I spent last weekend in a resort town in South East Spain called La Manga. It’s a little village close to the south east coast. The closest notable cities are Cartagena and Murcia (the regional capital). It was a bit of a hike from Madrid; I had to take a five hour train ride to Cartagena and then a twenty minute taxi ride, but it was a great place to kick back for a few days once I got there.

I was a bit out of place though. La Manga has the look of one of those southern Spanish villas that’s actually just a retirement village for British billionaires. It’s technically still under Spanish sovereignty, but as far as local culture goes, it belongs to England. And possibly also to the 20th century. Everyone speaks English and all the restaurants sell beef burgers and fish and chips and … whatever other stuff people eat in England. And all the prices are adjusted to suit the local clientele, so it’s not the sort of place a normal person could stay for more than a weekend or so, and not the sort of place you would normally find me at all.

So what the hell was I doing there?

Madrid Cricket Club was hosting a twenty-twenty tournament with a bunch of teams from Europe getting together for a weekend of good old-fashioned British culture, which seems to be what sleepy towns in south-east Spain are all about. And I was there in my freshly purchased MCC whites, ready to represent Madrid along with all the other ex-pats.

There were two other teams from Spain, three teams from England and two teams from the Netherlands. The English teams weren’t such a big deal (as is usually the case with English cricket teams), and actually the teams to watch were the Dutch boys. Amsterdam and The Hague were the strongest teams, since both teams had members who played for the Netherlands, and were fitting the weekend in between preparations for the world cup qualifiers. The English teams, like the Spanish teams, were mainly amateurs looking for a fun weekend in the sunshine.

I ended up playing most of the weekend as 12th man for La Manga CC, who hadn’t quite managed to bring a full team (despite the competition being held in their town) and needed to borrow some Madrid players. I wasn’t sure what to make of the fact that even the team that couldn’t field a full side didn’t want me in their first eleven, so in the end I decided not to make anything of it, and just ran around at deep mid-wicket for a while.

As you might expect my batting was nothing to write home about, and certainly nothing to write a blog entry about, so I won’t.

I did manage to sneak in a couple of overs for Madrid with the ball when we played against La Manga, and took figures of two overs, no maidens, one for six which wasn’t too bad. Especially since the wicket was a Dutch national player from The Hague who had been called in to take my spot (make of that what you will).

Over all Madrid finished fifth, behind the Dutch teams and two of the English teams, but ahead of the other Spaniards and one particularly unfortunate English side.

Far from home



Garry with 2 Rs

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