West Indies v England, Barbados match report

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Benno writes:

Really it all started the night before in Harbour Lights in Bridgetown where we took full advantage of the ‘drink all the sickly rum punch you can for 50 bajan dollars’ offer and invented a game called musical table dancing. My mate, Pikey, tried to rip out his own eyeball at the end of the night; forgetting in his drunken stupor that he wasn’t wearing his contact lenses. He was left with a red and bruised eyeball for the rest of the holiday.

Day one
A painfully full bus journey into town brought on the start of the beer sweats. My mood brightened when I was able to purchase an energy-replacing red drink, but waned when I spilt it all down my white T-shirt. It was bloody hot so I spent the morning session contemplating buying a straw hat, but the bloke wanted USD 25 for something that would make Geoff Boycott commit homocide, so I opted for sunstroke. Later in the day, I saw Mike Gatting. He hasn’t lost weight. And has no dress sense.

Day two
Today I wore my Victoria Beer wife-beater top. The sun left me with two ridiculous white stripes over my shoulders.

Day three
By now I know nothing but drinking Banks Beer and getting sunburnt. I’ve never seen Banks Beer in England but have decided it is a fine beer, so I have a discussion about the possibilities of importing it with my mate Smartie. We have a viable business plan, but can not remember it by the end of the drinking session.

We went to the Boatyard in the evening. This place is only 45 bajan dollars to drink all you can and it has a pool table. Why did we waste all those nights in Harbour Lights? I enjoyed some bumping and grinding with the local girls, but didn’t feel confident to adopt the dance moves the local chaps employ on them, which appears to border on rape. Pikey had to be taken home early. Pikey pissed himself in the night and then got into the wrong bed. Coombsy was not amused to awake the next morning with wet Pikey lying next to him.

Day four
By the afternoon session, I decided I had seen enough of this Sarwan chap, so I decided to spot boobies. Apart from one particularly fine pair in a red bikini top (saved in the memory bank), all others were attached to men with large beer bellies. Never before in my life have I seen such a plethora of fat people. I think that’s the primary reason Mike Gatting was there – for a self esteem boost. Saw Sir Viv whilst in the burger queue, but my burger was cold, overpriced and not satiating. I’m sure the food is usually quite good in Barbados, they just wanted to make us feel at home.

Day five
Contemplating the possibilities of either another wicketless day and the nailed on draw or a Jamaica-like collapse, neither of which were particularly appealing, we elected to spend the last day on the beach. I saw some turtles when I was snorkelling in the reef. There was a much better array of boobies to take in than there had been at the Kensington Oval.

I had a really annoying bint sat next to me on the plane home and got no sleep. Straight to work from the airport for a 14 hour day. Tuesday was the first unhappy day for a while.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. Last time I was in Harbour Lights, I got the come-on from a comely lass called Laura, with whom I’d chatted briefly as we stepped off the ‘plane together a few days earlier. The fact that she was (a) Scouse, (b) residing in Blackburn, and (c) a lawyer should have warned me of the heartbreak that was to come. She gave me her number, said we should go for a drink, then ignored all my attempts during that week.

    We eventually met again a few days later, where she was flirtatious enough to distract me from my conversations with another girl…and then ignore me completely. Sort of losing two birds with one stone. Actually, that night ended up a little bit mad…I vaguely remember trying to get into the Boatyard at some point, but there being too much general messiness.

  2. Beautiful work Benno. So atmospheric, I almost feel like I was there! I have never had Banks but am drinking a bottle of Boags right now, this second.

    Pikey sounds great. One of my friends once got so drunk on holiday that he got up in the night to be sick, and instead of opening the bathroom door he opened the wardrobe door, and was sick all over my other friend’s clothes.

  3. Banks Beer (advertising slogan: “Banks. Exactly!”) is a cut above your average cheap nasty lager. Still not exactly a world-class lager, but far far nicer than Red Stripe and Carib.

    We went on a tour of the brewery, and played at the cricket/hockey club next to it. The brewery sponsors a lot of sport on the island — one of their first really high profile stars was a certain Garfield Sobers.

  4. Mahinda, I think we have all experienced a scenario where we have lost two birds with one stone. You have my sympathies – the pain eases with time but the scar never totally heals.

    Miriam – Pikey has a whole host of drunken stories that earnt him his nickname (my personal favourite involves a police helicopter). In the sober light of day you would never guess such an upstanding gent could transform into such a marauding beast by night. Never a dull evening with his company and I am expecting no different for his birthday drinks tonight!


    If anyone knows a pub in London that serves Banks beer please let me know as I have severe withdrawal symptoms that need appeasing.

    Btw – anyone who says cricket is dead in the Caribbean doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Everyone you meet knows the score at any point in the day and has an opinion, including the rasta guys who literally live day and night on the beach, enjoying the local herbal delicacies. I really hope this series win gives them something to build on. They might still be a few players short of a good team, but it is encouraging they are showing signs of progress.

  5. Bank’s?!
    (in thick brummie accent) “You can save your thanks’s, I’ll have a Banks’s’
    The pride of the West Midlands.

  6. Benno, I seriously doubt you’d find any Banks beer on this fair isle…although your best bet is probably one of those dodgy-looking West Indian corner-shops-cum-offie.

    My withdrawal symptoms were far more to do with the lack of Mount Gay than that of Banks. Fortunately, the former is more easily obtained, and I might have brought a fairly illegal quantity of it back, anyway. When the distillery will sell you a huge 1.75l reinforced plastic bottle of the XO (one of the world’s great rums) for £16, it’s rude not to!

    The “cricket is dead” thing probably more refers to the lack of youngsters playing the game. We saw far more kids playing football or basketball than we did playing cricket. It doesn’t matter if everyone over 30 is steeped in the game, if there aren’t enough youngsters coming through, tough times are ahead *sadface*

  7. Don’t worry Mahinda, I did equally fill my boots with Mount Gay. Although Mount Gay is more easily obtained here, you neglected to mention the singular very thing that the distillery went to such pained lengths to emphasise to us……

    They are only permitted to export 40% proof, but the Mount Gay sold on the island is 43% proof. A whole 3% difference is akin to winning or losing Edgebaston ’05; or picking Owais Shah or just playing with a team of 10 men.

    Point taken on the grass roots theme. Having said that, we played beach cricket with some locals where I was and they were out there playing most days, a large proportion of them being quite young.

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