To maintain the 'entente cordiale' between Nomads and Hong Kong Cricket Club, and to defend the Silver Plate won comprehensively in the Test Match 12 months previously, a curious band of aged, inarticulate, infirm and pointless individuals, united under the banner of 'The Nomads Cavaliers', travelling to Hong Kong over the weekend of November 2-5.
Stabled in the favoured team headquarters of the Wharney Hotel in the salubrious Wan Chai district (still undergoing significant renovation work following last year's visit), The Cavaliers needless to say accorded their cricketing responsibilities the appropriate respect by hitting the bars of HK immediately on arrival.
Friday's match vs HK Witherers (or Warriers or Worriers or Willies or something like that) saw a thoroughly professional performance from The Cavaliers. Chasing a competitive 210 off 35 overs, Cavaliers won at a canter, hitting the winning runs with more than 4 overs to spare and numerous wickets in hand.
Grant Small was voted Man Of The Match, taking 3 for and then knocking up a quick 30. Other performances of note were John Stimson's very passable impression of a Scott Wotherspoon over - 12 balls, a proposed retirement of HK's wides column when it reached 35 and Doug Guest's attempts to win a penalty from the first ball he received by throwing himself to the ground. Thankfully the Umpire was unmoved by this cynical act and Doug was lucky not to receive a yellow card for his performance.
And so to Saturday's Test Match, and the Cavaliers were afforded the luxury of not just a hangover but also a selection headache. The arrival of Scott Wotherspoon and Richard Nuttall swelled the Cavaliers squad to thirteen.
After much discussion, Grant Small (for playing too well the day before) and Doug Guest (disciplinary reasons) were asked to stand aside. A stronger HK Wobblers had first use of the artificial strip and set about the Cavaliers attack. A courageous attempt was made by Scott Wotherspoon to recapture the title of 'Longest Over on Tour' but his effort fell an agonising 1 ball short of Stimson's Friday effort. A laudable effort in the field was unable to prevent HK reaching a testing 235 off their allotment of 35 overs.
Faced with a daunting chase, The Cavaliers reply was given an encouraging start by Whyte and Stimson. However the flourishing opening partnership had reached 80 (at more than 7 per over) when Rob Guest regrettably applied the French cricket rules of umpiring ('It hit your legs your out!') to an optimistic LBW shout and Whyte was back in the hutch. Momentum was lost and although a number of people got in (notably Stimson, Nuttall, Raju and Guest), the fading light appropriately reflected the Cavaliers effort. It was almost pitch black when the last ball of the match was bowled and HKCC prevailed by 10 runs.
And so the Plate was regained by HKCC. Again we were treated to some wonderful post-match snacks, ale and stories. It was in good heart that the Tour Party set off for Lan Kwai Fong - the squad drank long and hard (not necessarily in that order) and it was almost daylight when the last straggler made it back to the hotel.
Played 2 Won 1 Lost 1. Not a bad effort given a distinct lack of match practice (and ability). Of real encouragement was the number of tourists. Between the 2 games, The Cavaliers were able to pick from a pool of 14 players - a statistic almost unheard of in Nomad touring history.
Particular thanks go to HKCC's Johnny Davison, Deano and Tony Melloy for their outstanding hospitality at the Club and Gavin Erasmus and Rob Guest for getting the Tour off the ground.
HKCC are celebrating their 150th Anniversary in April 2001. They will be organising a 6-a-side tournament and will be inviting Nomads. The Club will also be hosting the first ever match between the 2 MCCs (Marylebone and Melbourne) to be held outside of England and Australia around the same time.