MCC Playing Member Joe Barrs details the latest updates on the Tour to Chile and Brazil:
Following the win v Prince of Wales Country Club, our first week of tour culminated in a visit to the stunning wine region that stretches west of Santiago.
We were given tastings at vineyards in Talagante and Melipilla, where we also enjoyed a lunch (Chilean BBQ) on the hillside. Although we had already eaten our fair share of red meat in Chile, there were no complaints with view. This was a great way to unwind and enjoy the Chilean countryside before a big weekend of cricket and coaching.
Undoubtedly, the purpose of MCC tours is focused on developing cricket around the globe. However, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that many of us are visiting countries that we’ve never been to before, and we may never be lucky enough to return. So we try to use what time we have away from cricket to take in some of the awesome sites that these countries have to offer.
The evening before our match v Peru (10.03) we met some of their players in the neighbouring hostel. They had all made the trip down from Lima (capital of Peru) for the weekend to play in a tri-series v Chile and the MCC. This is the equivalent of us travelling to Eastern Europe for an away game.
Although today the Peru squad is largely made up of expatriates from England and Australia, it is clear that with this level of commitment and passion, the local game in Peru is in good hands and has a bright future ahead. The same can be said for all the nations we visit (or play against) on this tour - whilst the ambition is to grow cricket and drive local participation, the development of the game relies on the knowledge and experience that expatriates from cricket playing nations can provide.
Match 2 v Peru Cricket (10/03/18) - MCC win by 133 runs
MCC: 208-6 (20 overs)
R. Strydom 54, K. Pearson 39, G. Thurstance 34
T. Messner 4 overs, 1 wicket, 23 runs
Peru: 75-8 (20 overs)
M. Spry 18*
M. Fowler 4 overs, 1 maiden, 2 wickets, 13 runs
D. Mulholland 1 over, 2 wickets, 4 runs
O. Uffindal 2 overs, 1 maiden, 1 wicket, 1 run
The heat was something we had slowly become accustomed to over the course of the first week, however acclimatising to playing in these conditions is a different matter. Although the dry heat of Chile didn’t have the humidity that we would face in Brazil, it was still a battle. That being said, the panoramic views of the Andes that surrounded the ground made the heat that little bit more bearable.
The captain (K. Pearson - 39) and Strydom (54) got us off to another flying start, with their 2nd opening partnership of 50+ in as many games. This laid the foundations for a late innings surge, with Thurstance (34), Mulholland (20) and Soulsby (25) all contributing. Posting a score of 208 from our 20 overs paved the way for our spinners, led by Fowler and Uffindal to restrict Peru to 75-8 from their 20 overs.
Match 3 v Chile (11/03/18) - MCC win by 57 runs
MCC: 158-6 (20 overs)
F. Taylor 49, R. Soulsby 51
I. Mir 4 overs, 2 wickets, 28 runs
J. Ingles 4 overs, 2 wickets, 28 runs
Chile: 101-10 (20 overs)
S. Singh 24, A. Shah 34
R. Bhome 4 overs, 1 maiden, 4 wickets, 19 runs
O. Uffindal 2.5 overs, 2 wickets, 20 runs
J. Barrs 3 overs, 2 wickets, 15 runs
The Chileans started strongly with the ball, taking 4 wickets in the first 10 overs. However, the MCC touring party’s two wicket-keepers knuckled down adding 107 for the 5th wicket. Richard Soulsby top scoring with 51 before he was forced to retire hurt with a side strain - our first casualty of tour. His and Fabian Taylor’s efforts led the Club to 158 from 20 overs - an admirable turnaround given the early wickets.
Although Sing and Shah got the Chile innings off to an aggressive start, as soon as they departed the MCC spinners were again able to restrict the opposition, this time led by Rohan Bhome. Despite a gutsy, counter-attacking innings from Chis Emmott late on, Chile were all out for 101 and the Freddie Brown Trophy was won by the MCC. This was the first time the two sides had played for this trophy, which gets its name from the former England cricketer and President of the MCC (1971-72), who was born in Lima and grew up in Chile.
Earlier in the day, Chile had reclaimed the Pisco Cup beating Peru in a close fought encounter. Pisco is a Brandy based spirit, the origins of which have often be fought over between Peruvians and Chileans.
It was great to get another game under our belts, however the highlight of the day was coaching Chile’s junior and women’s cricket teams earlier that morning. Led by members of the touring party, the MCC ran a training session for the national Chile Women’s squad, who will soon be departing with men’s side for Bogotá, Colombia, for the South American Cricket Championships. As you looked around the ground that morning and saw young Chileans, Las Loicas and the MCC squad members, there was a real buzz about cricket. The setting brought the MCC’s ‘Spirit of Cricket’ ethos to life.
