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The Hurley Tour of Somerset 2017

Tuesday 11th July 

The meet-up point: The Hinnell Residence. Pat, playing butler and maid served up a fine selection of bacon butties and filtered coffee to the Taylor's (3), Graham's (2; 1 to follow) and Simoes (1). 

Weather forecast offered little hope and lived up to expectations on a long-ish motorway journey, happily supported by Haribo and Maoam sweet selections and sickly sweet pop ballads by DJ Steve FX. 

The Stones Hotel in Minehead has catered the touring Hurley-ites on previous occasions, and continued throughout. Pat Hinnell lived up to his commitment for arrival drinks at the hotel - who'd say no to a 7.2% cider? Not me - the first of seven over the course of the evening! 

With no expectation of any cricket we headed over to Stogumber CC as they had still offered to run a BBQ. The tourists still enjoyed themselves on the outfield with Frisbee, football and cricket related games offering some kind of activity. Alas, the food offered fell into the sub-10% meat content and numerous visits to the lavatories over the next day or so followed. 

Late evening entertainment revolved around 'killer' on both the pool table and darts board - chief targets appeared to be Jeff Dawson and Mike Walton – seen as the main threats by the Graham boys.   All in all great fun. 

Wednesday 12th July

Pat set the benchmark for fitness with an early morning run, solo. The rest headed for full English fry-ups with commendable service from the waiting team. An enjoyable round of crazy golf, Joe Graham and Mike Walton proving victors on a course needing some serious maintenance.

Then it was off to the beach, for keepie-uppies- definitely best to stick to cricket when you can barely make double figures. 

With the weather improving, Watchet offered the first competitive game, 40 over a side. With coastal views and a rather large playing field, Watchet posted a competitive 250+ score. Scott Taylor picked up 3 wickets, Malcolm Graham picked up his first Hurley wicket and good spirit was maintained throughout. In response, Hurley struggled to keep up with the required rate. 'Traitor' Nigel Haines used to make up Watchet's full complement of 11, picked up three wickets. James Taylor, showed his ability with a quick fire 30 odd, in support of Veggie as Hurley got themselves back in contention, and despite becoming the first touring Centurion, Veggie was last man out with Hurley 50 short of their target. 

A commendable curry was devoured by the hungry squad before returning to base for more bar sports and drinks for many. Minehead officially shuts down for the day at about 8.30pm, where falling leaves can be heard, such is the silence.

Mike Walton showed admirable patience, much like we do with his batting, in co-ordinating a poker tournament, with many non-players amongst the ranks, but usual suspects were there for the showdown, with Mike coming out on top. 

Thursday 13th July

MW headed home after breakfast to manage his team of Berks Over 50s at Wargrave. The seasoned tourers, Pat, Daniel (Masters), Jim (Fenwick) headed for a serious round of golf, while the 'freshers' contented themselves with ice-creams, a 'sold down the river' trip to Butlins, or a steam train journey that frankly went on for days, with questionable singing throughout by Mo, Henry and Jo supported by professional singer, Steve Taylor. There was also questionable sexuality of many folk supporting the train network, but we are in the West Country.

By this stage, the 'Bank of Graham' was suffering signs of fatigue.

The welcome sight of Bert and Mo swelled the ranks as the team headed off to Minehead for a 20:20 bash. A target of 150+ was set - Henry Graham bowled well for little return, Jeff Dawson bowled less than well for reward, although he thought otherwise - variety it's called, and Mo offered some late respite from some heavy hitters. In response, the Taylor brothers put together an unbeaten 90* partnership but just fell short of the necessary target. 

Team Fish 'n' Chips followed in the evening at Tom's Restaurant and a fine selection of wines supplied by Pat Hinnell. Joe Graham, away from the watchful eye of Malcolm was guzzling wine like it was going out of fashion, and falling in love with the waitress, while Bert, with his refined pallet, tasted the wine like on a vineyard in France, before committing. 

'Killer' pool professionals Dan Masters and Bert Simon headed back to base for early practice, and for Bert to showcase his skills and adherence to the laws of pool - he even accessed them on Google but reverted to the 'Gentleman's D', which had faded on the table. 

The standard was typically poor; Jeff Dawson was not impressed and challenged anyone to a game of skill. No one actually cared tbh. 

Bert had brought his guitar, and songs went on long through the night. Those hard of hearing would have benefitted as, despite the effort, no recording contracts will be following in the post. 

Friday 14th July 

Once again a no-show from the Graham Boys at breakfast - too much singing and heavy heads. A final wander down Minehead High Street - the traditional sweetie shop saw quite a lot of activity - maybe down to the sweets, or possibly the attractive lady - MO's chat up line of 'You've got great teeth for someone working in a sweet shop' didn't have the desired effect. 

The majority of tourists headed to the Hollywood Bowl in Taunton for some 10 pin bowling - lots of fun, and more accurate bowling than is often found on the cricketing pitch, with the younger Taylors showing real zest, with Steve T proving reliable line and length. 

The Grahams and Mo initially looked as if they had never seen 10 pin bowling before, but improved with experience. 

Brompton Ralph offered the final 20:20 game and also the most picturesque setting. Henry Graham blew away the top order with 4-7, Malcolm picked up a further wicket and Bert told Steve Taylor ' you don't know the rules' having been called for a no-ball. Steve replied that there are laws, not rules. Touché. 

Having opened up the game, Brompton Ralph scored way too many - 135-ish and showed more ability with the ball. Masters and Veggie offered a patient opening stand, but little else followed until James Taylor provided some quick-fire runs and with Veggie hitting 62*, Hurley just came up a few runs short. 

So, despite 0/3 much fun was had by all, talk of the 2018 tour has revolved around Croatia, Ibiza and the New Forest. I'm holding out for India. 

Thanks to Pat for his sterling efforts in organising the tour and well done to all those who participated to make it an enjoyable experience.

By Dave Simoes.

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