I was both delighted and surprised when asked if I would be able to manage the tour to Australia then, after a while, a sort of dread began to creep in at the thought of what goes into a tour. I had been on many before! However knowing that John is a methodical man we would have a plan and would work through everything that would be required.
Thank goodness that in Joel McGlynn from HelloWorld, Brighton, Victoria we have a contact who sorted out the itinerary, hotels and coaches. A big thank you to him is deserved from every tourist. We also had some very useful advice from Hugh Milner who ran the over 70 tour to Australia the year before with budgets and travelling advice – so it was early on that we decided that everyone should make their own arrangements on how and when to get to Australia….. and back.
The selection process was freed of bias by asking the county managers who they would pick from within their groups excluding their own; that way we got, subject to availability, the players most people would have picked. A two day net session in Leicester enabled us to reduce the numbers to 17 leaving one space for anyone who performs really well in the first half of the 2016 season.
Getting kit sorted, searching for sponsorship and advertisers followed soon after. I must say a big thank you to all those who got sponsors and to Rob Hawk for all his wise advice on the kit. It was then down to some training, practice games and more nets.
For me it has been an exciting process, seeing it all come to fruition and I have been very lucky to have had such a supportive captain and vice-captain. As I have two cats at home the process of managing the tourists in Australia should be similar – although some have brought the sensible half of the partnership with them. I have been to Australia before so I know some of the native language such as “thong” and “stubbies” – that should see us through. All we have to do now is enjoy ourselves and bring back the Ashes!