“Well of course, we lay down the challenge to any village eleven that would like to come play us. They shall be offered the finest Viking hospitality after the game, and even finer before it, just to take the edge off”.
Kit Harris knew about the Captain Scott Invitation XI prior to his interview with Aggers last summer on TMS. If the author didn’t know better, he would say this was direct Scotties-bait on the near certainty that one of us was listening. Viking Hospitality? An International fixture? Cricket in unusual places? I had to find out more. Our reputation preceded us. Kit was delighted that his gauntlet-throwing had been taken up the world-infamous Captain Scott Invitation XI. What none of us expected was what happened next.
In true Scotty’s style, it took about six months for anything solid to be committed. This was largely down to the efforts of club hero and bearded-embodiment of the spirit of Captain Scott, Brett Hawson. Ably backed up by veteran Scotty and skipper Sean Reilly, the two of them managed to assemble the touring party through a combination of good salesmanship and mild threats about selection. All comedies must have an element of tragedy and that job fell to the author, pulling out thanks to a very unfortunately timed wedding. Fear not reader, I received sufficient harassment for this from fellow members.
It was pain enough that the tour was on, and I was to be missing out. It was pain enough to be handed my five minutes of fame through an interview with Daniel Norcross on ‘The Cricket Social’ about the tour. So, imagine my expression when we received news from the Iceland XI that:
- We’ll be playing the inaugural match at Víðistaðatún which will be formally christened the world’s northernmost grass-pitch cricket ground and Iceland Cricket’s new home ground.
- The President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, will be in attendance to toss the coin.
- The Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, will (ceremonially) bowl the first ball of the match
- Our opponents are to be the Prime Minister’s XI.
- Our XI for the same match, has the endorsement of the British Ambassador to Iceland and as such, will carry the additional honorary title of the British Ambassador’s XI
- As well as an official reception at the British Embassy, with the British Ambassador, on the Friday evening prior to Sunday’s Match
Yes, I think something resembling Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ comes to mind when reading that e-mail. C’est La Vie, C’est La Guerre.
Battle lines have been drawn; the game is on for this hotly anticipated diplomatic event. What an experience it will be. Who’d have thought that from reading a book in 2014, I would accidentally be instigating an international game of cricket for a team that I have lovingly become a part of? Evidence (if ever it were needed), that the spirit and legacy of our founder Harry Thompson stays as strong as ever. Bravo, Harry and bravo, Iceland. The team can’t wait to arrive on your Northern Shores. That Viking hospitality sounds pretty good too.