The 2010 Commotion

Report by Daniel Mortlock:

2010 was a year of change for Fathers And Sons CC. After three decades of week-long cricket orgies, the 2010 Commotion was a half the length of previous tours, with fixtures only on the four days from Saturday, July 10 to Tuesday, July 13 (along with a warm-up game against Remnants on Wednesday, July 7). But the tour was no less successful for its reduced format, and on-field FAS picked up where it left off last year, winning the three completed tour games handsomely (by 6 wickets, 120 runs and 7 wickets, respectively), being thwarted only by rain in the final match (a semi-internal fixture against a side of four Adastrians and seven FAS players that got rained off before the end of the first innings). The only real fly in the ointment was, once again, a pre-tour loss against Remnants, but that can perhaps be explained away by the fact that we fielded a rather unrepresentative side. Conversely, the need to put out only one team a day meant that what were previously FAS selection dilemmae were now an embarrassment of riches - against Temple Grafton we left last year's Best Bowler on the bench, didn't bat last year's Best All-Rounder or Best Batsman, let the opposition have the services of last year's Best Fielder, and left last year's Best Captain in charge only of the round-the-ground kiddie time-trials - and still won with a few overs to spare.

The main reason for our continued success on the tour proper was a long and strong batting line-up: we only lost 11 wickets in the three fully external games, and 5 of the 17 individual innings were unbeaten half-centuries. Or, put another way, the team average in those games was 56.91. One unfortunate corrollary of this was that very few people got more than one innings, and so the Batting Award unsurprisingly went to the player who played the best knock. That was James Wyatt, who made a chanceless 104* (off 88) balls aginst Temple Grafton, his first ever century in any form of cricket (and more runs than anyone else scored on tour). Also worthy of mention were the two unbroken century partnerships that set up our other two wins: by Mike Harrop (50* off 34 balls) and Jamie Scott (50* off 35 balls) against The Bunnies; and by James Houlder (51*) and Cliff Dare (52*) against Naunton. But perhaps the greatest batting innovation was to provide theme music to accompany FAS batsmen's walks to the crease, even if, so far, this was only implemented by the FAS Singers accompanying The Massed Choir Of The Red Army in a rousing chorus of "The Royal and United Bank of Estonia . . ."

A very different form of innovation was that James Houlder actually got to bowl for the first time in years. His medium pacers netted him 4 wickets at 9.00 which, combined with 70 runs at 35.00, was enough to win the award for Best All-Rounder to go with his Best Captain gong. James's bowling performance meant he was also in contention for the Bowling Award, although in the end that went to Daniel Mortlock (8 wickets at 6.88), who edged out Jamie Scott (4 wickets at 3.00) and Harry Houlder (5 wickets at 18.80). But maybe the most important bowling development was how much of it was done by "third generation" tourists, with Barrases Sacha and Felix, Ben Massey and David Harrop taking 7 wickets at 21.86 between them.

The destination of the Wicket-Keeping Award was so clear-cut that it was handed over by simply announing "The Wicket-Keeping Award goes to . . ." and then waiting for Chris Barras to collect it. Chris was as impeccable as ever - or maybe even moreso - and completed 9 dismissals in all, including an FAS record-equalling haul of 3 stumpings and 2 catches against Naunton. Chris was thus the only prize-winner from 2009 to retain his title, a random and probably meaningless fact that was partly ensured by Best Fielder Rob Harvey's stunning direct-hit run out of last year's recipient Tom Hiew (who was playing for Temple Grafton). Tom, in turn, was a possible candidate for the non-existent "unluckiest tourist" title as he broke a finger going for a catch in the same game. Not that Tom's was not the only injury sustained on tour, with both an unfortunate Bunny and Will Taunton-Burnet showing incredible dedication (if limited spatial awareness) as they, respectively, crashed into and over boundary fences in brave attempts to catch huge sixes that ultimately flew over their prone bodies.

So spectacular were these falls that either could easily have been named Character Of The Tour on the basis of these efforts, but in the end this accolade went to a rejuvinated Baz Dare (for the first time in at least 15 years - and maybe ever). Such was the brevity of the tour and, hopefully, the reduced strain on the eternal generosity of Baz and Wendy, that there was even wild talk of increasing the scope of the tour again next year . . .