Here it is! The long winded and all too detailed account of 11 guys on a mission to the heat pit of China.
Bashers Go Rural: Hello Nanjing Tour 2009
Friday June 19 at 3.30pm Woodstock, Tank, Omega, Loose, the Jaguar, Long Dong and Birdshit assembled at the Big Bamboo to await departure for Rural Nanjing.
After stocking 2 Eskies with Ice and some of Just Beers generously donated VB and Tooheys New and all our gear standing by all we needed was some transport.
The shiny thing across the street could not be ours.
Seems after spending 3 weeks haggling with Loose over the price his boss decided the Porn star and his dingy green bus had to be replaced by a shiny new white one and Driver champing at the bit. As he opened the storage bays under the bus, an audible gasp could be heard from the group, enough room to swing a pitch, 3 tents, and 2 kit bags, all the luggage and still ample space. Things could not keep up to this standard and it wasn’t long before Skippy came crashing down to earth.
Just before leaving we were joined by a Nanjing local, Dylan AKA Raj Siva of the now-infamous prank phone call to Kappabelly inquiring about playing for Pudong on the Bashers Broadcast.
Jumping on the bus, excited like little boys, Woo Hoo, we were given a wave off from the lovely Lara and her cohorts as the bus went in search of a pitch somewhere in Qingpu and then HELLO NANJING.
As thoughts turned to blokey things like Pies, Sausage rolls and Beer, there was nothing short of full-blooded anticipation of the weekend ahead.
As the smells of Jamaica permeated the bus, and pies and beer going down like Linda Lovelace Omega began handing out the season 2009 shirts. The fastidious Tank quickly found fault with the Nillion Tree Project and colour schemes
It didn’t take long for the fines to start racking up, with a notable Long Dong not drinking at Bamboo prior to departure and Tank leaving his bat there too!!
Being up for whatever the trip had to offer Raj soon became as vocal and bench ridden as the rest of us, sitting at the back and ORDERING drinks. (More on his vibrant personality later!)
After about 3 beers each, Skippy decided to dodge the tollbooth, to everyone’s disgust, as we began the long and fruitless search for the Santa Fe warehouse somewhere not as close as he thought. Sounding confident, but not acting like it, Skippy took turn after turn until the dead end we abruptly arrived at informed us all he had no clue.
After a call to the warehouse manager, 25 minutes and full bladders later we saw the horse logo and cheered in unison as both the pitch and urine expulsion were at hand.
As most quickly found a wall or tree to relieve themselves, Long Dong searched a good 10 minutes for the perfect watering location, only to face directly into on coming traffic and a few scooter girls.
With the pitch and tents safely loaded with sandbags (which only dirtied the pristine luggage compartment for the weekend) we now were truly on our way to HELLO NANJING.
As the A11 beckoned the drinking continued at a furious pace. Half an hour into the freeway a truck stop also beckoned as we entered the largest pisswah in the northern hemisphere. Whether it was the pretty colours or the continuous sound of flushing, Woodstock was enthralled and Raj felt compelled to purchase munchies for all, as he hadn’t contributed to anything.
With Loose and Tank talking up our chances, and the Jaguar giving the latest update on the midget, Skippy finally found top gear and managed to overtake a couple of 18 wheelers.
Regular Power Plant and Pagoda beers kept us on our drinking toes, as Birdshit played DJ and even a touch of Karaoke to the Bee Gees as the merry travellers headed through the Belt of Suzhou, Nanjing bound.
The only blemish on an otherwise enjoyable trip was Hammer texting every 30 seconds asking where we were, are we coming, are we lost, did we take the right turn, etc.
As it approached 9pm, we finally drive through the battlement walls on Nanjing to a rousing cheer and need of a slash. Without much trouble (that we know of) Skippy finally pulled into the beautiful Sheraton Hotel where toilets were found, room keys collected and confusion ruled as we tried to work out how to use the bloody lifts.
At this point it should be noted that 4 Bashers were not on the bus, Swahili, Circus and Basher-for-the-weekend Golden Shears, who all had business in Nanjing and were already making friends at Jimmy’s Bar with Hamish and his locals. A round of fines awaiting them before a word spoken. Inquisition was to follow with the missus in tow on Saturday morning.
