Detail: 26-05-2023 - Exeter Tour

The Blues Cricket Club - Exeter Tour 2023
Tour Report

Tour Committee

(i) Rory Collett;
(ii) Archie Tawney; and
(iii) James Leeworthy.



By way of brief foreword, the touring group have agreed that what happens on tour, must stay on tour. As such, the below is heavy on match detail and light on night out mischief; rest assured though, the touring Blues did not die wondering (any gossip merchants desperate for detail, chat to Fyfe and Eddie J).

Yours in cricket,

Exetour Committee.


Stat Overview

For those of the view that cricket is a purely numbers-based game and with little interest in the semi-coherent ramblings we present below (written days after the fact and with a slightly foggy memory), please see the following summary:

Opposition: Exeter University Officer Training Corps, Whimple Cricket Club;
Most wickets: G Moore, 6;
Most runs: H Jenkins, 57;
Most Catches: J Ward, 4 catches (wk);
Most Pints: E Jenkins, 33 (give or take); and
Most haircuts: J Mumby, 1.

MoM: A Tawney (Sat), H Fyfe (Sun).
DoD: H Fyfe/E Jenkins (Sat), H Jenkins (Sun).


Blues CC vs Exeter University Officer Training Corps
(Saturday, 27 May 2023)

Blues win by 74 runs; Lancaster 42, Tawney, 28*; E Jenkins 3-?-?.

A week may be a long time in politics, but 24 hours in cricket is longer (A Tawney, 2023) - a maxim proved true on multiple occasions over the course of The Blues tour of Exeter. The Wednesday pre-tour saw the Exetour Committee's press team struggling to contain vicious (and entirely founded) rumours that the Saturday fixture we'd long promised was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Strong and stable from the outside, internally the Committee was in free-fall. Succession plans being discussed; the touring party splintering; the leadership credentials of Rozza C soiled; and the very purpose of Leworthy on the committee in the first place called into question.

24 hours is a long time in cricket. Thursday morning dawned and with a pitch and oppo secured at the 11th hour, so too was the future of Exetour, with rich rewards awaiting those brave and loyal Blues who had stayed the course and believed in our vision (@Youcef).

As this match report is beholden to the self-imposed injunction on the disclosure of any and all nocturnal activities, you join us on Saturday morning. Ten bleary eyed Blues nursing hangovers directly proportional to the level of excitement shown at GBP2 pints and GBP10 jugs of Woowoo made their way down to Topsham for an unorthodox 25 over game (which, as it transpires, may well be our niche) against the young bucks of the Exeter University Officer Training Corps. Special mention to Mumby, a man of principle and standards, for finding the time to top up his fade pre-match - stick to your process at all times.

With a disregard for punctuality and communication that does little to instil confidence in the future of our armed forces, the oppo captain and team pitched up 30 minutes late and made it very clear we were batting first. First time captain Archie T, in need of a show of strength having failed to deliver on a 'bowl-first-on-the-beers-faster' strategy, sent in Eddie and Harry Jenkins to face the music (for no other reason than they're brothers. Harry and I have been made to do this about 10 times - apparently its funny).

Despite the ball hooping in blazing sunshine and the early loss of Eddie J, the Blues piled on the runs fluently and with aplomb, a quick 23, 20+1 and 17 being scored by Harry J, Leworthy and Simon respectively. Special mention goes to Brando who, having been told at drinks he was going to be retired at 50 by a captain who fancied a bat, did the right thing and holed out on a brutally efficient 42 off very few.

Fyfe (Fivey), mentally still two-stepping in Fever & Boutique, missed a straight one and had to depart for a chastening golden duck (24 hours is a long time in cricket), which left Mumby, Archie and Jimmy Howe to add some useful lower order runs with 20+1, 28* and 17* respectively. A total of 219 off the full complement of 25 overs was set and the Blues, stacked with bowling, tucked into some well-earned tea-time beers full of confidence - game well and truly on.

Being a touring party of 10 on the Saturday (cheers @Youcef), Jimmy Howe did the lords work and secured a local ringer with the promise of runs, wickets and ropey chat. Harvey, ringer in question, turned up cig in mouth, can of red bull in hand and with (well-placed and very un-Blues like) confidence in his ability to open the bowling. Duly thrust the new ball in partnership with the evergreen Glenn Moore, Harvey was thoroughly deserving of his two wickets - both scalps of handy looking bats who reeked of runs.

Regardless of Harvey's early wickets, a stacked top order clearly sent out with instructions to express themselves started to accumulate (with a little help from some very shrewd fielding from Eddie J who, deciding that Jimmy Howe didn't deserve the wicket of their gun batsmen, high fived a regulation mid-on catch into the ground).

Searching for wickets and stretched by the simultaneous tasks of working out how many people were required to bowl 25 overs; how to count to 5; how to keep; and what any fielding positions were called, Archie reverted to his initial batting gag of there being two Jenkins on tour and put them on from either end. A tactic that paid dividends with the Jenkins double-act taking 5 wickets in quick succession, Eddie J's 'natural variation' proving to be particularly effective, claiming the crucial wicket of the aforementioned gun bat - funny how cricket works.

With the head of the hydra severed, the body withered. Glenn in his second spell, ably supported by Jimmy Howe and Brando, ran through an extended tail and a comfortable Blues win by 74 runs was secured. Beers were had, the sun shined and H Fyfe got a golden (24 hours is a long time in cricket). A very good Blues day.

