Turnham Green Visits Uganda

Local cricket team choose unusual venue for Easter tour

 

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Turnham Green Cricket Club flew to Uganda for a pre-season tour over Easter. A seemingly unusual place to tour, the Ugandan cricket infrastructure is well established and we were honoured to play their national side and the under 19ís in two of our three fixtures.

Despite the timing coinciding with the beginning of their rainy season, we were fortunate to play three full games Ė a distinct improvement on last yearís tour to Grenada where no cricket was possible and competition was restricted to table tennis and drinking rum.

We had only one full day to acclimatise before a 35 over game against a Presidentí XI. With the temperature nearly 30 degrees, stifling humidity and an elevation of 1500 metres we bowled and fielded well to restrict our opponents to 183-9 on a beautiful batting track. Jim Frayling and Rob Hickman opened the bowling well with little luck and it was the Porter brothers (Joe and Tom) who stemmed the flow of runs and created pressure for our local guest player Richard to take three important wickets.

After a high carb lunch, our openers responded positively. Sam Phillips made a composed 24 and Ed Lush the mainstay of the innings with a solid 75 not out. Orlando Ames-Lewis looked to settle with some lovely shots behind square on the offside but missed a straight one from Belinda, a talented Ugandan female player who was promoted to play for us in the last game having impressed as an opponent. We were guided home comfortably by skipper Peter Lovell (59 not out) and Ed to win by 8 wickets with an over to spare.

Buoyed by such a good start to the tour the following day was to provide a wake up call. We were quite honestly, out-classed by a full strength national side who are touring the UK in June playing a couple of county fixtures as preparation for a World Cup qualifying tournament in Dublin. After modest celebrations the previous night there were a few casualties (injuries and dodgy stomachs mainly) beginning to emerge from not being quite match fit enough.

Nevertheless our bowlers performed admirable to restrict Uganda to 335-6 after 50 overs. Rob Hickman was unlucky to go for 87 off his ten overs, Jim Frayling bowled quite beautifully and took the only wicket in the first 20 overs (by which time the score was nearing 200). The Porter brothers again bowled tight spells and confounded the batsmen repeatedly with a style with which is unlikely to have had much exposure before at this level.

We let ourselves down in the batting department. Only Ed Lush (30) and Joe Porter (20) made double figures and a combination of accurate bowling, excellent fielding and sheer exhaustion saw us skittled for 86 all out.

With three rest days taking in a cruise on Lake Victoria viewing the source of the Nile; a round of golf (won by Peter Lovell with a banditry 89); and some evil white water rafting on the Nile which improved Rob Hickmanís looks, we were a little better accustomed to the searing heat and humidity for our final game against Uganda under 19ís.

Having won the toss we elected to bat first in a restricted match of 30 overs per side. This threatened to backfire on a lively wicket when we found ourselves 44 for 6 after 20 overs. A valuable partnership between Lovell (32) and Frayling (30) meant we set the target of 110 for victory. Despite picking up five wickets at regular intervals our total proved to be 30 runs short of competitive for our now rather tired bowlers to successfully defend.

All in a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all and the early season match practise should stand us in good stead for the coming season where we will be chasing promotion to the 1st division.

Many thanks to Orlando Ames-Lewis, Tom Porter and Peter Lovell for their hard work in making the trip possible.

Turnham Green runs two Saturday league teams, a Sunday side and a midweek side for evening 20 over matches. New players are welcome and should contact peter.lovell@morse.com (07765 234867) or tom@pedalo.co.uk (07989 320886) for details of indoor and outdoor nets.

Sam Phillips

April 24, 2005