A frantic Hammer greeted us and after dropping bags we were directed to Jimmy’s bar, our new home away from home and fine pizza and beer bar where as long as you have money, age means nothing.
Walking in to a round of cheers and taunts, the Bashers had finally arrived. A big friendly sign hanging over the bar welcoming the Shanghai Bashers. Hello Nanjing.
As Hammer introduced us to our weekend foes, Circus met Raj Siva. Swahili and GS were in good form and Hammer informed us we would be a man short, as he wanted to play for Nanjing. Rounds of VB soon turned into a lot more rounds of Blonde and VB as Jimmy showed us his hospitality.
With the Pres introduced to his opposing captain Azeem, he managed to bore the pants off him by going through the intricacies of leg side wides and 4 runs for extras. Maybe it was the large group hanging on his every word but there was a power trip going on there somewhere.
Behind him Loose was trying to fire up Circus, who by this stage had taken quite a dislike to Raj. After some initial hostilities, Raj left for the bathroom while Circus chirped it up to everyone’s amusement. Without realizing Raj had returned and was standing behind him, Circus uttered the immortal “I’ll smoke that fool’s ass.”
Left with no alternative but to get it on, each was held back to keep the distance. With Circus and Raj both yelling “Don’t hold me back”, eventually the handlers had had enough and let go. When Circus realized he was free he promptly asked to be held back again with more trash talk and agro agro-ness.
It should also be noted that Jimmy’s has one of the most intriguing bathrooms to be found this side of 4 floors in Singapore. Small Karaoke rooms, red lit and velour curtains welcomed all into a maze of dancing poles and pissed locals trying to sing Andy Lau’s greatest hits. A little scary at first but quite enjoyable after the second visit.
After a few hours hard drinking, eating pizza and unable to stand without aid, Omega was escorted home by the surprisingly sober Long Dong, leaving his teammates to fight, drink, chirp and rack up a massive bar bill.
No sooner had the President been deposited into his room, he promptly did a U turn without key and locked himself out of his room. With no chance of working the lift, he found a house phone and managed to convince a confused Sheraton staffer to let him into his room.
The tweets inform me all other Bashers did themselves proud and walked to the hotel en masse.
Saturday morning and Omega missing from breakfast, Tank decided to interrupt his repose and invite him down.
Stuffing their face with lots of greasy goodness for a day in the sun, all players were waiting in the driveway for Skippy to get directions, and manoeuvre his now parked in bus out of the one way in and out driveway (go figure)
Loose decided he would further hold up proceedings by going for a crap, much to everyone’s chagrin, and we eventually set off to the Nanjing Science and Technology University grounds. With all the locals opting to go their own way we were left to follow 3 locals in their own car, which Skippy did a fantastic job doing, only losing the locals 3 times.
After these delays, we had to call Circus who was waiting at his hotel (and not walking to ours) to inform him he would need to get a taxi as the bus could not get to his, or some thing like that)
After driving past or through many an ancient wall (Nanjing has lots of these) we eventually turned into the UNI grounds and disembarked to find many locals gathered in various stages of whites. We assumed these to be our adversaries and they regarded us with equal amount of intrigue.
The awe struck look that greeted opening the bus luggage compartment soon let them all know that we were there to play cricket. The communal feeling between the Bashers was, “Jesus its hot!” As the mercury was somewhere in the 30’s and 150% humidity.
The pitch was quickly sent out to the centre (or thereabouts) and a flat piece of dirt selected on which to lay it out.
Of more intrigue perhaps were the very rural stumps that were to grace the field for the weekend. Even the Pres, who made them, thought them to be quite special, and within 20 minutes the ground with boundary markers, stumps and pitch, tents serving beer and some kind of mystery beef sandwiches, as well as the most rural looking scorers table imaginable, the toss was made between the Bashers Presidents eleven and the Nanjing Salty Ducks.
Leaving nothing to chance, Omega quickly decided to field and the locals set to padding up and looking at a scoresheet for the first time since school. The Connery Cup was finally under way.
