Esher Cricket Club returned to Florida over the Thanksgiving weekend to defend the Sarasota 6-a-side title won in 2018.

We were delighted to welcome guests Ashley (Ash) Golder, Mark (Pinky) Trafford and Mike (Herb) Ashbery from Avorians and Sheen Park cricket clubs respectively. Eight seasoned and experienced Esher members completed the touring party. This year two teams were entered into the competition the Esher ‘Dream’ team and the very experienced but not so athletic Esher Legends (average age 56).

The two days allowed for acclimatisation on arrival were put to good use on the beaches, golf courses, bars and briefly the nets of Sarasota Cricket Club.

The competition ran over Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend. It was an enthusiastic if jaded touring party that arrived bright and early on the Friday morning.

The results of all matches and the tour averages are given below. The Dream team squeaked into the final on the Sunday but way of a superior net run rate of 0.2. following pretty a shambolic loss to the Trinis on the Saturday. However, an early to bed and fully rested Swansea University awaited, a fact that led many old-timers and long-standing visitors to jest that they had not adequately prepared for the final. Swansea University proved too good on the day, it was generally agreed that runners up was a fair result.

The Legends team was made up of Captain Woolly, and included Pinky, (in his 4th ever competitive game), Herb, Ash, the ever-green Chairman and of course lead Chorister Glenn Phillips. The team performed admirably and gave arguably the most entertainment to the watching crowds. Many of the youngsters expressed admiration that Woolly (snr) was able to clear the boundary rope on many occasions; a feat only bettered by Alex Martin.

Several team members were playing their first cricket for many years and the sight of the Chairman once again behind the stumps was a delight. The highlight was undoubtedly Mark Trafford taking the only wicket to be taken by the Legends, accompanied by a celebration that made Imran Tahir dull.

All in all a great tour with many old friends met and new ones made. I am sure we will return in 2020.

A huge thank you to Glenn Philips (tour organiser), Sal Lalani our man in Florida and long-time Esher member and of course to the Sarasota organising team of Sagar (Dusty) Dastidar and Rudi Kleer.