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September/October 1989 Madrid Cricket Festival

Cricket World XI in Spain   

Madrid Cricket Festival  
 The Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Trophy

Above shows the Cricket World XI side that tied the match with Pakistan International Airline CC at the Real Madrid Sports Club in the Madrid Cricket Festival 1989. 

The scores were level as CWXI walked off. Both umpires came up to CW XI skipper and told him that the score was wrong, the scorers had been misinterpreting the boundary on several occassions. Did he wish to make an issue of this? No he replied, the Tie is fine.

Whereupon the PIA skipper rushed out to declare "What a great game, what a pity you guys had to lose" and so the CW XI skipper suggested the umpires and two skippers take a look at the competition rules and regulations as laid out in the Festival Brochure.

The Umpires did this and declared CW XI winners on the basis of run rate. A curiosity indeed! CWXI had been all out in the 38th over whereas PIA were 9 wickets down at the end of the allotted 40 overs. There was no caveat for wickets lost. So CWXI were winners. "Such a shame you chaps had to lose, remarked the CWXI skipper with a smile.

This shock horror realisation had the PIA skipper running off to telephone the Festival organisers, not to protest the result, but to relay it to those still playing in the Madrid CC v BICC CC match which Madrid looked to be winning. Mysteriously Madrid went into instant collapse and BICC won and thus the Festival!

Apparently the extent of the Festival sponsorship depended on a BICC festival win and for the BICC players a free all expenese paid trip.  

BICC had seemed to be losing by a mile their match with CWXI a day or so earlier whereupon one of the players standing in for CWXI who were short of a full complement, who often opened the bowling for Madrid,   proceeded to bowl  full tosses which the BICC batsmen smashed to the fence. When asked whatever was wrong with his bowling that day the offending bowler replied" I did not think it right that CWXI should win with borrowed players so I deliberately bowled like that !  Dodgy stuff indeed! But then BICC itself turned out to be double dodgy itself. 

Another curiosity of this Festival was the insistance of the PIA Madrid CEO that he bought two of the Cricket World   posters of Miss Sheila Nichols cartwheeling naked in front of the members at Lord's. "One is for my wife and the other for my daughter". It could only happen in Madrid!

On presenting another such poster to Madrid CC, the club Chairman told the following story.

At the park where Madrid then played beyond the boundary on one side was a gap in the trees that lined the perimeter of the park outside of which was a high mesh fence. Beyond that a main road. Every summer's evening Madrid families returning from a day out in the country would end up in a dreadful traffic jam so much so that many would get out of their cars and peer through the mesh fencing at the cricket match. This went on for several summers. The players surmised to themselves that the Spaniards watching could not have a clue what was going on let alone that  it was a cricket match and then one Sunday that changed.

"Where's the streaker, where's the streaker", the larger than usuall numbers of spectators shouted in English and Spanish having abandoned their cars. And so it continued until autumn that season.

Miss Nichols' infamous dash across the ground at Lord's and her cartwheel in front of the Pavilion had been shown endlessly on Spanish Television, indeed across the world. Furthermore it was thus revealed that those traffic jammed spectators had  known all the time what they were watching. It was Cricket but where was the streaker?

Sadly for cricket the couple of matches played at the Real Madrid Sports Club as part of this Madrid Festival appear to be the only occassion when the game has been played there. Just think what a boost to cricket in Spain it would be if    Real Madrid   were to add cricket to the multitude of other sports   'Professional and Amateur' that Real Madrid currently play.

The Football fields where we played were plumb line flat. However we played without a mat on  been a strip between Football pitches having cut and rolled. CW XI skipper received a ball on his nose off a good length and retired for a while with an ice packon nose and back of neck. Then recovered at the fall of the next wicket he strode out and smote 67 not out to top score in the match!

During the course of this match several Basque Balotta players came over and asked about our game and seemed very interested They  picked up cricket bats and smashed some old cricket balls into the back of beyond just like that! Legend has it that cricket was first played in Spain in the 19th century in Bilbao by British sailors and others. It is a pity that no one has tried to to re-establish it in the modern era amongst the brilliant ball playing Basques.  

The pitch in the park was very shoddy being a torn mat on a fairly unprepared surface and seriously difficult to play shots on. Nevertheless it was a very enjoyable trip and Madrid CC were most hospitable resulting in some great evening meals and more!

The Festival ended with a superb dinner at a very grand Indian restaurant and prizes were awarded mostly to BICC!

Subsequently this Madrid CC disbanded but a few years later yet another has since risen from the ashes in 2002 and secured its own ground since 2009.

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