With his final blog of the China & Hong Kong Tour, Anthony Wilkinson details MCC's concluding days of the 10-day Tour.
Following on from my last blog, a well-earned rest day was spent variously by the pool, on the beach, sightseeing, or playing a round of golf with our hosts from Hong Kong CC. It is often said that winning is a habit, and it is a habit that the MCC side have been lucky enough to form and keep on the cricket pitch on this tour. However, with most of the guys having experienced a slightly more chastening evening at the Happy Valley races the night before, the team's luck off the field again failed to live up to their cricketing performances.
Having risen early to catch a ferry to the glorious Kau Sai Chau golf club, the MCC players kept pace with their opponents for much of the round, but the heat, fatigue and a collective lack of consistency with club in hand ultimately left the MCC unable to compete with HKCC, who showed their class and ended worthy winners in all three games. All, however, achieved what they had set out to - a thoroughly enjoyable day in a fantastic setting, with hosts who once again showed the sort of remarkable hospitality the MCC players had now become used to on this tour.
Friday evening brought another unique Hong Kong experience - MCC tour social secretary and Hong Kong veteran Steve Snell had organised a 'junk' (read: a boat) to sail around the harbour and host the squad's tour fines session. An extremely civilised (or uncivilised, depending on the level of fines received) evening stood the team in ideal stead for Saturday's tour finale: the 50 over fixture against HKCC.
Another scorching day (by English standards if not necessarily for the locals) at the HKCC provided the perfect backdrop for a competitive game in which the MCC team again emerged victorious. Highlights included veteran international Yasir Arafat's destructive 88 from just 54 balls and Jonny Fawcett's 4 wicket haul, including two former county pros.
The tour was rounded off in fittingly fine style with the official tour dinner in the HKCC function suite. Following reports from MCC captain Rupert Kitzinger and his opposite number, awards were made and all that remained was for MCC tour manager Mike Gatting to thank everyone in Hong Kong on behalf of everyone in the touring party for the truly amazing welcome they had received and the superb cricket that had been played all week.
The squad leave with memories that will last a lifetime and with lifelong friends made in the tour party and at our hosts in Hong Kong, and we look forward to many future cricketing reunions.
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