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This report of the Superstars' only ever foreign tour was written by Phil Patten. Superstars accept no responsibility for its contents, any legal action should be directed to him.
To celebrate the millennium the Superstars/Dodgers cricket teams accepted Steve Meyler's invitation to tour the Llanelli area. Steve had arranged accommodation in the Diplomat Hotel on the outskirts of Llanelli near to the Felinfoel brewery which was nice. Though some of us were housed in an annex to the Hotel all the rooms were clean and had all the facilities so a definite brownie point for Steve. Some lazy bastards (Tony, Bartho, John, Steve, Neil, Sian etc) did moan about the steep uphil walk from the annex to the dining area in the main hotel but screw them.
Unfortunately Ken "I'm not under the thumb" Block cried off at the last moment but his esteemed brother in law Bartho travelled all the way from the snooker in Sheffield to help out. However his contribution consisted of watching snooker in his hotel room, reading The Sun from back to front and then back again, watching bloody more snooker and playing cards to the early hours. According to Bartho there was nothing else to do. Perhaps one might consider visiting castles - "seen one brick - seen 'em all"-, admire the local scenery - "seen one hill etc"-, visit museums/art galleries - "leave it off"- watch the local world renowned rugby team play - "do i look a wally?"- or even play cricket?
Those of us travelling by train were given a lift by Steve and his dad from Llanelli Station to the Hotel - another brownie point - and we arrived in good time to sample a couple of pints of Double Dragon in the Royal Oak (second nearest boozer to the hotel and brewery). More about the other boozers near the brewery later. We also arrived in time to completely ruin some Welsh poor girl's "day of her life" - ie her weeding day. Just imagine arriving at your reception to be welcomed by the sight of Steve Carter, Dave Crozier, Tony Whitrod and Bartho in one of his more 'restrained' tee shirts effing and blinding.
Our first scheduled game was a 20 over thrash on an artificial wicket against the 'Friends of the Diplomat Hotel'. The weather was decidedly dodgy and it seemed that no play would be possible but just as we were about to call it a day the weather cleared up a bit and the match went ahead. According to Steve only three or four of the oppo had played cricket before and they only had eight players so in expectation of an easy victory Steve Carter was nominated skipper and Simon and Richard agreed to play against us. As per damn usual we had fallen for the three card trick and got absolutely hammered.
This game could be described as a game of 'firsts'. The first balls up of the tour was made by el capitano who won the toss and elected to bat - a decision widely criticised at the time and rightly so in view of the damp conditions. Barry and Matt opened and progress was slow, painfully slow. The first run of the tour was scored by Barry but Matt (first dismissal of the tour) and Steve Meyler (no douby trying to impress his sheep loving friends) were out cheaply so we had to wait until the 7th over before the first boundary scored by (and a big round of applause please) Steve Carter!! The first six of the tour came courtesy of Tony Whitrod who top scored was 21. Barry was second top scorer but wickets fell with monotonous regularity and we only managed 85 for 8 off 20 over. Allright their bowling was fairly tidy (Simon bowled medium pace) but it was pretty obvious we had to bowl and field well to win.
By the time the Friends of the Diplomat batted conditions had improved (as eevryone including the local in-bred retardos could have sussed out before the match) and they made batting seem a lot easier. Not that the bowling was poor - far from it. Unfortunately the fielding flipping was. Steve Carter should have been responsible for the first dropped catch of the tour but the idiot didn't even get to a simple dolly. Vot a plonker. The honour of the first drop went to Phil McBarron (albeit a difficult chance at slip). T'was the same bloke who natch went on to score 70 odd. By now even the thickest of readers will have worked out the identity of the really lucky bowler. The first (and only) wicket fell to Steve Meyler, courtesy of a great stumping by Barry but it was too late and the 'Friends' cruised to a comfortable victory. The services of Richard and Simon as batsmen as batsmen were not required. And there were naff all showers in the dressing rooms.
