The first Old Cranleighan tri-sport tour to Malta passed off without any hitches and resulted in the OCCC and OCHC winning both their matches, including games against the national sides, and the OC Squash Club bouncing back from defeat in their first match to win the second.
A party of 26 made the four-day trip and all threw themselves wholeheartedly into all aspects of what was an excellent tour. Meticulous organisation by Eds Copleston meant that they enjoyed some superb meals at top restaurants and were well catered for by the accommodating Palace Hotel. A new aspect of the tour was the regular Whats App updates which enabled those who got to bed early (ie before 3am) to find out what had happened for the rest of the evening.
The full cricket report can be found here and the hockey one here. The cricket side won their first match at a canter but were more stretched in their second, eventually beating the Malta XI by 31 runs. The hockey side narrowly beat Malta A 1-0 but were more assured in the 4-1 win over the national side.
The squash provided thrills even if the early start meant most of the tour party opted for pool and late breakfast rather than supporting. Led by Mike Roper, the first day saw the OCs lose 1-4 to Marsa Sports Club. Ed Henderson (0-3) never got going, while Nick Lewis’ tie (0-3) turned on a controversial second-game decision. Alan Cope (3-1) pulled us back with an idiosyncratic display which left his teenage opponent bewildered and suffering the effects of the alcohol fumes spewing from his opponent who had breakfasted on prosecco.
Eds Copleston battled back from 0-2 down to level the tie, and then led 6-3 and 10-8 before pulling out a choke of epic proportions to lose 2-3. In the dead rubber Roper was thumped 1-3 by the best 14-year-old on the island.
For the second day against the Malta team Henderson and Cope were replaced by Dave Wilson and Phil Roper, both of who won 3-0 to get us off to a flier. Lewis then went down 1-3 to the Maltese No.1 lady and Mike Roper was given a beasting by the world No. 55.
The decider pitted Copleston against Malta’s No.2 lady and it proved another epic. Eds used all his canniness to frustrate his opponent, his tactics even leading to his own supporters switching sides. But it was water off a duck’s back and the single-minded Copleston secured the deciding game 11-9 and with it the match.
Many thanks to Eds for all his hard work. The tour party was a mix of ages, but special mention should go to the two young guns, Rory Kennedy and Tom Cooper who showed tremendous potential both on and off the pitch and should be regular fixtures for years. The WAGs – Lydia, Irish, Joss, Mel and Becca – also had an occasional civilising influence and it was a pleasure to have them with us.