From Tom Woods @LammaCC
In early July 2017, Cricket Hong's Lamma Cricket Club, famous for their brightly coloured green and gold blazers, took to the steppes of Mongolia for some cricket. While ten men on horseback galloping, some galloping voluntarily and some not, across a backdrop of rolling grasslands and traditional Mongolian gers (yurts) was an impressive spectacle, it was for cricket that the team had travelled the distance to play.
Two games were played over an enjoyable weekend. The first was against a young and enthusiastic Mongolian XI who elected to bat first and were doing very well until Lamma CC Tour Manager, Richie Abbott, claimed 4 wickets in an over including a hat-trick to ensure the Mongolian total was not a huge one. Lamma made short work of the run chase, passing the Mongolian's score with only 2 wickets down.
The second match was played against a team made up mostly of Mongolian ex-pats. The Mongolians batted first. Their solid total of 152 was looking out of reach when the 6th Lamma wicket fell with more than 80 runs still required, but thanks to a match winning 7th wicket partnership between tour heroes Richie Abbott and Dave Ziehlke, Lamma chased down the total with around 2 overs to spare.
In between the two games, Lamma CC were treated to an amazing cultural experience and buffet dinner in an art gallery. A live music performance included a famous Mongolian folk singer and a traditional throat singing performance. It was clear to all the Lamma lads that their hosts are very proud of their culture. The Lamma tourists felt extremely privileged to enjoy the experience over a few refreshing ales. Mongolian hospitality is first rate.
Overall, a fantastic tour with new friendships forged through cricket. Lamma CC would like to thank Battulga Gombo, Chris Hurd and everyone at the Mongolian Amateur Cricket Association for being such gracious hosts and helping to make this tour an outstanding success.
Dry Days - excerpt from CMA Michael Borgas' "Reflections on Ulaanbaatar in Whites"
"Lamma cricket club was the second Hong Kong team to visit the very next weekend. Unfortunately, this was election re-run weekend for the Mongolian Presidency. Now came a three-day alcohol ban to aid democracy: what were they thinking!
Lamma represents a more spiritual return to club cricket ethos in the park, with a worthy reputation of being founded by a hippy commune.
A foreboding nervous start preceded festivities. After abortive landing attempts at Chinggis International, air traffic control diverted most of our touring visitors to Irkutsk in Russia instead, to pass some hours with their duty free. A small contingent waited nervously at The Steppe Inn, planning cricket and parties for the next few ‘dry’ days.
The solutions were amazing: Mongolian throat singing and cultural entertainments in an Art Gallery, plenty of beer on ice, Sri Lankan curry buffet expertly provided by Dhan and his wife, and bus home for the wise as the vodka bottles came out. A great night, shared with my awe-struck family visiting from Melbourne.
The Nomads faced a powerful if lubricated Lamma on the Sunday, with the Nomads losing after a good early start and having runs on the board. The fellowship post-game was remarkably finished off with Absinthe shots in equal measure for cricket debacles and triumphs. I’m not sure we’ve all been there.
The Nomads realized they had experienced a lost opportunity for cricket success, clutching defeat from the jaws of victory (now we have all been there) and had witnessed a resolute cricket lesson from a good cricket team. None were too pretty in the Lamma side, but they were outstanding characters and good tough players nonetheless, having fun and performing when they needed to.
The wounded Nomads resolved to improve their own cricket and eagerly awaited the new coach."
ED: Nomad XI loses despite valiant efforts in the field (please turn down sound).
Post scripts - 26 April 2018 - Secretary Hoque on a Hong Kong wharf over a couple of pivs!