As Katie decided to defect and play for his local beer buddies, we found ourselves one man short. Not to worry, as Alexander the Kiwi and now immortal for having 3 naps in one day, quickly informed the captain of his batting and bowling prowess. Dispatched to long on to save boundaries he immediately began sledging his Nanjing brethren.
Not to be outdone, Circus did his best imitation the Turtle, went one further until warned by the umpire to shut the F*&k up. Mainly directed at Raj with whom there soon blossomed quite the bromance.
The Salty Ducks started a little shakily, we were lured into a false sense of security that some tactics had been worked out. They sent out Katie to open who holed out to deep square leg for not the last time over the weekend for a duck.
The locals soon found themselves in deep trouble being 32 for 5 after 4 overs. It was left to Kay and Matt Lacey, who put their innings back on track, helped by some very average catching attempts. Scoring 32 and 36 respectively, they steered Nanjing to 113 runs before the final wickets fell in the 16th over.
Of note were Golden Shears keeping prowess, and Long Dong taking 3 wickets off 2 overs.
With only 116 to get in 20 overs and very short square boundaries, the Pres sent in Tank and the Jaguar who decided to get out before anyone else had padded up. With Circus coming in one down and asking for a runner, then getting out next ball for 4, it Looked like the Shanghai Pros were going down. Omega and Golden Shears steadied proceedings grinding singles and belting boundaries until Shears left with a respectable 28 from 30 balls. Next in Swahili entered the fray and saw no reason to run when boundaries this short were on offer.
It seemed that the heat was having an effect on the locals as the umpire decided to have drinks breaks after every 4 overs.
Feeling regularly hydrated, Swahili (28 off 30) and Omega soon were chipping away at the total, and Omega lucky to be dropped a couple of times on cow corner boundary. However the Shanghai boys didn’t have it all their own way, as the local skipper, Azeem proved that bending the back and bowling a tight line, he slowed down proceedings. His tidy 2 for eleven off 4 overs easily the best figures of the weekend. But the runs were flowing at the other end and once his were done the outcome was inevitable.
As Tank calculated the score-sheet, he quickly worked out that the captain was approaching his fifty, as well as the target. Informed he needed to hit a 6 with only 3 runs remaining to get, Omega sent the winning boundary along the ground to end the game on 49 not out.
Handshakes all round, the Connery Cup safely in the Shanghai boys hands, a quick beer it was time to turn to Sixes cricket.
With the Heat already taking its toll on the Bashers, Circus shaming himself and his team mates by vomiting after the game, and Swahili not far behind, the Bashers were injected with a hit of Inquisition to help out the 10 Bashers who made the trip.
Of note was the second game between the Bashers Purple Haze and Bashers Inside Legs.
With the Inside Legs batting first, and never getting enough runs to bowl at, they were tied down by a Long Dong maiden, but some late swinging from Leppa saw them lift to around 55 for the 4 overs bowled. Yes that’s right only 4 overs as it was decided that with only 5 a-team that would work just fine.
However those on the ground felt otherwise and after a comedy of errors, which made us look like the bunch of plonkers we were, we finally left the field twice.
In reply, Tank came out swinging, and for once he likey likey. After 3 overs he was on his way back to the score tent 32 not out and grinning. Unfortunately his teammates then displayed the most Basher like behaviour by nearly throwing the game away. A predictable Long Dong flick to square leg soon had his partner and captain Woodstock well short and with the scores tied and one ball to go, the pressure was on the Jaguar. He sent the next ball straight to Leppa at short mid off, and all he had to do was hit the stumps, which of course he didn’t do (fine) and the Purple haze home last ball with a close win.
Next up the Inside leg played Jimmy’s Bar, and were soon victorious. Batting first, Birdshit (21/10) and Omega (26*/10) put on a 50 partnership and local Craig conceding 22 in an over saw them reach a towering 85 off 5 overs. Jimmy’s Bogans opened with Katie, who again holed out at deep square leg for 0, and were never quite in the game. All the Shanghai bowlers going for under 6 run an over and Long Dong taking 2 for 4 runs. Jimmy’s reaching 28 runs after 5.
