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Netherlands diary

MCC Women's player Abi Carter kept a diary from MCC Women's Tour of the Netherlands...

16 July 2012

The Dutch, as everyone knows, have a history of iconic sports kits. Think of Johan Cryuff strutting his stuff in the white and red of Ajax, or Dennis Bergkamp imperious dressed head to toe orange. Well with MCC Women they may have met their match.

It would not be hyperbolic to describe the 2012 touring team to the (mainly rainy) city of Utrecht as looking simply resplendent as they gathered in their blazers at an ungodly hour at Heathrow on Monday morning. It turns out navy polyester can be classy so long as it has an egg and bacon trim. And gold MCC monogrammed buttons.

Clearly the hordes at Heathrow were blown away by the vision they were confronted with. This gave Lucy “Cilla” Turner a welcome chance to try out some one-liners on unsuspecting fellow travellers – unfortunately, given those lines seemed to revolve around Beth Wild’s England Academy career they met with little success, but we applaud her efforts. Lucy knows a thing or two about small talk thanks to her time on Blind Date, where her combination of winning personality and smile “won” her a trip to Cork with nine members of an ITV film crew. Lucky lady.

Anyway, once ensconced in a wet Utrecht, MCC did what any self-respecting cricket team should do and went to look at the pitch which we’ll be playing on during the week at Kampong CC. We looked with furrowed brows at the heavens, we inspected the covers, we squelched sadly on the artificial nets…and we trooped back to the Pavilion to practise our off drives.

Tomorrow, amazingly, it is supposed to stop raining. Whether any of us can actually remember which end of a bat to hold or even how just to deliver a well-paced throw down are the questions on all of our lips…we wait with bated breath…

8 July 2012

Cricket, as we know, is the most individual of team sports. One sparkling innings, one gravity-defying catch, one destructive spell by one of the eleven can win a team a match. It is, therefore, normal practice to give the man of the match award to the most outstanding individual from a team.

Consider then, yesterday’s MCC encounter with the KNCB XI – a great bunch of ladies who we look forward to seeing again. MCC won by 10 wickets; Rachel Bellamy took 3-10 from seven overs; Laura Boorman top-scored for the Club with 36* at better than run a ball; Beth Wild dropped two catches. Beth Wild won man of the match.

Now, there could be two reasons for this. One could be that they gave her the award out of sheer pity. After all, someone who can negotiate three years at Oxford and still be found to comment, on talking about a certain Van Gogh masterpiece, “that famous Monet painting, the sunglasses” probably deserves a reasonable degree of leeway. The other, more likely explanation, is that “Beth Wild” was the only name the KNCB knew after her relentless self-publicity campaign before the tour, in which she sent a press release to UK and Dutch media mentioning herself in the first line. Beth has clearly forged a successful cricket career using these tactics, and it’s something we can all learn from.

If Beth Wild is a name we will not forget in a hurry, the same also goes for Rut Bailey. Rut is more usually known as Ruth, what with Ruth being a relatively common name. However on inspecting the team’s email list we discovered that she had been unable to use her full name for her email address because “all the Hs had run out”. Exactly how “Hs” run out from the internet is something we’re not clear on, but, irrespective of the extraordinary logic behind it, Rut Bailey is here to stay.

19 July 2012

After the excitement of actually playing a cricket match on Tuesday, the season reverted to type on Thursday as the MCC and Dutch Women’s teams looked forlornly out to drizzle, then showers and finally torrents of rain at Kampong CC.

Our “ODI” and most high profile match of the tour was washed out before one could even say “onzedelijk”, and instead we were forced to eat and congratulate ourselves on yet another excellent exhibition of warm up football and dynamic stretching. Indeed Georgie Adcock’s heading technique in her old school MCC baggy cap was a sight to behold – all the best players keep their eyes closed.
Yesterday the sun shone brightly but there was no game scheduled and it was instead became “Jen’s Day” as our Level 3 coach Jen Laycock put Dutch youngsters through their paces. Jen did her Level 3 in her final year at university which I think, technically, makes her rather advanced. The fact she was able to pass on any information at all with the hindrance of her team-mates “helping” was all the more impressive.

Tomorrow is the final full day of the tour and we have two T20s against The Netherlands scheduled. With Bradley Wiggins two minutes ahead in the Tour de France, we hope to show him just how to complete a famous victory on foreign soil…before then, we have to just make sure none of us die on one of Utrecht’s many perilous cycle paths – which are often cunningly disguised as pavements.

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