Tour 2023: Le Championnat Des Escargots (Margaux, Bordeaux, France)

Played: 0 // Won: 0 // Lost: 0
Runs Scored: 0 // Runs Conceded: 0 // Wickets Taken: 0 // Wickets Lost: 0

Tour Party Playing Squad to Bordeaux: Hasan Ahmed, Shahed Ahmed, Nick Berry (capt), James Brown,
Lewis Brown, Will Freeland, Dan Gibson, Mahfooz Mazunder, Rupon Miah, Chris Redhead, Alf Rehman (v-capt),
Sunny Sahota (wk), Marcus Walters

Tour Party Barmy Army to Bordeaux: Kirsty Redhead, Gee Sagoo

It’s 5:30am. I’m awake, showered and packed. Dog’s been out for a pee. Baby milk bottle made.
Toddler still asleep. It’s time for tour!

What could possibly go wrong.

My 2.5 hour journey to Bristol airport was to be all the more entertaining with my accompanying wingman in the form of Alfonso. So as I stepped out of my front door to greet him with a viking hug, I was surprised to see our tour anchor, reclined at 180 degrees in his car. For those that know “The Phonz”, you will know that this is a man that doesn’t do things by halves, and as we will later discover in this year’s story, that reputation would prove only to be enhanced further. For now, he had driven 3 hours from Alton Towers to Princes Risborough, through the night, fresh from a night of wine and regional rep rapping with ‘Abandonman’ and the Majestic massif.

We hit the road, but after coffee and sausage & egg McMuffins, the panic set in around whether we had left ourselves enough time to get to our flight. Fear not reader, as we arrived at our short stay car park with 1.5 hours to spare. As safe as chasing down 300 with a couple of overs to spare.

What could possibly go wrong.

Well, the signs were there to see soon after, as my kit bag, tightly packed with tour essentials (bat, pads, gloves, helmet, shirt shirt, ceramic snail trophy…) burst at the seams, leaving my crisp whites in a heap on the puddle covered floor. A fitting image for what was to come.

Still, we got to check in, and after plenty of packing tape around my kit bag, we got ourselves through security. But wait, The Phonz was in trouble! As like all cricketing sensei’s, this master couldn’t bear to be separated from his batting sword and thus removed it from his bag to be at one with it on the plane. This however, didn’t get past the eyes of the third umpire at security, and with no reviews left, the bat was sent back down to the pavilion to be locked away. Like a batsman walking off the pitch, shaking his head as he re-watched his dismissal on the big screen, Alfonso made his way up the stairs, where we were greeted by our fellow Knockers in the form of Gibbo, Marcus, Lewis and Sunny. More Viking hugs took place and we made our way to the gate. Before we knew it, we were on the plane! 

What could possibly go wrong.

The WhatsApp group fired up with a photo of our Will and Soulman on the plane from Gatwick, sat next to each other, smiling and loving life, but those smiles were to soon be wiped away as a follow up message alerted us to their arrival at Bordeaux coinciding with a bomb threat and airport evacuation resulting in them sitting on the runway for the entire morning session. More panic set in on our plane at Bristol, feeling like we were in a scene from ‘Airplane’ as flight attendants updated us with messages at 5 minute intervals to say the airport had been evacuated and then being closed again. Following the final call to confirm that our flight had been cancelled for the day, we scrambled around to get ourselves on the next available plane on the following day which would leave at 11:15. We were all booked on except for Sunny and The Phonz who would have to travel at the same time but with a 3 hour stop off in Nice.

The lovely folk at Bristol Airport Hilton were more than happy to turn our frowns upside down and pump us with the most expensive continental lager in Bristol throughout the afternoon. We booked in for the night, and took a breather in the hotel lounge whilst looking longingly at the airport departure board and playing “Guess what country that plane is flying to.” (Surprisingly difficult!)

Hours passed, and after various of incoming photos from Will and Soulman enjoying their romantic steak and wine evening in our lovely Bordeaux villa, we decided to leave our hotel and head out to the streets to the lively Neighbourhood of Nailsea. A few bottles of wine, a game of 1970s Trivial Pursuit and a lovely Italian meal later, we went in search of one last stop off to finish our eventful first day of tour. And The Royal Oak did not disappoint.  A few more beers, games of pool and ten pin bowling and then a taxi back to our hotel for bed, but not before the local West Country boys, Marcus and Iceman had enjoyed a triple scotch nightcap. 

Our first day of tour had it all. Tomorrow was a new day, and we were ready to get our adventure back on track.

What could possibly go wrong?

Friday … A view from the Blabla Bus

Like many a test match, Day 2/5 turned out to be the most eventful of our trip, whether for movement, partnerships or ominously setting the course for the rest of the journey ..

For the majority of the group, a hastily rescheduled Bristol­Bordeaux flight, actually arriving in the nick of time to experience the best that Giscours had to offer .. A sensational tasting at the beautiful Chateau in the heart of the Haut-Medoc, home to 4 of the world’s finest wine estates; for Will & Grace a memorable lunch for two encounter with some tripe (hoped to be “steak trites”) in the picturesque town of St Emilion just a long stones throw over
la Gironde (they had to drive it, Ed)!

Meanwhile the engine room of our playing strength had arrived at the villa to set up shisha pipes, having seen their choice of transport or Mafooz’s turnover charged sportster towed across central France .. For Sunny, a long nap on the runway at Bristol and a dash through Nice Cote d’Azur without his wingman; for Alphonso a missed connection at Terminal 2 followed by a lucky encounter and a night bus to Bordeaux .. And for Soul man the responsibility to set up the Villa for success a task taken with aplomb .. no burnt pizza or warm sagres this year, Ed ….

The core of the 3rd TKCC tour party would finally be united pitch-side at 10.30 the following morning, 38 hours behind schedule … All we needed now was for the clouds to part and the cricket to provide even half the entertainment of Day 3 ..

To come


To come

Tour awards

1 /Best bowling – SUNNY (what’s he doing looking after the ‘keeping gear, Ed!)

2/ Best batting – ICEMAN (16* and pairs match winner)

3/ Best moment – HASAN / Shahid DUEL

4/ Best new tourist.. CHRIS

5/ Escargots Trophy for Top Tourist.. SOULMAN

Rookie Error Nominations
MARCUS “Sans chaussures”
ALF – most expensive journey & jumping in muddy puddles
SUNNY – sans keeping kit

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