Notable other incidents include Bernard (Alexander) falling asleep among a rubbish pile of empty beers, Circus asking for a runner then getting run out, Swahili for hitting on the school girls who were watching the game, Inquisition for facing a maiden over, and most rudely, Golden Shears for wearing a Hot Dog shirt under his Bashers Shirt!!
Perhaps the funniest was Birdshit who was nearly knocked out by a ball he didn’t even attempt to catch and said “what?” when we were all yelling at him.
A great day in the heat, and lots of Just Beer product in the belly, the ground was efficiently cleaned and packed away back under the bus, with thought turning to the awaiting Fines and Teppanyaki Saki Dinner.
So all back on the bus and back to the hotel for an hours repose before heading to Jimmy’s for pre-dinner drinks. Swahili and Shears decided to skip the repose and headed straight to Jimmy’s and began pounding them down.
On the way, the Jaguar was feeling quite unsettled due to the air conditioning of Skippy’s vehicle, and so decided after reaching his room to skip dinner and spend his last night as a 30something in the bath, suffering a mild stroke. But more on that tomorrow!!
Meeting time at Jimmy’s for drink, 7.30pm. Bus departs hotel 8.30pm. Skies of Nanjing open in a Monsoon downpour of biblical proportions, 8.15pm.
So we got a little wet!!!!! Selfishly, Tank decided to go upstairs and get changed while the rest of us waited for him to get on the bus. Drive to Tepanyaki restaurant, ETA 15 minutes. Rain stops for the night, 8.35pm. Unbelievable.
However after inviting Skippy to dine with us, we drove 2 kms away from the restaurant to a convenient parking space, only for him to decline our offer and we then had to walk back to the restaurant.
A little dried out from our walk, we arrive into one of Nanjing’s finest Xin Tian Di style areas and bombard the Japanese place with our loud selves. After the usual impatient ordering of Beer, Sushi, Steak, Prawns, Saki, more beer, Wasabi, more steak and some fish for Birdshit (more later) that only rude expatriates are capable of, dinner going into our bellies and Saki regularly being gambei’d, we settled into a round of fines, of which we covered most earlier.
A great night shown to us by Hammer and the local Sponsors GIII. Much appreciated.
After way too much Qingdao and Saki, most headed back to Jimmy’s bar for a nightcap or to watch the Lions game. Loose did a big girls blouse and didn’t even get off the bus and straight back to the hotel.
As Circus had disappeared to a meeting and was not seen again, it was someone’s turn to become Mr Happy and keep Jimmy in cereal. So Swahili stepped up to the plate and commenced draining Jimmy’s of Jack Daniels. Ably supported by Shears, who had never left the bar to watch the Rugby, Tank and Omega slipped out quietly, with Woodstock and BS not long behind them.
Sunday Morning came and getting down to breakfast was harder than Saturday. Walking into the cafe one could hear screams of laughter as the Jaguar was recalling how he spent his 40th birthday morning. It seemed he was so concerned that he had suffered a stroke and needed to TEST himself to see if he was ok. It goes without saying that tampering and testing are one and the same, and he was quite relieved (in more ways than one) to find himself both alive and able.
After trying in vain to get something in our bellies, we all returned to our rooms to check out. As soon as I went into mine the pounding returned to my head, and a quick chuck had me feeling better, but the noise wouldn’t go away.
After leaving my room however it was clear that the pounding had not been my head but was in fact Swahili bashing on his door, swearing and yelling to Birdshit to open the door. “I can hear him, he is in there talking on the phone.”
I said, that’s odd, if I can hear you in my room, I’m sure he can and would open the door. As I left the lift downstairs I saw BS sitting quietly with Tank waiting to get on the bus and asked him about his roommate.
He said Mustard left his key in the hole and so did he. Meanwhile upstairs Swahili was not giving in to his irrationality, Swahili then called housekeeping, then security to let him into his room.
As we all waited on the bus for him, he finally came down swearing about the crap hotel, how they took 20 minutes to open his door, and we were pretty much entertained all the way to the ground by his wailings.
