As the Nomads get set to embark on their latest tour to Spain, Cricket Espana delve into their visitors website archives to remember fondly stories from trips gone by .....
In the mid-nineties Cricket World XI and The UK Ministry Of Defence XI(Defence Sports Association) took part with Sporting Alfas CC and Javea CC in the cricket festival to officially open the ground at Albir L'Alfas Del Pi.,
The Cricket World XI party comprised-Michael Blumberg, Jack Hyams, Charlton Lamb, Carl Openshaw, Peter Johnson, Mike Milton, Andrew Robson, Alex Barnett, Mark Milton, Jake Milton, David Oatway, Annette Tibergien and Tessa Ramsey.
Saturday March 30th 1996 Colombus Oval Albir L'Alfas Del Pi Spain Cricket World XI 245-5,45 overs beat Sporting Alfas CC 154-7,45 overs by 91 runs. Mike Milton & Alex Barnett hit fifties for CWXI and Carlos Parkin hit a fifty for Sporting Alfas
Sunday March 31st 1996 Riverside Javea Cricket World XI 267-9 dec,40 overs drew with Javea CC 200-9,50 overs. Charlton Lamb scored a fifty and retired for CWXI
Monday April 1st 1996 Colombus Oval Albir L'Alfas Del Pi Cricket World XI 189,40 overs drew with MOD XI 30-0,8 overs abandoned because of heavy rain.
The MOD XI also played matches with Sporting Alfas CC and Javea CC and won both.
The ground at Albir was somewhat eccentric at this time with bunkers in the covers, a steep slope for seamers to run down from the River end and at the Altea end there was a huge mound before the boundary so that a fielder on the boundary could barely see the pitch.
The grass was a thick carpet of Bermuda grass which slowed the ball up if you hit the ball along the ground.
A Superb Festival to mark the opening of the ground at Albir
Both visiting parties arrived together via a Monarch Crown flight from Luton. As soon as we arrived at the Albir Gardens Aparthotel there was a reception for both teams with the Mayor of L'Alfas Del Pi and representatives of Sporting Alfas CC and Javea CC as well as the Spanish Cricket Association.
On Saturday with the official opening of the ground there were photographers and camera men aplenty. Spanish TV interveiwed Carl Openshaw who spoke good Spanish and Alex Barnett(England U-19s, Middx & Lancs) who had forgotten most of his Spanish despite a Spanish mum and being born in Malaga. The lady intervewing Carl was most unimpressed by his box which she insisted he reveal for Spanish TV viewers. "So small" she exclaimed,"so small". The event and match was reported in many local newspapers-Spanish,Valenciano,English and German.
On Saturday evening there was a grand dinner held at the Ta Casa restaurant. HM Britannic Consul Patrick Campbell and his wife, the Sports Minister for Valencia and Alfas Mayor Toni Fuster as well as the current Duke of Wellington and others VIPS.There were speeches from the Sports Minister who revealed that he had played cricket twice while a gap language student at Manchester University which dumbfounded most of the expats. the Minister added that this experience told him two things about cricket-firstly it was better to have 11 than 10 even if the 11th had never played cricket and second that cricketers after the match spent all evening and half the nght drinking and talking about the game and cricket in general.
Also making speeches were the Mayor and Sporting Alfas founder Andrew Bond. As the speeches had to be translated into Valenciano and English and or Spanish it was quite a protrated affair. The dinner was excellent indeed rather too much for some miniscule Anglo Saxon appetites.
David Oatway of CWXI was enthralled by the quality of the brothels in the area and lobbied hard for both parties to join him for dinner and sex at one such establishment where he had negotiated a jolly good price! Unfortunately David missed the dinner as he first locked himself out of his car which against instructions he had driven into the ground and then found himself locked into the ground unable to get out in the dark.
Both parties discoverd the nightlife of the nearbye infamous tourist seaside town of Benidorm. For the ancient cricketer Jack Hyams it was a baptism of fire as he frequented Benidorm's haunts for the next sixteen years nightly on tour becoming the original 'Sticky Vicky's greatest fan.
At that time the cheapos Easyjet and Ryanair had not started and so we all flew via Monarch who happened to run a scheduled service out on Thursday back on Tuesday. For a number of years when we relaxed on Friday but then Invalids CC were short on tour of Javea so several Nomads travelled there and played Friday for Invalids CC. We decided an extra game was a better way of spending Friday and so we added a fourth match to the schedule but in essence the tour with both CW XI and the Nomads CC has followed the same pattern. With very few exceptions CW XI and then Nomads CC have returned to L'Alfas Del Pi every March and October since 1996.
For more details and photos on the tour - http://www.nomadscc.com/albir--javea--april-1996/