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Organised by our club secretary of the day, Andrew Merton, our very first tour was to Northern Ireland in 1966, travelling
by air from Heathrow to Belfast. The enormous success of the tour aroused demand by members for a return visit in 1967, although quite why it was
decided to make the long journey by boat and train cannot be recalled - the crossing over the Irish Sea was thought to have been the roughest for more
than 20 years!
Having played matches against Queen's University CC (captained by Ivan
Anderson a future captain of Ireland), Royal Ulster Constabulary CC,
Downpatrick CC, North Down CC, Cliftonville CC and Armagh CC (whose
pavilion was blown up just weeks after our return home in 1967), the
increasing troubles in Northern Ireland meant
that a third visit had to be deferred. Given the fantastic hospitality
that we received, the attractive grounds on which we played and the
great time that was had by all, another tour to Northern Ireland is long overdue.
Leading run-scorer on the
Northern Ireland Tour in 1966
It wasn't until 1976 that the club ventured on its next overseas tour. This time the destination was the West Indies - to Barbados. Being the first club side in Essex, and one of
the very first clubs in the UK to organise a tour to the Caribbean island, much
media interest was generated and messages of support and goodwill were received from
HRH the Duke of Edinburgh as well as from Tony Greig and Clive Lloyd the, then, captains of England and the West Indies.
But with opposition players including Test stars such as Wes Hall, Joel
Garner and Wayne Daniel, it wasn't surprising that we didn't exactly excel on
the field of play. But our pioneering tour paved the way for many
future tours to Barbados by a good number of UK sides. To view the 1976 Tour Handbook, please click on the .pdf link below
Barbados Tour Handbook 1976.pdf
At Queen's Park Oval, Barbados 1976 .
It was to be another 15 years before we returned to
achieved pathfinder status among the cricketing fraternity on the
island, our visit was warmly received and many friendships renewed.
At Kensington Oval, Barbados 1991
And in 2018, the club toured Barbados once again. The 37-strong party comprised players from our 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th XIs, along with supporters, umpires and scorers. Fixtures were arranged against North Stars, Isolation Cavaliers, Wanderers, St Catherine, Windward, Empire as well as a Barbados Defence Forces XI. Unfortunately, the Caribbean sun and playing conditions weren't quite to our players' liking and, despite some fine performances, we failed to win a match. But no matter - everyone had a great 2-week tour and positively underpins the spirit of adventure that exists at our club.
At Isolation Cavaliers CC, Barbados 2018
Hampshire was the destination for the club's first domestic senior tour in 1981 and the small coastal town of Southsea was chosen as our headquarters. The highlight of the week arose even before a ball had been bowled. Having announced to tour party members that we had booked into the Hotel Bristol, some members, who shall remain nameless, made a long journey down to Bristol to look for the Hotel Southsea! After a fruitless tour of the city and being advised by a local policeman that the hotel simply didn't exist, the members in question eventually came to their senses and duly arrived at our designated hotel, in Southsea, at 3 o'clock in the morning!
During the 1983 tour to
Devon, and while tour party members were imbibing in the 'Goose and Gander' in South Molton, Sir Ian Botham was spotted doing likewise. Sir Ian kindly signed a tour pennant and cricket bats, and spent time with the young John Forrest on whose bat he inscribed, 'To the second best all-rounder in the world'.
Lisa Cansdale, Sir Ian Botham and Cliff Cansdale
at the 'Goose and Gander', South Molton, Devon 1983
After four successful tours to Devon, nine years elapsed before Peter Clark and Richard Wakely picked up the baton and organised a trip to Lancashire in 1994. The tour was so popular that further visits were arranged in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2002. Yorkshire was added to the list of touring venues in 1988 and 1999 and,
closer to home, Norfolk became a new destination in 2003.
At St Helens CC, Lancashire 1994
Back (L to R): Robert Waters, Peter Clark, Tony Lincoln, Mark Winter, Martin Dix, David Stone, Cliff Cansdale
Front (L to R): Wayne Read, Richard Wakely, Jim Banner Jim Robertson, Kelvin Carter
At Vauxhall Mallards CC, Norfolk 2010
Back (L to R): John Lewis Jnr, Tom Thompson, Scott Bayford, Martin Guilbert, Ben Marns, Richard Day
Front (L to R): Jim Robertson, Roy Heffernan, Nathan Turner, Wayne Read, Paul Whitlock
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For further information about our tours and to view extracts from our 50th Anniversary Booklet
published in 2010, please click on the .doc links below:
50th AB Overseas Tours.doc
The club's history of senior tours:
1976 1991 2018
1982 1983 1984 1985 2000
1994 1995 1996 1997 2002
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
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