And so after poring out of the bus and being hit by another heat wave, we recruited some locals to again assist with getting the kits, pitch and tents set up again. Enthusiasm by the Bashers seemed to be quite low, whereas our local opponents seemed revived by the previous days play and were quite looking forward to a few overs of cricket.
Even Jimmy’s Bogans, who the previous day had had a fine time drinking all day, seemed to be taking things quite sportingly.
So again with boundaries out and rural table balanced on a stool, the Purple Haze set out to get thoroughly beaten by the undefeated Nanjing Nong Ming.
Azeem hitting 19*, Hamid 20* and Jaguar giving away 20 and Katie 21 from their overs helping Ning Mong to 80/1. In reply the Haze dawdled to 47/1 from their 5 and soundly beaten, Nong Ming looking the team to beat. It should be noted that after his huge Saturday with the bat, Tank tried to recapture the glory Sunday. this led to perhaps the greatest strangest pure freakish shot ever. Swinging for the boundary so far ahead of a delivery, his bat had time to swing fully around and hit the ball, which was headed straight for middle stump, off its back toe straight through point for a run.
In tandem with them, the Inside Leg were having trouble convincing Swahili to play in his delegated team after he had “stepped up” to help the Haze, so Woodstock stepped up to play for the inside leg. Confused, me too!!
Anyway, playing the NIS Golden Balls, the IL did well to restrict them to 3 for 55, with BS taking 1 and Inquisition 2/5. In reply BS and Inquisition again did the job, being helped by the NIS bowling 37 wides and the Inside Leg on a roll.
Next up the Purple Haze and NIS Balls, which saw Woodstock starring with bat and ball getting 20 of the 63 runs, and a miserly 3 runs conceded from his over? The Jaguar also featured in this match by hitting 4 undefeated 40th birthday runs. His bowling was also impressive by conceding 26 runs (5 wides and a six!). However the NIS G Balls fell well short hitting 45 wicket-less runs.
With a place in the main final still up for grabs, The Inside Legs faced off against the Ning Mong, this time with Azeem sitting it out under a dubious rotation policy. Still the Nong Ming batting first and doing well to get 58 runs considering Inquisition had 1 for 5 and Loose only giving 3 runs away. In reply Omega kept his clean slate by retiring on 33 off 10 and ably supported by Golden Shears and Loose to get the runs with 4 balls to spare.
On to the last game of round robin play between the Purple Haze and Jimmy’s Bogans. With Raj having hurt his hand, calling for a runner and then getting smashed on the other hand over the course of the weekend, he confidently walked to the crease with Darradise and commenced slogging to all corners of the leg side square boundary. With Raj falling to another run out, and Katie getting caught on the square leg boundary, AGAIN, Craig joined Darra and with extras helping them along reached 75 runs with Darradise running out of partners and ending on 37.* In reply Woodstock and wides combined to get the runs, however in backing up a second run, he succumbed to a severe cramp, the like of which through salt depletion and dehydration would inflict him for the rest of the day, all the way home and for the next day or so. Purple Haze 76 runs to the good and 3 wins from 4 games.
And so after 10 games, 3 teams had 4 wins and the NIS golden Balls a win over Jimmy’s Bogans who ended with 0-4.
As the Bashers were dropping like flies, Woody down with cramp, Birdshit succumbing to the teppanyaki from the previous evening, and Swahili from Jack Daniels fever, it was decided that all 3 Nanjing teams would play off with the Nong Ming playing a combined Shanghai team for the Cup (Hammer, where is the trophy BTW!?!).
So with Swahili, Woodstock, Tank and Birdshit sitting the final out it was left to Long Dong, Inquisition, Loose, Golden Shears, Birdshit and Omega to try to leave Nanjing with all the silverware. Fielding first, the Left Standing was soon under the gun as Azeem and Azzam both retired on thirty with an over to go. The new guys kept up the pace and incredibly scored about 80 (scoresheet is missing) without any extras! Not much could be done as most runs went for six! In reply Omega and Golden shears opened up and with extras contributing, were on target with 2 overs to go. Azeem into the attack and a frugal six runs conceded. With one over to go and 17 runs needed kept things tight as 2 singles and one six were conceded off the first 4 balls, which left 9 off the last 2. The first was dead batted back and the last over the boundary for a loss by 5. Omega 26* and Shears 18*.
