BWCC TOUR TO STOCKHOLM
Many moons ago, soon after John and Monica MacPherson had learnt of their posting to Stockholm, the sages of BWCC were mulling over their pints one evening in the Stapleton Arms. They turned their thoughts as to where they might tour in 2004.
“Cornwall?” said one.
“Isle of Wight?” another.
“Stockholm?” pondered a third.
A pregnant silence followed whilst further pints were ordered and consumed.
“The Norwegians don’t play cricket”.
“They’re Swedes, and as of now they do.”
“We might win a few then”.
“Go for it”.
And so, amidst disbelieving laughter, the seeds of the Stockholm Tour were born.
The Stapleton Arms, 9.30am, Thursday 19th August 2004 – the bus to Heathrow departs with 30 players, wives, partners, children and moustaches of variable pedigree. The journey was uneventful apart from Don Pedro’s session with a BAA model agency photographer in the departure lounge. After much conjecture it was decided by all that due to Pedro’s moustache and Sombrero, he was about to be reinvented as an international gay icon. BWCC awaits the photos.
Oh, and guess what? BA forgot to load 8 bags…………………
John, Monica, Hugh and Heather welcomed us in Stockholm with, as we soon discovered, their inexhaustible supply of warmth, patience and good humour.
Our first evening was spent in the aptly named Pickled Herring, the bar of the British Embassy. A good night was had by all……………..
Friday 20th August – our 1st match loomed against John’s Diplomats XI at the Rinkeby Ground kindly loaned to us by the local Pakistani community. At stake was the Surstromming Cup. Briefly, Surstromming is fermented/pickled/putrid herring and so revered is it in Sweden that it is granted a National Day – that of our arrival. It is presented in a pressurised tin that has to be opened under water and if the escaping gases are hideous enough, (with all due deference to our hosts) the taste and texture of the fish is indescribable. This was a game to throw!
The park at Rinkeby is like most others in Stockholm, apart from a strip of raised tarmac in the middle. This, we soon learnt, was the hallowed strip. We rolled out what can best be described as a giant Subbuteo pitch the shape of a cricket wicket and pegged it down at intervals. It looked pretty bouncy but actually played fairly consistently. The outfield grass was long, reminiscent of North Dorset Rugby Club in May.
The match was 20 overs a side and batting first, Hall and Gibbs put on 25 for the first wicket before the arrival of the Diplomat’s star player, Nass, who promptly removed Alex’s middle stump. He was pretty quick and accurate but JP and Robin survived his 4 overs only for both of them to get out in the 20’s to a lovely lad from Sweden, Class Bertelson, who had a good action and gave us a bit of bother. Timeee and Shrek took us to a competitive 118-3 with Timeee remaining on 18 not out to take his average to just under 100 (note to Wisden – 97 runs in 9 innings for once out).
When the Diplomats batted, an early wicket gave us optimism but this brought Nass to the crease and in a couple of overs he had hit 23 with two 6’s and two 4’s and looked dangerous. He had just hit Timeee’s first three balls for 4,4,6 so Mustard suggested he went around the wicket and immediately the different line caused some doubt in the batsman’s mind and Timeee took a blinding caught and bowled low down. We were very relieved to see the back of Nass as he threatened to finish it in 15 overs. Their innings fell away a bit after that and Freddie, Fat Box, Mustard and at the end, Yoss, all taking wickets. Yoss finished with 2 for 3 in the last over as the Diplomats folded for 87 all out. (BW Hall, Gibbs, Pearce, Ovenden, Douglas, Chinnock, *Lane, Dyke, Micklewright, +Reach, Aldred.)
Memories of the game – Mrs Barfoot’s excellent handstand whilst wearing a skirt certainly boosted morale on the field, the great aid given by the ladies to the local police in hot pursuit of a scooter born mugger (they got the wrong one), and the blissful indifference of the local population to this great match.
Both sides returned to the Pickled Herring for the presentation of the Surstromming Cup by Her Majesty’s Ambassador. With great pluck, and in the high traditions of the FO, our Ambassador bravely led the way in tasting, followed by sundry foolhardy BWCC members. Congratulations to Shrek (Ian Douglas) on his swallowing of an entire putrid herring. Lardy enjoyed it too. As Dougie later found, the repeat effects of Surstromming are powerful indeed, and led to his fielding in lonely positions the next day.
In the best traditions of BWCC the Ambassador was then presented with a salver of Ferrero Rocher.
Serious dancing ensued and our thanks must go to those at the Embassy who helped our two evenings there to be such fun. Later, whilst some swam in the Baltic, others delved into Stockholm nightlife………………
Saturday 21st August – an all day match against Stockholm University began at 11 o’clock. Now I have witnessed many a bleary eyed Buckhorn player down the years, but never quite so many at once. The biscuit is taken by one R. Dyke who, after taking a wrong turn, roamed the streets of Stockholm until asking a bemused postman – “Do you know where the MacPhersons live?”
Our return to Rinkeby for the Saturday game was in slightly different circumstances. The morning after the night before had taken its toll and instead of alighting from the coach with a spring in our step, the countenance of several players questioned the early hour for a game of cricket! We decided that we should field first to try and sober a few up and Robin went behind the timbers due to the strange absence of our regular keeper!!
Picture the scene. First over: bowled by Shrek, ball driven to mid off, straight to JP and lands near his feet, slowed up by the long grass. JP is unable to see the ball, in fact I think he was unsure of which one of the three balls he saw to pick up. Finally he locates it, hurls it in the general direction of the strip and promptly falls over!! And so our fielding continued for most of the innings.
We bowled surprisingly straight with three out of the first four wickets falling lbw and at 40 for 4 were quite pleased with ourselves. But wides were called with increasing regularity and a couple of players got in and made a few, including the appropriately named A. Bhat who hit 35. The inclusion of 44 wides helped them to 146, which we thought was gettable. Timeee, Freddie, Fat Boy, Mustard and Chopper were among the wickets.
