FLIGHT DAY AND DAY 1: After general confusion, and the inability of Nando’s to host a party of 22 (something which we probably could have seen coming), most tourists managed to make it to GBK for a pre-tour burger before the group headed to Frames to play some truly atrocious snooker.
After check-in, the group made the predictable decision to head to Spoons to watch the end of the England/Ireland match; a flight leaving for Dublin meant that we were largely in the minority, and were surrounded by jubilant/drunk Irishmen.
Not much of note happened on the flights, with the exception that the back bar ran out of lager halfway through; Jake Probert and Rajakanthan were upgraded to premium economy for no obvious reason; and the entire party had to run across the entirety of Dubai International Airport to catch our connecting flight which was scheduled to leave 45 mins after our arrival.
Upon arrival we were greeted with perfect temperatures and humidity, and made our way to the Never @ Home hostel, where the presence of multiple nearby restaurants and cheap lager meant that all tourists had a perfectly pleasant evening around the pool, looking ahead to our plans for the tour, followed by ludicrously cheap burgers and steaks at nearby restaurants.
Tomorrow is our main sightseeing day in Cape Town: Table Mountain, Boulders Bay and the Cape of Good Hope looking to be particular highlights.
DAY 2: CAPE PENINSULAR TOUR: Under Kynaston’s orders the party arose at 6am for an action-packed day of sightseeing around Cape Town. After a very brief breakfast the tour party headed to Table Mountain for our first excursion of the day.
Table Mountain proved to be as picturesque as we expected it to be from our first impressions, providing exceptional views across Cape Town and the ocean, views the likes of which many clubmen hadn’t seen before.
After the obligatory selfies/profile pictures (looking at no one in particular), the group headed down the mountain and proceeded to move onwards to a cruise around the Cape peninsula to see a seal colony in their natural environment, which was a real treat for the nature nerds and instagrammers alike.
Following this, we all headed right to the end of the peninsula to Cape Point, which continued the theme of staggering views, this time both looking back on the mountains, and also the vast expanse of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, at the points at which their current meet.
After a nice lunch of seafood soup and cod, the party headed to the Boulders Bay penguin colony. Watching penguins in the 30-degree heat proved to be an unusual experience but equally as memorable, as we were able to get up close to a very large colony.
Finally the group headed home, with plans to head out to the opening of Cape Town Uni’s new cricket pavilion, the day before we face them in the field!
DAY 3: MATCHDAY 1 .v. UCT: After last night, several weary clubmen rose ready to face some of South Africa’s finest cricketers, under the leadership of Bozza.
After arrival, a brief net session and warm up in the midday heat, followed by the news that we would be bowling first, found many clubmen scrambling to find sun cream. After we took to the field, the discovery was made that at least one of the UCT batsman had first-class caps, not an enticing prospect for our first game of the season.
What happened next was a dismantling at the hands of some exceptional batsman (and some average fielding). UCT went big from the off and no-one went unpunished, with economy rates ranging from large to downright ludicrous (for example, Aneesh going for 32 in his only over). Credit must go to two UCT batsmen who didn’t believe in running and hit some absolutely ludicrous sixes off everybody’s bowling (Jake Probert in particular going for two huge sixes over cow). One batsman scoring 186 and one scoring 130 as UCT posted 427-5 from their 40 overs. Jayaram and Jake were the pick of the bowlers, collecting two apiece, and getting slightly less dispatched than the rest of us (Ed Fox also bowling a tidy line and length).
After this pretty comprehensive dismantling, our batsmen were expecting a very similar bowling display. UCT to their credit took pity on us and allowed us to score some runs off their part-timers.
This is not to discredit our batting effort, as overseas import Brebner Griffin carried his bat for a well composed 63*, being resolute in defence and scoring solidly through the innings. A few lusty blows from Millman and Dan Lewis took our score to around 160.
All in all we lost by around 270 runs, if any club badgers would care to find an example of a heavier defeat, Bozza would be particularly interested to hear about it.
The day was capped off with a few beers at a busy bar in the Cape Town waterfront, as the club look ahead to our trip to the Stellenbosch winelands tomorrow.
DAY 4: STELLENBOSCH WINELANDS: After yesterday’s drubbing at the hands of UCT, most tourists were looking forward to a much more relaxed day of sipping wine on our journey through the Stellenbosch Winelands.
With a more reasonable start time, we began the journey to Stellenbosch in high spirits, our first stop being at the Baeyerkloof Vineyard. Upon arrival, many clubmen were thrilled to discover that we would be tasting 8 wines, Jaimin even declaring this first rosé “alright“.
The wines were of a very high caliber, with most clubmen agreeing that the South African Pinotage was a fantastic find, it’s likely that several of us will be pushing the boundary of how much we can bring back.
