A 7:00am meet at Lord’s meant several tourists arrived somewhat bleary-eyed for the traditional receipt of kit and team photo ahead of the tour to Finland.
Individual profile shots on the away team balcony gave the more photogenic members of the squad an opportunity to offer their best pose for the camera, with the photographer commendably keeping a straight face while the rest of us did our best to pose.
After our photos were taken came kit swaps, and once our larger waist sizes were obtained we were ready for the off. Despite a delay at Heathrow, where we had to change planes, we arrived safely in Helsinki ready for the challenges ahead.
On the tour we’ll be playing four matches - with a T20 first, followed by a forty-over game, a fifty-over match, and finally another T20 to finish. The average age of the touring squad is well into the forties, so our 'unofficial' physio will no doubt be kept busy dispensing ibuprofen, strapping up aching joints, and massaging our limbs into some sort of working order after each match!
Once our larger waist sizes were obtained we were ready for the off
After a squad meal and a few drinks on Thursday evening, we were ready for our first match of the tour on the Friday - a T20 against the Finnish national side. We were very slow out of the blocks, and the Finns greater experience of the T20 format told.
Agressive batting from their opening pair showed the MCC total of just over 100 to be well below par, with Finland knocking off the runs for the loss of just two wickets.
The post match curry laid on by Cricket Finland was enjoyed by all and we were honoured to be joined by former MCC President and England captain Mike Brearley for the meal.
Despite the generous hospitality, we set off for an early night due to an 8:00am departure ahead of our second game, which will be a forty-over clash against the Cricket Finland Chairman’s XI, and we’re all desperate to get our first win under our belts.