Blues CC vs Whimple Cricket Club (Sunday 1st XI)
(Sunday, 28 May 2023)

Blues win by 9 wickets: Fyfe, 53* (Retired); Ward, 47*; Moore 4-18.

As you may very well know, the hammerhead shark, otherwise identified by its Latin name Spyhyrna Mokarran, are one of the few species of fish that must continuously swim in order to survive. This perpetual state of forward movement is necessary to create a strong flow of oxygenated water through the hammerhead's gills, straight into their (surprisingly small) brain. Like the iconic hammerhead shark, the Blues could not afford to rest after their much-celebrated win on Saturday, as it became wildly apparent that forward momentum was essential for the survival of the tourists. The aim was to stain the South Devonian countryside a shade of dark blue, and the boys (most of whom had been wetter than the average hammerhead shark the night before) needed to power through to play yet another cricket fixture.

Accordingly, the Blues unstuck themselves from their Premier Inn mattresses, vaguely apologised to various frustrated women via WhatsApp and mentally prepared themselves to face a rather (according to Play Cricket) capable Whimple CC team. To limit the already alarming number of players festering on the Exeter Cathedral green, the Committee made the executive decision to relocate early to Whimple's pitch. This is uncharacteristic for the Blues but, as we have already discussed, it was very much a case of swim or die. After a brief and garbled negotiation, the Blues managed to convince the opposition that it would be in Whimple's interest to bat first and the usual tossing of coins was forgone.

Glenn and Rich were given the new nut. A hum vibrated around the ground - not of excited chatter, but rather a VK induced stench. Regardless, the opportunity to see Glenn and Rich bowl together was greeted with much anticipation. After all, these two bowlers had each won the Bob Walsh Memorial Salver (Best Bowler Award) three times between 2008 and 2020. They were a tried and tested formula and, like a hammerhead hunting a shoal of herring, they know their business. Wickets fell in astonishingly quick succession, and in the first ten overs, 5 Whimplovians were unceremoniously dismissed. Glenn taking four (rather scruffily shaven) scalps, and Rich taking one. The boys were giddy, with Ward behind the stumps collecting two delicious catches from Glenn and Rory securing a belly-high catch off the ever-benevolent Rich. Rory, captaining a Blue's fixture for the first time in his career, was struggling to fully understand why Harry Jenkins moaned so incessantly about match management - cricket was supremely easy.

Talking of the Jenkins dynasty, a rather dusty Eddie J was then passed the still semi-pristine ball. As mentioned above, Edward Gideon Jenkins had earned his position as first change with exemplary bowling the previous day. He did not disappoint (insert generic joke about night time antics here). In his tight and steady three overs, he took two wickets - this meant that for every fifteen beers Ed drank over the course of the weekend, he sent one mulleted Devonian back to the sheds. Excellent. From the other end, Simon also stepped into the breach and dismissed a rather composed looking batsman. When later interviewed about his wicket, Big Si merely remarked that he was riddled with frustration that Brandon had dropped a catch previously off his bowling. Like Fyfey ten hours previously, Si was a man unsatisfied with his performance. Jimmy Howe, alcohol fumes still visibly leaving his body, took the subsequent wicket in well-deserved fashion. The number ten batsman was finally skittled by a run out from Rich, which send the Blues giggling back into the clubhouse for lager and sausage rolls. Whimple were all out for 152, from 24 overs.

Now it was the Blues' turn to try and vaguely swing the bat. At this point, I feel it important to (unkindly) remind you that Fyfe was dismissed for a duck on Saturday. Equally, the less said about his Saturday evening, the better. Regardless, the decision was quietly made for him to open the batting with Wardy, in the hope he could salvage his tour. It must be said that, much like the hotel manager the previous night, he really decided to show up and make an extraordinary amount of fuss. Fyfe absolutely flew to 50, with the projected score at five overs being 391. Honestly, blink and he was gone. The decision was made to retire the triumphant Hamish and give the opposition a second bite at the (well-and-truly spanked) apple.

Archie T, fresh from a Man-of-the-Match display the previous day, walked out to fist bump a calmly industrious Jack. Tawn hit several boundaries and then decided to give the other fellas a shot at playing cricket, and politely gave up his off-stump. A true team man. Harry J was the next Bluesman to face the onslaught, determined to re-established himself as the preeminent Jenkins in the squad. HJ callously slapped every ball delivered in his vicinity to make an extremely quick and impressive 34*. This innings included two large 6's and four 4's, that, in the words of James Howe's excellent father, 'stayed hit' well and truly beyond the boundary.

What of Jack, I hear you anxiously ask? The man that steadied the ship during Fyfe's whirlwind half-century? That mildly sweated between the wickets during Archie's brief sojourn into double figures? That chuckled whilst Jenkins exacted vengeance on a miserable looking opposition pie-chucker? He was the rock that the innings was built around, with an important 47*. As the Chinese Proverb goes, 'a single leaf working alone, provides no shade'. In other words, the boys worked excellently together and finished off the game for yet another famous victory, reaching 156 runs in circa. 18 overs. Whitewash achieved.

In all, it was an excellent day for the Blues, with Whimple CC leaving the field with nothing more than a wimp(l)er.

[updated 21 06 2023]