The friendships made, stories and experiences shared between the gentlemen representing MCC on tour are so very special. They are remembered for a lifetime and every now and again they are shared over a glass of Pimm’s in the Harris Garden on a summer’s evening at HQ.
To all my fellow tourists I am sure you will look back on our two weeks together in the years to come with great affection. They say ‘life is not simply about the amount of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away’, and there were a few moments from this tour that certainly did that.