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Hurley’s tour to Somerset and Devon got underway on Wednesday 20th July. Originally supposed to be a Kep Doon XI (the team that plays Hurley each August Bank Holiday Sunday and mostly made up of ex-Hurley Sunday 2s) it was re-designated a Hurley Touring XI  - when Kep Doon failed to provide any players! Big thanks are due to those who responded to my email back in May, which produced the extra players needed to make a squad. Unfortunately one of those had to withdraw the day before the tour started due to family reasons but very fortuitously and at the last moment we managed to pick up Jim Fenwick, accomplished keeper/batsman and veteran of previous tours. Also, special mention and big thanks  to Steve Taylor’s brother Mike, one of the most enthusiastic and all-round-talented cricketers, who made a 3-hour journey to join us for the Thursday afternoon game then drove back the same evening. Outstanding.

First game was the feature fixture, a T20 evening match against Lynton and Lynmouth played at the iconic Valley of The Rocks ground.  L & L batted first and were restricted to 110 for 9, mostly due to three run-outs (the work of James and Steve) and wickets from Tanvir (2), Steve (2), Mo and Scott.  Hurley’s reply received a set-back in the third over when Tanvir on umpire duty raised the finger against TM on an LBW shout, clearly not having read the Terms and Conditions of Touring. Jim (21), James (26) and Dan (31 not out) then set up victory though a late wobble was righted when Tanvir came out and fittingly pulled his first ball for four to win the match with a couple of overs to spare.

Watchet , competitive as ever (played twice before, 1-1)  put out a strong team for the Thursday afternoon 40-over game and racked up 237 in their 40 overs. Mo and Dan took two wickets each and Scott an excellent 4-37, aided by some keen catching in the gulley area where Kuldeep took three and Tanvir two. Steve also held a couple in the outfield and another run-out helped rein in the Watchet batsman. Hurley’s reply centred round a wonderful knock of 94 by James T, off just 66 balls. Jim kept things steady at the other end and went on to a well-played 55, but from James’s departure at 159-4 the innings went in to decline as the light started to fade. Watchet’s quick bowler, saved for this part of the game, made scoring difficult as he ran in through the sea mist and back-drop of pine trees on the top side of the ground and Hurley were all out for 213 in their final over. Bert held firm with 4 not out from 13.

The final game, out in the country at Timberscombe, was another T20 and featured a number of Watchet players making up the numbers: four for Timberscombe, one for Hurley!  A wicket apiece for Mo, Steve and Dan, another run-out, and some tidy overs from Bert kept Timberscombe to 148-4. Hurley were always struggling in reply (opening quick bowler running in from the setting sun, slow-bowler bowling too slowly, fielders in all the right places) but Kuldeep had some fun with a well-struck 25. Contributions from TM (17) Dan (12) James (11) and Scott(10) were not enough and the game ended slightly unusually when Steve batting at 11 was stumped off his first ball, reprieved when it was called unfair dismissal (taken in front) then legally stumped next ball. Does that count as a ‘pair’?

Highlights away from the cricket included Mo’s surprising finesse on the pool table; Bert finding and persuading a fish restaurant to stay open and serve us at 11 o’clock on the last night – food was very good too (in return they just want 10 recommendations on Tripadvisor); Tanvir in detailed discussion ordering the food on our Asian dining experience (top marks); Dan playing his best-ever round of golf round the Minehead links to comfortably win the three-ball (against Jim and TM); everyone making breakfast each day. Don’t know who won the poker night as a hefty few scotch and drys and a slim wallet suggested it wasn’t me. Bert and TM maintained a Tour tradition of being last up until the final night when TM departed before the morning light, having lost focus on the pool table.

So again many thanks to all the Tourists that made this such a success:

Steve Taylor, Captain

Bert Simon

Dan Masters

Jim Fenwick

Mo Basharat

Kuldeep Nothey

Tanvir Ahmed

James Taylor

Scott Taylor

Mike Taylor

Not forgetting Jim’s wife, Arvind, son Josh and Tanvir’s son Aayan who supported enthusiastically and enjoyed some fine cricket.

Lastly, I should mention that we have been invited back again next year by Lynton & Lynmouth and Watchet, so make room in your diaries – families welcome! The Stones Hotel looked after us extremely well, good rooms, pool table, all night bar service, good breakfast, great coffee. TM had to instruct waitress to in future refuse him a second cup of coffee after indulging on the first morning: rather like a good cocktail, one is never enough; two is too many, three is never enough…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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