We didn’t get the best of starts when Don Pedro claimed the cardie in the second over and wickets then tumbled with regularity throughout our innings. Only Timeee with 16 and out (knocking his average back to a paltry 56.50) and Rupert with a superb 43 not out made double figures. Following a comical yes, no, yes, no, wait, go back, oh s**t, sorry Mustard run out incident, Yoss joined Rupert at the crease and remained not out 2 with an interesting shot as BW finished on 120-9. Our hosts were generous in our defeat of which a very late night, for which read a very early morning, and excess alcohol played a major part. (BW +Hall, MacPherson J, Chinnock, Ovenden, Pearce, Lavis, Dyke, Micklewright, Douglas, *Lane, Aldred).
Memories – at the fall of a SACS wicket the collapse into a prone position of half the team, the complete absence of our wicket keeper J. Reach and the odd sight of Swedes walking upon grass whilst using ski poles (winter’s coming). And the wasps, which were from a very aggressive strain.
We returned to the MacPherson flat at Strandvygan for the Tour Dinner. After a fantastic meal (one of four cooked by Monica), speeches were made and toasts given – the most important and heartfelt to ‘Absent Friends’ – those members of BWCC who for good reasons could not come. We missed them. The evening was very special with an electric atmosphere, standing ovations and a real sense of camaraderie. Those present will not forget it for a long time.
Scenes of wild bacchanalia followed the meal, helped by Alison Barfoot’s face painting, Barff’s wonderfully tasteless balloon modelling and Dougie in full make up (thank you Monica). It’s all on film…………An epic evening.
Sunday 22nd August – a two hour trip out of Stockholm to play the village of Guttsta. On the way we decided to play a game of Spot the Moose. Robin suddenly shouted “There’s one!”, claiming victory, only to be told by Jessica “Don’t be silly Daddy, its just a cow.”
This club boasts a delightful ground, the only sightscreens in Sweden and, apart from one Englishman, near enough a full Swedish side, including the delightfully named ‘Paddy’. And so our final game began with Yoss catching a wasp, shaking hands with Paul, their skipper, which promptly stung him. We batted first on the Flix pitch with both Alex and JP hitting 50 retired to get us away. Chopper had a big heave-ho and was stumped but Lardy hit a blistering 27, just what he needed to Finnish the tour (sorry Lard, Ed)! Poor Jimmer got a first ball cardie lbw following on from Busby’s lbw the previous delivery. In to face the hatrick ball Mustard too was hit on the pad but was forward enough for Rupert to raise his finger only to pick his nose. Run Out said he would have given it anyway!! We finished on 164 for 5 at tea.
Guttsta started well losing just one wicket for 30 runs to Sammy D, ‘The Judge’. Then, everyone got in on the act with Hugh MacPherson, Busby, Fat Boy, Freddie, Mustard, and even Gibbser getting wickets. As Run Out ran in to bowl, cries were heard of ‘come on shubsie’. Guttsta finished on 85 for 8 after their 20 overs but as a sporting gesture we bowled another five overs so they closed at 107 for 9.
After the game we exchanged gifts – a BW club tie for them and a signed mini bat for us. Photos were taken of the visit for their album and it was handshakes all round. A lovely end to the playing side of the tour. (BW Pearce, Gibbs, Chinnock, +Reach, Lavis, Price, *Lane, Drury, MacPherson H, Micklewright, Dyke, Ovenden).
The last night for us all at Strandvygan. A reflective evening – memories of our daft but wonderful tour. Stories that will go down in club lore. Myths that began and will grow. The banter. The cricket that was played and the friends that we made. the extraordinary hospitality of the MacPherson family without whom this madness wouldn’t have run. Mark and Nic who so patiently organised our flights and accommodation. The work of Alex Gibbs on the tour shirts (and the sponsorship of them by the Stapleton Arms), and of Mustard on the website. The help that everyone gave.
One final thought – our sponsors. Without them this unique experience would not have happened. Simple as that. Their wish for anonymity has, and will be, fully respected. But from all of us our thanks – your generosity has not only allowed us to play cricket in Sweden, but also to strengthen the bonds and friendships that make BWCC so special.
But I have to say that my strongest memory will be of the laughter. It was everywhere and with everyone. Top people, top club, top tour.
Don Pedro and Mustard
|Diplomats||Academicals||Gotsta||Innings||Tot Runs||Not Out||Qual Inns||Average|
* * * * * * *
BWCC names in Swedish are:
Mustard – SENAP
Tubs – TJOCKIS ( Literally FATTY)
Lardy = DJURFETT (lit Wild Animal Fat)
Yosser – JA SIR (lit Yes , sir)
Camp Freddie = FEMININE FREDDIE (pronounced femininay)
Fatboy = FETTO
Barff = SPYAN (lit vomit)
Morning Glory = MORGONSTAND (with a little o over the a)
Shrek = GRONA TROLLET ( lit the green troll – 2 dots over the first O)
Todger – BALLEN (lit the Big Ball)
Timeee = TIMPONKEN (lit little boy Tim)
Busby = STRESSO (lit stressed out\)
Nadgers = PUNGKULAN
Jimmer = JIMPOJKEN (lit JIMBOY)
RUN OUT = EN TILL, EN TILL …UT (lit and another and another – out)
Fiddles – no name yet
Chopper – HELIKOPTERN! (lit swinging it all about…)
Trigger – no name yet
Dom Pedro – GUSTAV VASA (named after the 16th Century Swedish flagship that was launched as the most powerful boat afloat but sank within 1 kilometre because it was too top heavy – the symbol of the BWCC touring team ???)