After a friendly chat with some American tourists, the party bought their wine and headed onto the second vineyard, Blaauwklippen.
After a brief tour of the winemaking process, most clubmen were keen to get started on the tasting, which was of an equally high standard, with many clubmen spending their rand on bottles of Zinfandel this time.
At this point the tourists tipsily made their way to the third vineyard for lunch. We were served an abundance of steak, fish and chicken; the vegetarian option being the side order of chips. The meal did well to sober up some clubmen before we headed to the Waterford vineyard for our final tasting session.
The Waterford vineyard proved to be the most picturesque of the day’s excursions, providing many a photo opportunity for our tour guide (whether we receive these photos is another matter, stay tuned). Our sommelier, Trent, was a fantastic bloke who managed to wake most of us up from our wine-induced slumber with some great chat.
Following our final wine tasting, everyone made their way to our second hotel, the Stellenbosch Hotel, which provided a different experience to our centre of Cape Town hostel.
Clubmen ended the evening preparing for the Wednesday night in Stellenbosch, which is supposedly one of the biggest student nights in the country, keep an eye out for tomorrow’s update!
DAY 5: REST DAY: After a very drawn-out, lasy day of wine tasting, followed by an action packed student night out in Stellenbosch, most tourists were ready to have a day at leisure.
The party had several different plans for the day: some deciding to sleep in and others deciding to get up and explore.
The group congregated in the early afternoon and after some administrative crises (plural, don’t ask), the party diverged: some leaving for golf, some for Stellenbosch sightseeing, some for a cheetah sanctuary, and some for bed.
Golf: TL;DR – no-one cares
After an über related cock-up causing Bozza to leave Randall behind, the reduced group left for the Devonvale golf course. What followed was 18 holes on the immensely picturesque course.
After many selfies/group shots at the first tee, the two-ball of Bexson and Tasty sped away in their rented buggy (shock). The stingier fourball of ABG, Boz, Goodyear and Raj set off at a much slower pace, taking in the beautiful views and local wildlife who roamed the course freely.
Bexson and Tasty finished their round in quick time and had already sent their first bottle of Pinotage by the time that the fourball had finished their round (after Bozza nearly killed a springbok with a wayward
6-iron). The fourball returned pretty drenched as their slow pace saw them caught up in the first South African rainfall for months (rumours of people applauding in the clubhouse due to the serious drought).
Cheetah Sanctuary: Some clubmen made the spotaneous decision to visit a “local” cheetah sanctuary and were rewarded with a brilliant and informative experience.
A short encounter with Magique, the cheetah followed by a very detailed tour of the other animals, including but not limited to jackals, carcacal and servals. All in all, a successful day was made in spite of the lack of intraclub fixture that we were meant to have organised.
Sightseeing: the trio of Mezza, Probert and Fox left to explore the rest of the town. Rather bizarrely they ended up exploring the university grounds, and decided the best way to spend their afternoon off was to attend a maths lecture on campus.
DAY 6: MATCHDAY 2 .v. STELLENBOSCH UNI: The tourists arose in their typical lazy fashion, ready to face more of South Africa’s finest young cricketers, lead by Jaimin/J$/J£/J¥.
After being informed by Kynaston that the university was only a ten minute walk away, clubmen set off from the hotel with bags in tow. What Kynaston didn’t appreciate was that we’d actually have to navigate through the university to actually find the cricket pitch, a painful process which took about half an hour before a nice member of the university staff came and took our bags in his van. The tourists could now begin preparing for the task ahead.
Unfortunately disaster struck at the beginning of the day when opening bat Tasty missed a leg stump full toss from Murphy during nets, hitting his already dodgy ankle and ruling him out of the day’s play.
Rhino was dragged in as a replacement, and following Jaimin’s team talk (“so long as we don’t lose as badly as Bozza’s team, we’re fine), the team headed out into the field.
The team immediately got off to a better start than the team in Cape Town, as Jayaram took three wickets in his opening spell, including a spectacular caught and bowled that had the entire viewing party stunned in disbelief.
After the opening spell from Jay and Murphy, things immediately got worse as their number 4 took a liking to Jarris and Chase in particular, dispatching them all over the pitch (Jarris going for 57 in his first 3). Mercifully the bloke retired after scoring a 44-ball ton, and eventually UoS were restricted to 270-6 in their 30 overs.
After lunch, Dan Lewis got the tourists off to a good start with his usual efficiency, scoring well through cover and point, before getting out just after drinks (this time miraculously making it into the 40s).
After Aneesh’s defensive vigil was ended (7 from about 17 overs), the middle order collapsed losing four wickets for one run. Rhys Probert was run out for a golden (any Dan?!), Jaimin was cleaned up first ball (should’ve got forward), and Rajakanthan was also bowled for a duck.