As the Nong Ming scrambled for a souvenir stump the remaining Bashers scrambled for the last of the cold beers and we bid farewell to the Jaguar who refused to get on the bus again and arranged for the bullet train direct to the Jaguar Club.
So the Nong Ming end up winners of the first Nanjing Sixes, and NIS golden Balls beating Jimmy’s Bogans.
A quick congratulatory beer with everyone, the ground was quickly packed up, as everyone wanted to get out of the heat. A quick presentation to Azeem, as player of the Cup final and Darrasdise, as player of the bowl, of Bashers caps and shirts was warmly appreciated by the locals.
Omega having the parting word to a captive audience for the boys to try to organize themselves to play regular cricket also seemed to do the trick. So stump less, the pitch rolled up and kit packed and stowed, it was a subdued bus ride back to the hotel for a shower and then on to Jimmy’s for some Pizza and a fresh esky of kindly donated VB and Tooheys.
A big thank you must go to Hammer time for keeping us all amused at his batting woes, and also for having his leggies hit out of the attic after 3 balls!! Much appreciate to him as well for arranging a great weekend and the dinner on Saturday and Sunday nights.
To Jimmy, whose hospitality was fantastic, as well as being able to “hang” with school kids made the weekend one to remember.
And to all the Nanjing cricketers, we again hope that you now have the cricket bug, and now you have a ground, can start your own league so we can return again to see your development.
So onto the Bus we got, 3 dozen beers on ice and some chippies. A depleted Basher unit consisting of Loose, Long Dong, Tank and Omega still somewhat in working condition and Woodstock still cramping up and Birdshit with Nanjing Belly.
Getting the PA sorted before sitting as still as possible, BS was not a happy man. Woodstock positioned himself next to the window and the rest of us faffed about until we had found a comfortable seat for the trip.
Recalling our weekend adventures soon gave way to drowsy amusement at Woodstock, who was happy to take any medicine on offer to make his creaky bones feel and muscles less painful. It was almost like watching a paraplegic learn to walk and most worrying. While keeping beer intake at a reasonable pace, the trip was mostly uneventful. Only one stop after paying 225rmb at the Shanghai toll, all alighted for a pee break, while Birdshit did his best local impersonation by taking a roadside squat and dump. Still not quite himself but less nervous of exploding, he got back onto the bus and Skippy made no errors in driving directly to Santa Fe without mishap.
After depositing the pitch and tents to a quite puzzled security guard, we then headed back towards civilization. Except that Hu Qing Ping traffic was so bad after 20 minutes we had travelled the length of a petrol station. Seeing a chance to backtrack (and Omega being 2 kms from home) we decided to turn around and head back to the A5. Omega bidding his bus buddies good eve and finding a taxi.
Once on the way and onto the A5 we thought we were as good as home, HOWEVER the A9 turn off with a big sign saying TO CITY CENTRE was closed. Oh dear!
The detour took us almost to Qizhong tennis centre and the next available Gaojia entrance into the city centre, which took another 50 minutes. While in my taxi it took me about 15 minutes to realize I had mistakenly told the driver that those were my friends in the bus ahead, when he thought I said “follow that bus!!” A call followed to Loose on the bus, who also couldn’t work out where Skippy was taking them.
Disembarking at 11.30 at Bamboo Birdshit made his way directly to the loo while the rest emptied the luggage bay for the last time and looked for taxis to go home completely exhausted.
This weekend could not have happened without our valuable sponsors, Kooka Pies and Espresso Nation for subsidizing the bus and for Santa Fe for getting the pitch from Guangzhou for us and lending us the tents. To Just Beer for providing us with Beer, Muchas Gracias, and to all the guys who made it to Nanjing and selflessly scored, umpired and helped out doing what needed to be done, a fantastic effort.