He describes it as “the worst day of my life”. On this day in 2018, the first XI opened their Southern Premier League Division One campaign – as the reigning Champions – with an away day to Ventnor.
Throughout the day today, Steve Wright regales his memories of the day, a day that he diligently describes as “eventful”. Enjoy ……
7am – Woke up, checking my bag making sure I have plenty of socks, my whites and most importantly my towel….
7.30am – Leave the house excited for the opening game of the season to defend our title at Ventnor.
8.10am – Quick stop at Rownhams for a McMuffin and coffee, good coffee that!
8.30am – Meet at Loperwood for the bus. Johnser, who is usually miserable at the best of times, was in full swing.
9.30am – Board the ferry to the Island, some chat from visitors on the outside deck, the Calmore boys are on board – ahoy there!
10.30am – Arrive on the Island, drive past the White Hart which looks a dreadful pub by Winchester standards ……
11.15am – Arrive at Ventnor, locals looking on as Lavelle’s stars of ’17 disembark the bus. However, a tired looking Rosie, Stu Bailey with a gin set and an out-of-shape Pra step off. Is this Calmore’s version of the Lashings World XI instead ……
12noon – With a wet pre-season, it probably made Lav’s decision to bowl first if he won the toss easier and he did ….
12.33pm – Looks to be a good decision as I dismiss the Ventnor opener with the fourth ball of the match. Another £3 to charity …..
1.45pm – 10 overs, 1-33, my job is done. Now to put some pressure on, keeping them under 200 is definitely on the cards here with Lav, Newts, Pra, Rosie and Jim …..
3.23pm – 49 overs completed, Ventnor rack up 275. Hardy the only man able to run in the field after Taylor fell flat on his face running up the famous hill. Stu Bailey, with his infamous ‘f***ing ban me mate, I’m at the Sports Centre next week’! as he questions a couple of umpire decisions before being thrown left and right by a wayward Newts….
3.33pm – Someone has to bowl the last over, it was a dreadful moment. Luckily, I got my 10 out the way. Pra, who was taken off early, was the chosen one. He farted out his first ball in agony and finished the innings. A painful over for the majority watching. 290 the total…..
3.40pm – Tired, sore and dejected. Tea to look forward to. Ventnor tucked in by the time we had made it up the hill. Two triangles of ham sandwich and a dry piece of Swiss roll left, brilliant ….
4.45pm – After a good start to the innings mainly because of Johnser (shock) it went downhill … Jimmy spent most of his stood at the non-strikers end calling no-balls for the umpire doing his best to get a ban. No shock to see him get triggered a few overs later, it might have been a no-ball ….
5.10pm – Rosie attempts a quick single before sending Pra turning like the QE2 only to fall flat on his backside ….
6.00pm – I walk out at number 10 greeted by mid-off asking me “how the f*** did you lot win the league?” My reply was simple – “Incredible, isn’t it!” …
6.35pm – We fall just 97 runs short of the target. Tired, sore and wanting to get on the ferry as quickly as possible. Once I find out how the f***ing showers work! ….
7.00pm – Starving after let’s say a very ordinary tea, we were pleasantly surprised to see the BBQ ongoing. The good blokes we are, we stayed and had a couple of beers despite dishing up one of the worst performances in living memory ….
8.30pm – Finally leave Steephill after an eventful days cricket. I love playing here but this is a day I want to erase from my memory as quickly as possible ….
8.45pm – The locals look on in horror as Gunner attempts Zig Zag Hill, meanwhile Stu has now completed his fourth gin bottle …..
9.05pm – We are halfway up Zig Zag Hill.
9.31pm – We have missed the ferry by one minute. I do not f***ing believe it …..
9.35pm – The White Hart seems a good place to spend the next hour. Meanwhile me, Lav and Gunner strike gold finding a Chinese fish and chip shop in East Cowes one of the rare positives of the day ….
9.55pm – We head back to the White Hart to find the juke box in full swing, the majority of the team necking pints including Lav who I saw gobble a large sausage and chips just 10 minutes before. This is getting messy. Plastic glasses are now being used ….
10.30pm – We board the final ferry of the day finally. The bar closes at 11, we best make use of it …
10.35pm – Jimmy gets the round in, he asks the bartender for a coke. The tender replies “how many”. Jimmy replies “about 4 bags” and burst out laughing. Classic ….
10.50pm – After some complaints from the front of the ferry, the bar closed early and a cone is seen being thrown the length of E deck. Where is Johnser? ….
11.30pm – Back on mainland, just need to drop Pra off in Shirley before heading back to the ground …..
12.00am – After literally throwing Pra and his bag off the bus, it’s now Sunday morning and we are back at the ground. Di, who was ready to pick Westy up at 10.45 is now on stand by to pick him up, that isn’t fair Westy … I will drop you back home ….
12.45am – After a 17-hour day, I finally arrive back home with the buzz and excitement of the new season well and truly gone after the first week. It can only get better from here, oh wait, it’s Andover away next week. Oh how I’ve missed cricket …..