Former Leicestershire CCC player Steve Clark recently toured Nepal with the MCC and he agreed to share his experience with B3 Cricket.
Steve is a 33 year old Yorkshire lad who now works and plays his cricket in London. Steve captain’s Hampstead Cricket Club who won the Middlesex Premier League last season.
Also on the tour was another B3 Ambassador, Scott McKechnie, who plays and coaches at Hong Kong Cricket Club.
“It was September 2014 when I filled in the forms to apply for the Nepal 2015 tour. Christmas was spent with fingers crossed waiting for the letter to come through the letterbox with some good news. It did! In February or so came the MCC headed letter stating I had been selected to go on what was the 3rd tour the MCC had undertaken to Nepal.
Then in April came the devastating earthquake which hit Kathmandu and surrounding villages. There was understandably a lot of uncertainty as to whether the trip would go ahead considering the huge natural disaster which had hit the people of Nepal, but the Nepal Cricket Board worked very hard and after some slight changes to the original itinerary, the trip was given the green light.
On departure day the tour party met in the away dressing room at Lords to pick up our kit and make our introductions. Colin Maber, the tour manager gave us all a brief welcome and we set off to Heathrow.
After a great flight with a brief stop in Abu Dhabi where we met the remainder of the touring squad – including Neil Dexter who was to be tour captain, we arrived in Kathmandu to a welcome by the Nepal Cricket Board with flower wreaths and scarves – it was a sign of the hospitality to come.
The revised itinerary was a busy one and the first morning saw us coaching local youngsters from Kathmandu. Seeing their passion for the game and energy was a real humbling and eye opening experience as some of the kids’ homes had been destroyed earlier in the year in the earthquake. We then played the first game in the afternoon – a T20 against a Nepal U19 squad which saw them bat first and amass 151-6. The MCC then solidly went about the run chase with the first wicket being lost with 92 runs on the board. We won the game from the penultimate ball. It was a great first day.
Back Row left to right: Sporta Tours helper, Matthew Jackson (Sporta Tours Owner), Manager C J Maber, B D Shepperson, G A Adair, M S Coles, A Senneck, A MacQueen, L T Redrup, Umpire M J Saggers, Cricket Association Nepal Representatives x2, Sporta Tours helper (girl with glasses).
Front Row left to right: G Holmes, S W Green, R M Wilkinson, Captain N R Dexter, S S McKechnie, S Clark, C L Lawlor
The next day was an early start to get the 30 minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara to play against Pokhara Cricket Club. The morning was misty and we decided to bat, and on a slow and dusty wicket we struggled to 43-3, myself and Mike Coles then pulled the total back, both scoring 50s, to 203-5 from the 40 overs. Pokhara showed good discipline in the chase and needed 15 from the final over hitting two fours and a six, winning the game with a ball to spare.
That evening was spent sampling the local cuisine and night life, with the local Everest beer and Chicken MoMo’s being the key finds!
After two games we enjoyed a day off and flight over Mount Everest which was amazing, did n’t manage to get a picture of Everest but the scenery was breath taking.
Our third match was a 40 over game against a combined Nepal B side now back in Kathmandu. We batted first and made a steady 205-9 which we thought was just below par for the wicket which we found slightly slower and tougher to score on then we first thought. I managed to get both openers quickly to start their innings, and we had them 53-6 at which point they never looked like reaching the target with the last man being run out 99 runs short.
The next game came after a day on the Himalayan Golf Course – without a doubt one of the most beautiful and picturesque courses I will ever play, we played the same side with a few changes to our own. Nepal B team bowled first and with some accuracy and guile. Our openers batted very well taking us to 61-1 but that triggered a small collapse with only myself offering some sort of resistance with 30 runs and were bowled out for a well below par 132. As I was loose after batting (!) I managed to get their openers cheaply but with the pitch flattening out, the Nepal batters cruised to our total with 11 overs to spare.
The last 4 days of the tour were full of cricket, with the previous 40 over game to be followed by a 2 day game and a T20 on the morning of our departure.
We started the 2 day game well against the Nepal national side having them 84-5 but then allowing them to recover to a decent 228.8 dec. In reply in the first evening we struggled to 72-5 however on the following morning we steadied the ship and posted 178-8 to declare before lunch on day 2 leaving the game well poised.
I managed to get the top 3 batters cheaply in Nepal’s second innings, which had the effect of slowing their scoring rate and not really allowing them to post a competitive total to set up a game. We ended up having 31 overs to score 240 or so and the captains shook hands to call the game a draw.
Our final evening included a buffet hosted by the Nepal Cricket Board, again showing the kindness and hospitality we had been shown throughout the tour both from our hosts and the local people in general. We arrived for the final game on the morning of our departure with slightly dusty heads after a couple too many Everest’s and Chicken MoMos, however these were quickly swept aside as our opener hit the first ball of the day for six and set the tone for the day. Everybody contributed to the score and with Neil Dexter hitting 30 off the last over we reached 169 from our 20 overs.
In return, Nepal struggled to 38-3 and with wicket falling at regular intervals, Nepal finished their innings on 129-8 with MCC the victors.
In all we played 6 matches: won 3, lost 2 and a draw in the 2 day game. The cricket was superb, the scenery stunning and the warm welcome and hospitality was humbling.
After saying our goodbyes and thank yous’ to our hosts we then made our way to the airport to start the long cramp-ridden flight home with some amazing memories, very close new friends and relations with the Nepalese people stronger than ever having hopefully offered some sort of rest bite from the suffering so many are still enduring since the horrendous earthquake.”
Thank you to B3 Cricket for allowing us to reproduce this article on our website. For the original article, please click here