It was only when Googling "South Crofty Tin Mines" in preparation for this episode that I stumbled upon an amazing coincidence. Wikipedia reveals that The Trinity (only) College of Dublin University was founded in March 1592, although my long late Aunt Aileen's Toasting Fork with the College Crest is dated 1591! South Crofty Mines originally produced Copper and first operated in 1592! Although there have been periods when the Mines have shut down owing to wide variations in the price of Tin it is still "going" today; as is its Cricket Club amalgamated with the Holman Sports Club whom we had played 2 days previously.

So you can see that this wasn't just a Cricket match on a tour, but a coincidence of 2 very venerable institutions. Mining, especially Tin Mining is as important a part of the Cornish landscape (think Poldark?) as Trinity and particularly College Park is of Central Dublin. South Crofty pulled out all the stops to welcome us. The weather was, again, fine and every effort had been made to prepare the ground although in the absence of a regular roller the use of a "pounder" such as might be put on a recently laid Tarmac Pavement was interesting. Tea, as we had realised locally largely featured Scones with a generous layer of Cream plus both fresh Strawberries and lots of jam. The South Crofty ladies took this to a new level and it summed up the warmth of a community Club situated between Cambourne and Redruth. Their "lead" character was Tommy May, Captain, opening bat, holder of 3 fine catches and a talkative host. I have a recollection that he was also quite a well known Rugby referee.

At tea time on Saturday 20th June DUCC's mood was not at its best. We had been bowled out for just over a hundred in 25 overs. It would have to be said that the wicket gave the bowlers "some assistance". It is even more important to note that Philip Nixon had played a match winning innings of 41 in just over an hour as all about him fell over. Opening bowler Evans had taken a wicket in each of his first three overs so Philip came in at 19 for 3. He soon lost Hart Cox (25 for 4) and Chris Harte (43 for 5) each of whom managed 9 and between them they batted for 23 minutes. Philip and Simon Hewson (14) then added 32 for the 6th wicket in only 22 minutes. For these precise details we can thank scorer Ronnie McCarey - in truth it was something of a mercy that Ron was given the day off as on this track ?

Despite Hewson's dismissal Nixon kept going taking the total to 3-figures; when he was LBW to Symons, John Frankland was bowled next ball. Trinity needed early wickets but the vagaries of the bounce meant that Frankland had to be taken out of the attack after trapping the younger May for 2. Thereafter Simon Holland (4 maidens in his 8 overs), John Kirby (none for 2 from 4 overs) but especially Alan Kirk tied the batsmen up almost completely. When eventually they tried to hit out they were either bowled or hit skiers which, mercifully, were caught. When Kirk was rested having taken 5 of the first 6 wickets to fall (score 35 for 6) spinners Michael Bryce and Simon Hewson took up the cause. Pellow at number 7, hit Bryce for 13 off his 3rd over while Hewson's first conceded 10 runs from the first 3 balls and concluded with a Hat-Trick from the second half! By half past 6 from a ten to three start it was all over and a very convivial but not overly long evening ensued. There was much talk after the game about the possibility of South Crofty coming to Dublin; this sort of chat often takes place in Tour situations. Sure enough next May all of Tommy's efforts came to fruition and they graced College Park, also playing (I think) Halverstown. To all of us present that day it wasn't really a surprise that they made the trip and we were so honoured that they were inspired to do so.

On Midsummers Day DUCC bade farewell to Penzance - eventually. Seven miles distant was the village of St Just and what is England's most westerly cricket ground. Now, as then, they were a strong Club in Cornwall's Top League and with a 2 45 p.m. start on a dull afternoon a late finish could be anticipated. This was not ideal as we faced the 150 mile drive to Taunton after the game! We batted first (again) Johnny Silverstone scoring 4 boundaries in a breezy 18. At 28 for 2 (CCJ for a slow 7) Hart Cox joined Maggie Bryce and they proceeded to dominate the bowling. Bryce included 5 boundaries in yet another half-century but Cox's 67* (1 six and 8 fours) was even more impressive.

Chris was able to declare leaving St. Just enough time to face 35 overs chasing 152. Ronnie McCarey only allowed 3 runs from his first 6 overs but although Frankland trapped Eddy LBW for a duck in his first over wickets were hard to come by. Thomas (27) and Rowe (53) put on 82 for the second wicket but Alan Kirk dismissed them both plus Lawrence first ball. Addicoat (23) celebrated the recall of Frankland by hitting him for a six and a four but was then bowled in the same, eventful, over. When Read and Goninan also fell late on a win was still possible but with the help of a "5 leg-byes" St. Just limped home.

With as hasty a departure as we could manage we "set sail" for Taunton. It was well into the small hours when we got to our "billet" having with our Irish number plates attracted the attention of the local constabulary on arrival. Monday 22nd June dawned dull but dry and we entered a county ground much different to the one you see today. The changing rooms were very gloomy and one had to cross the greyhound track to reach the outfield. To say that the County Club was run on a shoe-string was very much the impression we got. Since we were fielding first I produced, as was our norm (thanks to DUCAC) a brand new ball. "They" were so pleased-this would save them a fiver!

We had thought we were playing Somerset Stragglers but the scorebook which the locals kindly kept for us read Somerset 2nd XI! They were captained by Brian Rose who went on to play 9 Tests with some success for England but became better remembered for declaring in a Benson and Hedges Group game to ensure that his team would qualify for the knock-out stages on net run rate!! He was never forgiven for that. On our day no declaration was required for light rain gradually became heavier and by lunch DUCC having captured 2 wickets (one apiece to McCarey and Kirk, both bowled) and Rose having reached 46* the weather had closed in. This was the only match abandoned in our season. By 3 o'clock it was obvious we weren't going to resume. Still recovering from our latest travel and with (a mere) 90 miles to Southampton on the morrow we were glad of a quiet evening. Just as we would also be glad to meet up with the Skipper the rendezvous having been settled for the then County Ground at Northland Road.

  • DUCC 103 all out P. Nixon 41; R. Symons 4 for 21, M. Evans 3 for 28.
  • South Crofty 67 all out. S. Pellow 25; A. Kirk 10-4-11-5, S. Hewson 2.5-0-14-4.
  • DUCC 152 for 3 wkts dec. H. Cox 67*, M. Bryce 51.
  • St. JUST 154 for 8wkts J. Rowe 53, J. Thomas 27, C. Goninan 26, T. Addicoat 23; A. Kirk 5-0-30-4. J. Frankland 14-4-52-3.
  • Somerset 2nd XI 86 for 2 wickets B.C. Rose 46*, G. Mobley 35; A. Kirk 4-1-9-1; R. McCarey 9-1-35-1.