Report by Daniel Mortlock:
The 2012 Fathers And Sons Olympiad lived up to its name, with a healthy variety of competitive sports being the subject of our attention during the four-day tour. Unfortunately, this mostly took the form of watching the big TV at Mill Dene while it rained outside - and the only form of competition was the disembodied "battle of the remote controls" as Baz's preference for watching the end of the Silverstone Grand Prix was, eventually, defeated by everybody's else compulsion to see Andy Murray almost win Wimbledon. The other main form of combat on offer was the mammoth Nerf War, as squads of Dares, Barrases and Houlders mounted a series of increasingly well-planned assaults using an array of semi-automatic weaponry that would have been truly terrifying if not for the fact that, rather than being gun-metal grey, most were bright orange. And just when it seemed the guns' initial excitement was starting to wear off, their coolness went through the roof when a group of Royal Marines, who presumably have access to the real thing, were just as keen on the metre-long semi-automatic bazookoid nerf beast (or whatever it's called).
That said, we did actually get some cricket: Wednesday's warm-up game and two of the five scheduled tour fixtures were played to completion, and the final match (against the aforementioned Marines) made it past half-way. All up it was another FAS on-field success, with three wins and a draw, although a look at the averages reveals the frustrating truth that, due to lack of opportunities, the top individual yields were just 102 runs, 6 wickets and 2 dismissals.
The clear highlight of the tour was the Monday when we got two games in, against Fladbury and Temple Grafton, respectively. The former was great fun for the bowlers, who bowled out Fladbury for 76, with Faruk Kara's career-best figures of 4/15 netting him his first bowling award. The other game was a much more close-fought affair: we posted 177/4 on the back of James Houlder's 82* (which earned him the batting award), after which we bowled out Temple Grafton with only 10 balls to spare. That this was a real team effort was reflected in the fact that Jim Streeter got the captaincy award for securing the win whilst simultaneously giving Jamie Dare, the most-improved young player, a chance to open the bowling, as well as somehow contriving to ensure that character of the tour Zoe Dare and best all-rounder Harry Houlder got to share the match-winning moment when the two combined for a relay throw to have the opposition's pro run out in the third last over. The final tour fixture, against the Royal Marines, was initially scheduled at Blockley, then moved to Fladbury as Blockley was water-logged, and then moved back to Blockley again when conditions improved . . . and was finally abandoned half-way through the second innings when a titanic downpour drenched the ground. The match was very much in the balance, with FAS 62/3 in pursuit of RMCC's 211/9 - while we hadn't quite dominated their batting line-up, we had contained it with a fantastic fielding performance, highlighted by best fielder Sam Loud's huge throws and best wicket-keeper Chris Barras offering up some trademark maneouvers such as the "flying stump destruction to complete a run-out after a wayward throw" and yet another leg-side stumping standing up to Joe.
Once the rain came there was nothing for it but to head back to the Dene to eat, drink and be merry (although the latter was made rather difficult by an enforced viewing of the 2005 Ashes highlights) at the end of tour dinner. Aside from the presentation of the above-mentioned awards, there was the all-important thank-yous to the Dares, which took the form of flowers and a spa voucher for Wendy and some fine wine for Baz, Cliff and Joss.