In Quest of Books or Glory? -Jamaica 2005

Dreaming of an Adventure

Dreaming of an Adventure

When you are very young, and all you do all summer long is play cricket, the thought of playing the Australians or South Africans is just a dream. Indeed, thirty years later, playing cricket at all is just a dream, having survived the ravages of jobs, unemployment, broken hearts et. al. So when you get the call one day to fill in in a casual game for a team of off-duty librarians, are you really going to turn it down? No! of course not. Hence, this was my introduction to the Birmingham Libraries Cricket Team

Of course, this introduction wasn't without a little embarrassment. The first game, versus Aston Chem Tech saw me playing for the opposition, and not having bowled a ball for eight years since my days as captain of Aspinwall & Co. I was most uncertain of what to expect. So to return figure of 4 overs, 4 wickets for 21 runs was indeed a surprise. I had to tell everybody for weeks, much to Mr. Five Pints annoyance. As you will gather dear readers, this involves our intrepid friend, Mr Paul Hemmings. Another white water rafting adventure? Read on.....

So as the season drew slowly to sunny end of 2005, there came about a rumour that the team had been invited out to of all cricketing places, Jamaica. Us in Jamaica playing cricket! I must be dreaming......or drugged.

The end of the season.

The last act of the season was the "dinner" at The Barton Arms in Birmingham. The earlier rumours of a Jamaica trip were confirmed and the nice lady from Diamond Travel turned up to make the arrangements. And then it dawned on me. Don't let librarians organise a cricket tour. You would think that it would be easy to get 15 or was it 16 players to Kingston, play a few games, shake a few hands and come home. Not a bit of it! There were three seperate itineries within this "tour". Apparently, I was part of the seven day team; the rest were to follow two days later and then carry on to Montego Bay or Cuba; and one person (guess who!) was going to tour the island with his girlfriend on their own in a Fiat Panda. Good job this lot didn't have any part in anything that required co-ordination such as production or military exercises....

Nets were organised at the Edgbaston Indoor Cricket school, the highlight of October for me. To practise alongside the cream of Warwickshire hopefuls was great. I even dragged my Dad along to share the experience of a lifetime. Well, we could go again for £56 ! It was also turning out to be quite expensive as a trip to Ron Flowers Sports Shop in Wolverhampton had me buying a new £90 bat, chest guard, whites and a helmet. Mr. Hemmings bought some special pants to hold his box, but I wasn't sure if that was for his benefit, or Gwen's! Maybe he liked posing about in them?

Getting there

So the days came and Monday morning dawned grey and rainy. I loaded the car with an extensive array of just about everything, put bleach down the toilet as mamma always says you should before a holiday, and went off to the collect Mr. Hemmings. We then drove the 120 miles to Uxbridge, dropped the car off and were bused to Heathrow were we met up with the other memebrs of "The Birmingham Six"! After hanging around for two hours (mainly in the bar), we boarded Air Jamaica JM002 to Kingston and the dream was turning out to be a reality. The 11 hours in the air was accounted for the effects of the hurricane season - the plane fought a 150 mph headwind; at one stage I thought we were going to end up in Romania!

Eventually we landed at Kingston International Airport and soon found the runway was the only decent stretch of tarmac in Jamaica that didn't have a pothole in it! Having retrieived our baggage, we went though immigration and then customs. We were greeted by a stern looking woman who gave us he usual questions; who are you. were you from, what you doin' here. At this point when Dan Brown, bowler not author, mentioned "Cricket" and the woman immediately changed tone: "Are you from Birmingham Libraries"? "Yes". "Then you are playing at my cricket club - get the rest of the team here and I'll sort you all out!". She was in fact one of the committee members at Melbourne CC. I can't remember her asking us if we had any bats with us.......

We were in for one more surprise, but that will have to wait for the next installment!

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Copyright 2005 A.G.Morris