Hi all, it’s your man ‘Long John’ back for another (Portugal edition) match report – what could go wrong?! After a long and tiring day in transit, the main Ploughmans camp rolled into the team hotel during the early hours on Thursday night weary eyed but excited for the campaign ahead. The Hotel was a 3 star but with room for a 4th and provided a sensational backdrop for the many shenanigans that were to take place. Friday 8th June saw game 1 of the 2018 tour kick off with a day/nighter (Thunder, that’s a cricket match played under lights if you’re reading this) against the confident Miranda Do Corvo outfit. The great Tom Lonnen was Captain, leading a side of Britto, Rich ‘Hands Up Fish’ Buckley, Freeway Keogh, The S-Guest, Dr. Chairman Chau, The Human Shisha Ashish Paul, Liam Salsa-Menendez, AJ, Boydy and yours truly. The morning saw heavy rain and many worried Ploughman at the possibility of the match being called off, but the clouds eased over the afternoon and presented great conditions. As Plough were kindly escorted to the ground by the local club volunteers, we knew we were in for an amazing day after seeing the facility on hand, including sizeable grandstand (That Barras would later clear in one hit), sweeping views of the mountains, a DJ, a never ending bar fully equipped with beer drinking records (that Plough would eventually annihilate), practice nets and bowling machine on hand.
Plough were quick to knock the top off a few cold ones at the bar, and get both the game and beer drinking record chase underway. Lonnen weaved his magic to win the toss and elect to bat. It would be he and the Maltese Marvel Stephen Britto to open the batting and kick the 2018 tour campaign off. Things didn’t go as planned for Britto, very unlucky to be given, especially in the leading form he is in this season. That did not stop the Ploughmen showering him in plastic ducks as he walked off. Lonnen was in ripping form and belted the Miranda Do Corvo attack to all areas of the park. When Tom was in his 40s, the Plough support crew up in the grandstand checked in with the scorer to ask how far is he off a half century. The scorer replied ‘He needs 7’, to which the Big Hedge Fund Matt Bolshaw and the Roaming Tongue Matt Spencer both interpreted as ‘he’s on 47′. The next few moments led to an absolute stitch up for poor Tom as he pasted the next ball to the boundary to bring up what he thought was his 50 given the huge cheers that arose from the crowd and lifted the bat to thank them, however he was really on 47 and got skittled next ball! Freeway Keogh was looking very solid until he got bowled playing a forward defensive stroke and stood frozen in the same shot position for the next 30 seconds until eventually walking off. The next highlight came from AJ Prasad who sank 8 beers before anchoring a 50 run partnership for the last 2 wickets (30 Prasad, 10 Silva, 10 Boydy?..what a tail!!!) and not only helped Plough bat out the overs, but lifted us to a respectable score over 190.
Lunch was absolutely incredible, and I would have given it a 9/10. Some amazing Indian and exotic foods cooked freshly at the ground and gave the Plough something other than the endless beers to consume. It wasn’t long before Ploughmans were to take the field under the bright floodlights and get stuck into the Miranda Do Corvo batsman. AJ Prasad and myself opened up with the white ball and clogged up the runs, putting pressure on the oppo early. It wasn’t long before AJ struck with the first of his 4 wickets after one of the openers lost their patience and hooked one to square leg where Dr. Chairman Chau was lurking. The Chairman dived forward, snared the ball off his toes and the rest was history. AJ continued to dominate and rip through as Lonnen kept things tight also. Ash Paul and Grayzer chipped away at the oppo before the ol’ combo bowled Grayzer, caught Silva came into play again after one of Miranda Do Corvo’s key batsman hit Grayzer up into the Portugal night sky to be caught on the boundary which was a big wicket and swung things back in Plough’s corner. Spencer caused chaos after invading the field like a stray Border Collie in a bit to capture the action for the club media department, however was told to leave after one of the batsman complained to the umpire. Boydy was like a gazelle in the field and had the crowd going berserk anytime he went near the ball. Rich Buckley was going well with the gloves all night but an unfortunate slip cost us his services after going down and injuring his knee out there on the wet surface which bought Duray on to the field and Freeway taking over behind the stumps. It wasn’t long before Plough would wrap things up and roll Miranda Do Corvo for 120 odd chasing 190, after they built a lot of momentum during the run chase. Man of the match was clearly AJ Prasad with his 30 run, 4 wicket and solid fielding display. Special mention to the Captain Tom Lonnen who not only made some pivotal field placements, but organised this game and the tour and it was not only a tremendous success, but an unforgettable experience.
As many of us are aware, the gorgeous Matt Spencer does a tremendous job off field and his media efforts interviewing members of the Plough tour squad and oppo did not go unnoticed. The Heart Break Kid produced an absolute jaffer interviewing this man from Miranda Do Corvo CC who was more confident than members of the Dream Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games heading into their clash against Angola. One of the great characters that Portugal had to offer and well worthy of a mention.
Some of the highlights from this this legend’s interview included the following quotes ‘The pitch was easy for me, I was playing big shots and they were connecting well’, ‘Their (Ploughmans’) bowling was ok, it was not that hard and was coming onto the bat nicely and I was striking the ball cleanly’, ‘Bowling is my key capability, which is why I always manage to do well’, all whilst calmly whipping out a dart and reminiscing about the day’s play. Good fun and gags for all and definitely set the tone for the rest of the tour.
I will take this opportunity to finish by discussing some events post game 1 on Friday night and the early hours into Saturday which still qualify for the match report. Although I have copped a fair bit of undue criticism for ‘not being on tour’ at certain points, it was Si Carson and myself that were the last two people to go to bed from the entire tour group after a long session that lasted until 5:30am. I did not see many others awake that night to be fair. Freeway, Carson, Grayzer, Boydy, Freddie and myself gave the hotel bar a fair rattle that night/morning and some good banter exchanged. The bar was unstaffed so an honesty system was required after many generously poured ‘green’ shots were had including Pisang Ambon, Midori and Absinthe. Upon looking at the sheet which Boydy and Si were maintaining that was supposed to track what drinks we had consumed so that the next day we could reimburse the hotel, it simply stated ‘The Green Stuff’ followed by an unreadable amount of ticks. That was one of many fun nights on tour and a great way to end a solid day/nighter win in Portugal!
Long John Silv