#LasLoicas tuvieron un día increíble de cricket con MCC de @HomeOfCricket. ¡Muchas gracias por su visita y por todo! Fue un placer conocerlos #SpiritOfCricket #Cricket #WomensCricket pic.twitter.com/qZBFyhNlKF— Las Loicas Cricket Chile (@LasLoicasChile) March 12, 2018
The day was rounded off with a fantastic evening back at our hotel having a drink with both the Chile and Peru teams, which was a fitting conclusion to the Chile leg of our South American adventure.
The first leg of our Brazil tour was in São Paulo. We were greeted at the airport by Matt Featherstone. A former Kent cricketer, Matt now heads up cricket in Brazil and also plays for their national side. Matt is another fantastic example of how valuable expatriates from cricket playing nations are in helping to grow to grow the sport around the world. As well as injecting passion for the sport across the country, with his experience and knowledge of the game he is also a role model for the young Brazilians now starting to feature in the national side. Matt’s work has seen participation in cricket across Brazil grow from 50 to 1500 people over the last two years, which includes the establishment of a national ladies team.
As we left the airport we entered a cauldron of heat - if it was hot in Santiago, São Paulo was like a furnace. It is the largest city in South America and hub of business in Brazil. We had been warned to be cautious on the streets, but other than some hairy moments on the minibus, I don’t think any one of us ever felt unsafe. We were here to play two games in two days, both against the Brazilian national side at their home venue, the São Paulo Athletic Club. Having played on grass and concrete-based Astro turf in Chile, we would be on an even more challenging surface in Brazil, clay-based coconut matting.
Match 4 v Brazil (13/03/18) - MCC win by 4 runs
MCC: 98-7 (30 overs)
D. Mulholland 36
Yasar 6 overs, 3 maidens, 2 wickets, 13 runs
Surya 6 overs, 2 maidens, 2 wickets, 11 runs
Brazil: 94-10 (28.3)
K. Pearson 5.3 overs, 1 maiden, 3 wickets, 31 runs
D. Mulholland 6 overs, 1 maiden, 3 wickets, 9 runs
Heavy overnight rain meant that we had a delayed start to the game, as the clay that the coconut strip lay on needed time to dry out. This allowed us more time to become acquainted with the conditions, which can best be described as steamy... it was like a sauna. However, the temperature didn’t prove the only challenge, the coconut matting was giving next to no bounce as we began the game. My words here cannot begin to describe how difficult it was, but this is all part of the touring experience, so we did our best to take it in our stride and adapt. Strydom provided some early resistance, grafting his way to 14. However, the innings centred around runs in the middle order, with Mulholland looking quite at home on the mat, making 36 from 44 deliveries. His partnership with Evan Flowers (16 from 27 balls) proved decisive in helping the MCC reach a competitive total of 98.
Although, the MCC took wickets at regular intervals with the ball, a partnership between Ilyas and Featherstone in the middle order brought the Brazilians right into the game and within sight of victory. But late wickets from the seam duo of Mulholland and Pearson meant that the MCC recorded a narrow win, their fourth in succession.
Match 5 v Brazil (14/03/18) - MCC win by 86 runs
MCC: 138-8 (30 overs)
Mulholland 36, Soni 32
Ilyas 6 overs, 4 wickets, 32 runs
Brazil: 52-10 (15.1 overs)
Rudge 4 overs, 4 wickets, 13 runs
Uffindal 3 overs, 4 wickets, 12 runs
Our second game v Brazil was against a slightly changed XI, which saw the inclusion of two young Brazilians. These men represent the first fruit of Matt’s work around the country to development the game with young people. His long-term ambition is to establish a national team that is purely made of Brazilian men, and less reliant on the involvement of expatriates. The MCC supported Matt’s efforts by running a training session for local primary school children the morning before the game.
The training sessions that we ran here and in Chile weren’t of great length, but the underlying purpose is to inspire future participation and provide the children with additional role models to aspire to. The whole squad have been involved in coaching at some point across the two sessions, but the core coaching team fulfilled this role admirably.
Batting first, our approach on the coconut mat in this second game improved markedly. Thurstance and Soni combined at the top of the order putting on 35 for the first wicket. Their work was supported in the middle order by Taylor (23) and Mulholland (36), who helped the MCC reach a more impressive 138 from their 30 overs.
The improved performance also carried through with the ball, as Rudge and Uffindal took 4 wickets apiece to bowl Brazil out for 52 in 15.1 overs.
This game concluded our time in Sao Paolo and our matches v the Brazilian national side. Thanks to Matt Featherstone for his hospitality and support during our stay. His infectious enthusiasm for developing cricket in Brazil left us excited to see what awaits in Rio de Janeiro, the final leg on our tour.
For photos, scorecards and all the details about MCC's tour to Brazil and Chile click below.