As I look around the hotel lobby before our homeward journey, I see tired, and in some cases barely alive MCC tourists.
Although we may not have covered ourselves in glory on the field, we’re proud to have played our part in a great week for Cricket Finland.
The exposure gained on Finnish television from yesterday’s opening ceremony and game will hopefully help take cricket to the next level. The head of Cricket Finland, Andrew Armitage, can rightly be proud of his team of volunteers and his long term dream of international cricket in Finland has surely moved a little closer after this week.
Sadly we were unable to sign the tour off with a victory, despite wheeling the tour manager, Richard Ibbotson, out to bowl four overs in our final game. Ibbo’s wily hand grenades helped to take the first wicket, and he also held a catch in the slips before retiring to the pavilion to put his feet up!
Our bowling was dispatched to all parts of the ground as Finland racked up over 200 from their 20 overs. After being given the licence to go out and “not die wondering” from our captain Robert Flack, we responded with our best batting performance of the tour. After an early wicket, Chris Dring and the skipper kept us close to the required ten runs an over, and a fine half century from Ted Williamson kept us in the hunt. Sadly we fell away towards the end of the innings and ended up 34 runs short.
Our last night in Finland was kicked off with the tour fines meeting. Chief Justice was played by Peter “Clubby” Clubb, who heard the charges and dispensed fines without mercy. We were joined for our final meal by officials from Cricket Finland, in an excellent steakhouse in the middle of Helsinki.
Lasting friendships have been made on this tour, and there has already been talk of a reunion at HQ during the India Test. Our management team of Ibbo and Flackie have helped to make this tour an experience none of us will ever forget, and on behalf of the rest of the squad, thank you to both!