A blog from Hong Kong - Alastair Evans
Scotland’s tall seam bowler Alasdair Evans has written blog from Hong Kong where the national team are currently playing a series of Intercontinental Cup, ODIs and T20s.
After an excellent week of hard work in Abu Dhabi we headed to Hong Kong, all looking forward to getting stuck into some competitive cricket. On the first morning we were greeted with a wonderful surprise, waking up to the news that Con and his wife Claire had welcomed into the world little Rory!
After managing to secure a flight home Con headed off back to Scotland to meet him the latest addition to the De Lange clan. We wish him and Claire all the best with Scotland's future opening batter.
After a very successful 2015, everyone was raring to go to make 2016 even better. The first task - securing 20 points I-Cup points. With the vast majority of us having never played in this part of the world we didn't really know what to expect.
However, I don't think any of us anticipated Mother Nature to behave the way she did. In the immortal words of Crowded House, we are told to 'always take the weather with you'. And I think that we all wished we had. While the likes of Wick, Cupar and Campbeltown enjoyed a balmy 12C in mid-January, Hong Kong thought it would go its own direction.
With rain constantly coming and going, which at times looked like it had been taken from 'the day after tomorrow', and temperatures ranging from 1-4C, cricket was never going to be the winner. The fact that a shopping expedition focused on buying jackets, hats and scarves for the players and staff sums up the kind of cricket tour we found ourselves on.
Inevitably in times like this games of football manage to wriggle the way into the schedule. The age old battle of 'oldies' v 'youngies' was rekindled at any opportunity. Friendships of team-mates and long term room-mates (most especially self-appointed captains MacLeod and Cross) were put under threat as the field was taken. Through a combination of complete luck and help from referee Bradburn the youngies managed to nick the early ascendancy in game one. Normal service was resumed however in the later games as the oldies continued to assert their dominance, although many pundits out there have put the change in fortunes down to mid series signing of Leask by the oldies. The youngies, believing themselves to be above such things as having a goalkeeper, were made to pay for their mistake.
Mention should also be made about Robert Meadows 'Jamie Vardy' Lombe-Taylor, who managed to jump off the Leicester City band-wagon long enough be the leading goal scorer in the tournament. His brilliant use of his 50p foot has left all defences baffled. It has very much been a classic case of if he doesn't know where it is going, how will the opposition?
The disappointing weather has meant that we have been able to go into Hong Kong and explore the city, which has been a nice silver lining and escape from boredom! It truly is an amazing place. Often when you visit places you have seen a lot on TV or on postcards, it looks as you have come to expect.
However, the Hong Kong skyline is truly a great sight. With that and all the little hidden gems tucked away below and inside the skyscrapers the wanderings are endless. It constantly amazes me the way that they are so efficient with space here. Every possible gap, alley, piece of land was being used for little businesses, street stalls, bars, restaurants etc. It has a wonderful buzz about the place as well. There is always something going on and something to catch your interest.
Despite the fact that it has been nice to get out and see more of the city, we are all desperate to get to play some cricket. With the weather looking like it may improve slightly into next week we are keeping our fingers crossed that we can get into the one day games without disruption. With an indoor train session scheduled for the next day everyone is ready to blow away the cobwebs and get some white ball practice under our belts ready to hit the ground running Tuesday.
Monday found us training at Hong Kong Cricket Club. A beautiful ground with a stunning club house half way up the mountain. We were able to use the fantastic indoor facilities alongside the outfield allowing us all to stretch our legs, with everyone doing a bit fielding and the seamers getting what has been a rare opportunity to hit some lengths.
Yesterday we managed to do what some thought we might not; play cricket. Both captains and umpires decided that the ground conditions were acceptable to start on time. Preston winning a rare toss and electing to put Hong Kong into bat. We started well with early wickets before Hong Kong got going in the middle with a fantastic 170 run partnership as they looked to be heading for 280+ but we fought back and reduced to 259 them all out. After tea we didn’t start well with Hong Kong’s bowlers taking early wickets and bowling tight lines. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be our day with our hosts winning by 109 runs.
We will now go back to the drawing board and focus on our next fixture on Thursday.