Some lower order hitting saw the team manage to bat their thirty (for 100 runs), aided by some lusty blows from Piers.
All in all, Jaimin’s aim of doing better than against UCT was achieved, although we still suffered a heavy loss. Once again the tourists had a beer at the clubhouse and did fines before heading back home and preparing for another night out in Stellenbosch.
DAY 7: ROBBEN ISLAND: The tourists got up at an inhospitable hour after their night out in order to transfer back to Cape Town for the third part of tour.
After dropping our bags off at the hotel, and pausing to recover, the party set off for Robben Island. The prison on the island was home to hundreds of political prisoners during the time of apartheid, including Nelson Mandela.
After a long ferry trip to the island where clubmen were able to relax in the sun (or catch up on sleep), we arrived to Robben Island where we were greeted by our tour guide, and shown into the prison.
Our tour consisted of the various sections of the prison, including the solitary cells where we were able to see the squalid conditions in which Mandela and the other prisoners were kept, and the communal cells where up to 60 prisoners were kept in the same room at any one time.
Throughout the tour our guide would tell us of the emotional and physical abuse the prisoners suffered at the hands of the prison staff, and their lack of medical attention.
This abuse extended to hard labour; restricting prison visits to two visitors per year for all prisoners, and no children; ritual humiliation during medical examinations; blocking all access to material or news about the outside world, especially pertaining to the struggle against apartheid; and censoring all letters coming into the prison of all good news.
A lot of the quotes from prisoners that were placed in the cells that we were viewing told us of the work of the International Red Cross, who were able to grant the prisoners access to beds (up until the mid-1970s they slept on mats they were forced to weave), sufficient lighting in cells, access to study materials, and he ability to study for degrees.
This was one of the more emotionally significant parts of our time in South Africa so far, and opened our eyes to the harsh reality of what the fight for the end to apartheid meant for these prisoners.
After our tour of the prison we were taken around the island and were able to explore some of its older history, which dates back to the 1600s; and its natural history, as the island is home to an African penguin colony.
Following a brief respite at a shop on the end of the island which is owned by Nelson Mandela’s former prison guard, the tourists made their way to take the ferry home (burgling a place on the nice catamaran rather than the Susan Kruger fishing trawler).
The club had a quiet night in as all 22 of us would be in action in our two T20 fixtures at Bergvliet High School (not Newlands, due to God knows what reasons). Stay tuned to find out what happened.
DAY 8: MATCHDAY 3 .v. St AUGUSTINE CC and CLAREMONT CC: Everyone was in action today as the party was playing in 2 T20 matches at a supposedly first-class ground in Bergvliet High School (read not Newlands). Millman and Kinners were the day’s captains.
Upon arrival at the ground, the small boundaries and uneven outfield made us think that giving the ground first-class status may simply have been chat, and the spinners trembled in fear at the small straight boundaries.
UWMCC bowled first in the first match and were dispatched for 220 odd, with all the bowlers getting tonked around the park (Bozza and Randall going for two huge sixes).
The batting innings proceeded in typical tour fashion, with the exception that Louis managed to record a quick-fire 49 (bottlejob) as UWMCC lost the first game of the day.
The second game against Claremont CC proceeded in almost identical fashion to the first one with UWMCC getting pumped around, although Roche did get the ball seaming around and Rhys Probert chipped in with a nice 3-fer.
The batting innings was more successful than our first attempt with Jaimin scored a rapid 36, including two big sixes, and Piers recording the second fifty of tour with some sensible batting coupled with some big blows.
The club can take lots of positives from the T20s, looking ahead to the Gun XI game tomorrow against Edgemead CC.
DAY 9: MATCHDAY 4 .v. EDGEMEAD CC: Today is the day the Dan Goodyear lead arguably the strongest Gun XI we have been able to put out in recent tours. This coupled with the fact that apparently Gullivers finally managed to get the message across about the playing standard of our tour, meant that the party was in high hopes of recording our first victory in recent memory.
Goodyear lost the toss and UWMCC were put into bat for the first time on tour. One opposition bowler lived up to the South African stereotype of bowling in his own half, but Bexson and ABG saw the opening spells off and put on a decent opening partnership of 40-odd. After Bex got out, the middle order tucked in against some weaker bowling, causing the run rate to increase as Brebbers ticked along past fifty.
Aided by runs from Randall (35) and Millman the team entered into the death overs looking to press on and go big. Unfortunately after the opening bowlers begun digging trenches at both ends, the pitch was starting to degrade, making runs difficult to come by.