After the match we returned to the hotel where a meal of chicken and chips was awaiting - again good organisation by Steve Meyler. Shame Bartho had already forked out for his meal as he was hungry - when isn't he? Serves him right the greedy fatso. Anyhow we decided to try out the other pubs near to the brewery. Whadda mistake to makea! The pub within gobbing distance of the brewery had no draught beer (apart from some rubbishy keg stuff and lager) and was run by some old wally who made Bartho look like a candidate for publican of the millennium. SO we tried the White Hart further up the road. It seemed to have a reasonable choice of ales but to Mike and Steve's dismay none of them were available. But, quoth mine host, we do have a special beer round the other side. "Yeah alright we'll have some of that". And what was this special beer????? DOUBLE DIAMOND!!! I haven't seen it in years. Do they still make it? We were obviously in some sort of timewarp as they also sold Harp Lager. Anyhow this Double Diamond didn't work wonders - the opposite in fact - Carter turned distinctly green and Mike Taylor not looking much better. Bartho arrived and distinguished himself by sitting down next to some inoffensive old amn who was enjoying a quiet pint and loudly exclaiming "WHO'S THIS OLD WALLY THEN?" [note from ed: may not be exact quote] Taking all these factors into consideration we decided to go to the Royal Oak where we met up with Neil, Sian and John Carr for a few more bevvies.
Unlike the Half Moon in Market Wighton (see previous tour report) the Royal Oak did not have a genius jukebox nor do afters so we went back to the hotel for a game of cards. You've all seen those wildlife programmes where an ugly vulture waits for his luckless victims - in this case a particularly hideous form of wildlife in the shape of Phil McBarron was awaiting (always thought he looks a bit like one of those scrawny vultures). The Dodger fleeced us all taking particular delight in picking the bones off John Carr, Tony Whitrod and Stevie Carter.
The "boys" (Matt, Richard, Jason, Dave, Yogesh and Simon) had gone off on the pull in Llanelli. Richard, handsome man that he is(n't), apparently managed to semi get off with a pair of twins. Much to our surprise none of the others pulled!! Well blow me down! So, frustrated, and on the lookout the rest returned to the hotel. Where, lo and behold, there was some lonely welsh lady crying into her gin and tonics and desperately needing a friendly shoulder to cry on. Step forward Dave, er and Matt, er and Simon, er and Yogesh, er and Jason etc etc. Flies around a lump of poo does not even begin to describe the scenario. Anyhow we card players left for bed and looked forward to hearing all the sordid details in the morning. However it seems that after drinking copious amounts of booze - which she, of course, paid for - our femme fatale went to bed without male company. Lots of thoughts of Thomas the Tank Engine.
The match on Saturday was at a place called "To Be Arranged" but was called off due to the inclement weather so we we were left to our own devices. After a good breakfast I was sitting in the khazi enjoying a regular part of the morning when i heard a strange repetitive kncoking noise. Funny woodpecker muses I - perhaps a strange species native to Wales. Half right - it was a strange creature - a very strange creature. John Carr had purchased (or nicked) a new bat and was knocking it in with a wooden mallet. Neil told us that John was prepared to spend several hours on this task to ensure the bat was ready. What a dipstick! The way to knock a bat in is to hit the ball not miss all the time. We left him to it and left for the pubs and betting shops.
Of the others, Bartho read his paper, some went sightseeing, some continued thinking about Thomas the Tank Engine and the rest including Tony, Sian, Neil and John (when he had finally finally fished his monotonous knocking) went to see Llanelli vs Neath at Stradey Park.
Saturday night was virtually a repeat of Friday night. Me and Steve had a few beers in a genius pub in town, returned and played cards with the rest of the reprobates, though this time El Condor Pasa only managed to win off me, John and Tony - Steve getting a modicum of revenge. Miss Llanelli 1974 was again afer some free booze which, undeterred, the flies/mugs were eager to provide. Needless to say the result was again zilcho.
The match on Sunday was at Pontybream, a pleasant little village, just a short drive from the hotel. Long enough for Tony however, who was unimpressed with Siva's driving (not that he moaned much) and was relieved to make it to the ground in one piece. Though the wicket and ground were very damp the sun was shining and a good match was in prospect. And, thank the lord, there was a bar.
Pontybream batted first and thanks to a combination of steady bowling, good ground fielding and the dampness of the pitch were restricted to 130 for 6 off 40 overs. If a couple of wallies hadn't dropped relatively easy catches (Andy Crawford and HHHRRMMPH) they might have made a lot less. All six bowlers (Mike, me, Siva, Andy, Matt and Neil) played their part and the ground-fielding was excellent with special mentions for Tim Barraclough and Steve Carter. The only balls up on the ground fielding front was by Tony Whotrod (on as substitute for Phil McB who turned up late 'cos he was still counting his money) who sucessfully converted a dodgy single into an easy 3.