This makes ABG’s knock all the more impressive as he continued to score at a good rate in tough conditions, eventually bringing up his hundred from 124 balls. At the other end, the team was looking for some quick runs which unfortunately saw Jaimin run out without facing, and Goodyear plink on to mid on. Despite this, UWMCC ended on 224 from their 40, Brebbers eventually dismissed for 110. Batted, sir.
The bowling innings passed without fanfare, Jezza, Randall and Jaimin bowled very tightly at the top, and managed to dismiss one opener and expose a weaker middle order. This middle order wasn’t up to our three pronged spin attack of Jake, Rhino and Harris, who all returned economies of under 2s, Rhino taking 4 wickets and conceding runs only through wides.
After wrapping up our first win on international tour since it started up again in 2014 (or possibly ever? If there are any old boys out there who can shed some light on this, please get in touch), the club enjoyed a heavy fines session with the Edgemead boys and a good night with them in the pavilion.
Tomorrow will be our last game of cricket, as Bex leads us out against Cape Town CC
DAY 10: MATCHDAY 5 .v. CAPE TOWN CC: Day 10 represented our final matchday against Cape Town CC with Bex as the skipper. A very early start caused the hungover touring party to arrive at the ground in quite a state (a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by the oppo).
After a struggle into the changing rooms we decided to mix the order up a little for the second innings as we would be bowling first.
The game followed a typical UWMCC tour game with bowlers going at high economies chipping in with the odd wicket. Merriman was arguably the pick of the bowlers, bowling 8 on the bounce and only going at fives. Cape Town eventually posted 305 from their 40, with several batsman retiring on 50, the game being played in good spirits all the way through (Bozza in particular fuming at this, wanting others to suffer as he did against UCT).
Other highlights from the bowling innings include Goodyear getting an over at the end, in which he managed to almost max out on fines, and Bozza getting hit for definitely the biggest six on tour (and there’s been some competition, including others from his own bowling).
Mezza and Kinners opened up the batting and both failed to get going, Kynaston run out due to some dodgy calling. Similarly, Rhys managed to get himself out on 8 and Rajakanthan got a duck, not a great start.
Luckily this bought the man, the myth, the legend Ed Fox to the crease, who batted superbly for his 16. Unfortunately the lower middle order of Randall and Bex couldn’t support his knock, and it fell to Dan Goodyear at the death to bring our total to a competitive score. He did this in a typical MCC fashion, punishing the part-time bowling to all parts for a blistering 78 (to his credit there were some very good shots in there).
The tail capitulated in typical fashion (Bozza has now failed to score a boundary, or for that matter 4 runs, in any innings in three years on tour) and UWMCC were all out in the 150s.
The evening was spent enjoying a heavy fines session in the style of the Cape Town lads, proving to be more of a circle than a fines session, complete with their own Mr Chair and traditions which clubmen were very happy to observe.
We’re now looking forward to our last part of tour, the game drive at the Aquila reserve, stay tuned!
DAYS 11 & 12: AQUILA GAME RESERVE AND FLIGHTS: Following an end to the cricket, the tourists headed themselves up for the final part of our tour, our chance to see the Big 5 at the Aquila Game Reserve. We were to have two drives, one upon arrival and an early morning drive before our departure.
After check-in to our accommodation (of a significantly higher standard than our experience at the hands of Cape Town’s finest hipsters), we headed on our evening game drive. Our tour guide would continuously provide us with insight into the plight of Africa’s most endangered animals, often whilst we were mere inches away from them.
In addition to hippos, zebras and springboks; the tourists were able to see four of the big five (lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino), the leopard unfortunately evading us. We had a particularly nervy experience in the lion enclosure, where the alpha male was blocking the road whilst the females were encircling the vehicle, testing the bottle of some of our clubmen to maintain eye contact (or take danger selfies).
Following this experience, clubmen gathered to enjoy a buffet dinner before tour awards were announced (see below) and Bozza collected the fines money in (he would also win fines with a staggering 23, Raj in second place on 22). The fines money allowed us to give a significant tip to our tour guide, Jamie, and driver, Theo, who was with us for the duration of our trip and was of massive help to us for the two weeks!
After an early morning game drive in which we saw a few more lions and other animals, it was time for us to depart and head home to the much colder, wetter UK. Not much transpired on the flights back except that ABG was once again condemned to sit twenty rows ahead of the rest of us (clearly Emirates have no respect for a man who scores 170 runs on tour)
Best batsman: ABG
Best bowler: Rhino
Best fielder: Randall
Best tourist: Jake Probert
Finally a massive thanks to our new DDO, Kinners, for putting together an immensely successful tour and dealing with all the crises that tour managed to throw at him!
NB: If you want more/better photos from the safari, simply see Dan Goodyear’s extensive album, complete with selfies.