So faced with a an eminintely reachable target and, on paper, a strong and long batting line up (Matt at 7, Mike at 9) I retired to the bar to sup well earned pint and watch the snooker confident that I had played my part in yet another glorious victory for the Reich. But pride doth cometh before a fall. Barry set the tone by scoring a measly one run off 18 balls but with Richard seemingly in fine form it didn't seem to matter. However, both were out in quick succession but at reasonable 22 for 2 off 8 overs and the outfield drting up we were still on target. Then Steve Carter strode out to the wicket confidently looking forward to scoring, and I quote "loads of runs". 24 balls later he managed to get off the mark and five balls later he was out without further addition. ONE RUN IN NEARLY SIX OVERS. WHAT A %^@$#!!! Phil McBarron at t'other end tried manfully to keep the scoreboard ticking but the bottom line is we scored just 11 runs (including 3 wides) in the 11 overs Monsieur Le Carter was at the crease. Non-playing members such as Jason, John Carr and Tony even resorted to a bout of slow hand clapping but to no avail. After this I can safely say that a Double Diamond does not work wonders - the opposite. The Dodgers contingent of Neil (15 in 26 ball) and partcularly Phil (36 before being caught) tried to repair the damage but then the lower middle order (Tim, Matt, Siva and Mike) contrived to score a magnificent six runs between them. So numeros 10 and 11 (Andy and me) were together with over 40 runs to get in no time. We managed, depsite some dubious umpiring by Sian, to get the total past 100 but then the inevitable (the dreaded sound of ball hitting my stumps) happened and we were out for 103. The whole team was disappointed that we did not win after our fine all round performance in the field.
We then adjourned to the bar for a few drinks before returning to the hotel. Undeterred by his earlier driving and the fact that he had quaffed at least three pints of lager I travelled back with Siva. Tony certainly didn't!!!
Despite a good tea provided by Pontyberem some of us still felt a little peckish and knowing that the Royal Oak did reasonable meals we ventured there to partake of nourishment and further liquid refreshment. But to our consternation they didn't do meals on Sundays. Matters - Guinness is as good as food and there was a quiz on. With prizes!! Hmmm, with the lists of Neil, John Carr and Mike Kamellard in our team there was distinct possibility of a tour victory after all. However this naive notion was soon put in its place. Q1. Which Welsh rugby team plays at.......? Q2. Whis is Tom Jones' middle name and where was he born?...... You can guess the rest. So, despite the valiant efforts John Carr in getting some weirdly lateral questions right (must be all that hammering) we only finished third and got nothing. Steve Carter provided his normal contributon (see match report). Back to the hotel for the ubiquitous game of cards. However this time Phil was not doing quite as well - in fact he was loooooosing. This situation did not last long. WHY? Because as soon as the going got a bit toughPhil, prompted by Franca, made some fatuous excuse and left for bed without giving us a chance to recoup our losses. Still Tony and me provided Bartho, John and Carter with some recompense. The 'boys' were still chasing after a lost cause, though Jason did manage to get her address and promised to write to her. Foolish boy.
Monday's match was again unfortunately cancelled due to the state of the pitch. As it was such a nice day (the Rain God had by this time left us) Steve tried manfully to find an alternative fixture but to no avail. So it was decided to have a game of beach cricket. I have asked on numerous occasions for a report on this vital match but no idiot bothered. All I have gathered is that Sian cheated (so, what's new?).
Player of the Tour: Phil Patten
Love letters in the sand - Jason Marchant
Deck of Cards - Tony Whotrod
If I had a hammer - John Carr
24 hours to score one run (to the tune of 24 hours from Tulsa) - Steve Carter and Barry Gigg
Catch us if you Can - Steve Carter, Phil McBarron, Andy Crawford and Phil Patten
When you're young???? and in love - Neil and Sian
Are you Lonesome tonight? - Jason, Dave, Yogesh, Richard, Matt and all the other flies.
Highway Star - Siva
Lazy - Bartho
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