This interview will be different from the previous ones. This time we interviewed a group of gentlemen cricketers who will be visiting Madeira for the first time. They call themselves the Fellowship of Fairly Odd Places Cricket Club (FFOP C.C.) from the Netherlands. Our interviewee is Erik Bouwmeester, and he is the tour manager of FFOP C.C. Erik was so kind to share with us their Madeira ‘invasion’ plans that will take place next month (end of August 2013).
Erik, first of all we want to thank you for granting us this interview and taking the time to share your thoughts with the readers of our blog. Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well I am 56 years of age and happily married for over 26 years. Two sons, one living in the Netherlands and the other in Indonesia. I am a retired Lieutenant-Colonel of the Guards (RNLA). My hobbies are reading, travel and cooking. I am rather hopeless at DIY, so no joy there.
Fellowship of Fairly Odd Places Cricket Club (FFOP C.C.)
Can you tell us more about the Fellowship of Fairly Odd Places Cricket Club?
FFOP C.C. is an assortment of semi-geriatric gentlemen from all walks of life, who cherish the old values and traditions of cricket. I.e. we are cricket purists. We strongly reject some of cricket’s latest changes. One of them being the possibility of playing in non-whites. It is referred to as ‘pajama cricket’. A gentleman should never lower himself to that standard. We also have second thoughts on the T/20 way of playing. We rather play a 50-over match, as it evokes more tactical thinking and playing. We also “walk” when having a slight edge off the bat and subsequently get caught behind.
What are the objectives of your Cricket Club? What makes it different from the other clubs?
Our main objective is playing at not so obvious venues (what’s in the name?), preferably against not so obvious opponents. Having said this, I suppose our main mission is more in the sense of wanting to be some sort of missionaries of cricket. Pray allow me to elaborate. The highest goal for us is to (re) introduce cricket in places where it either never has been played or – in the case of Madeira – where it at some stage has become obsolete. We introduced cricket in the Vatican as well as in Andorra. Both sovereign states – as a direct result of our initiative – now play either league cricket or friendlies. In this sense, no other team in the world does what we do. We made it twice in The Wisden (a.k.a. the cricket bible) as a result of these endeavors.
And why did you choose Madeira Island for your next venue?
I found out that cricket had once been played, but no longer. Also that there is a decent Commonwealth ex-pat community. That – in my book – makes one and one two. Ok, ok, the weather is also great and the food and wine beyond believe.
Is it true that this is the first time you are visiting Madeira? And what do you expect to find / see here?
Yes, first time ‘round. We expect (and know for a fact) that we will be meeting good and decent people and great cricket mates. Both players and spectators. In addition we will be soaking up some of the Madeira Wine festival.
Madeira Cricket Match 30-8-2013
When and where will the match take place? What time? Who will be your opponent here on Madeira?
The match will be played on Friday the 30th of August at 11:30 a.m. at the sports facility of FC Maritimo. Our opponent will be the Dukes of Clarence XI, a for the occasion raised team comprising of local ex-pats.
When was Cricket played for the last time here on Madeira? And can you tell us something about the history of Cricket on the island?
Last match was played in 1926. Here’s some info I got from Don Amaro:
(Source: Elucidário Madeira. Authors: Fernando Augusto da Silva & Carlos Azevedo de Menezes. Translated by Don Amaro and adapted by Erik Bouwmeester.)
Cricket was (as far as is known)strictly and truly, the oldest sport practiced in Madeira. This being the national game of Englishmen, the introduction of cricket on the island was thanks to the British subjects resident therein, especially the children of wine merchants, or indeed from other branches of trade and industry, herein, as they returned from their colleges in England, and also to the employees “Brazilian Submarine Telegraph Co.”, which later changed to “The Madeira Western Telegraph Co.”.
The first match appears to date back to 1888. In that year, the foundation of the first organization of cricket, was titled “The Madeira Cricket Club”, and it had the following key drivers: João Correia, F. C. Cornell, and H. P. Miles.
On 20 March of that same year the opening game took place on the farmland of Achada, in the parish of Camacha. The game was between teams consisting out of one for singles and one for married men.
The first match appears to date back to 1888. In that year, the foundation of the first organization of cricket, was titled “The Madeira Cricket Club”
On January 1st 1893, the “Excelsior Madeira Cricket Club” was founded, an organization that later merged with the Madeira Cricket Club.They purchased land at São Martinho, the “sítio do Engenho Velho” (Old Mill), which was adapted into a sports arena, which opened on April 19, 1894,afterwards being known as Campo do Brás (Bras Field), named after one of its former owners.
The group, that was partial islanders, played several cricket matches as well as other sports, with teams from ships that docked at Funchal, as well as with groups of employees of the Submarine Cable Company Ltd.
It was the “Excelsior Madeira Cricket Club” that adapted the name “Pearl of the Ocean”. This cricket team departed aboard the “SS Niger”, bound for Las Palmas on May 10, 1901, and subsequently played three games resulting in two victories for the Spanish island and one for Madeira.
Various games took place successively by this and other teams, until the interest in cricket was decreasing gradually, disappearing altogether around 1926.
Do you think that people will come to watch the game? Will the media and press be present also?
As it stands now all UK orientated pubs in Funchal as well as some restaurants are having a announcement poster on display. Then The Brit made mention of it in its July issue. I made an announcement on the digital Madeira Times, and last but not least the glossy Essential will do a piece on it in its August issue.
FFOP vs. Andorra National Cricket team 1-9-2012
Also as I understand it the local ex-pat community is – per country – a rather close knit bunch, so that will also secure that word gets around.
We still have to get a confirmation of Madeira TV whether they will be there covering the event.
In short: we expect a decent crowd, with also quite a few Dutch ex-pats involved.
As an after action of the event, match reports will pop up on various (cricket) websites, one being the site of Cricket World.
And is it correct that there will be a big charity raffle?
Indeed, this match is in support of a charity. It’s the Dukes of Clarence’s initiative to play in support of the Banco Alimentar
“This match is in support of a charity. It’s the Dukes of Clarence’s initiative to play in support of the Banco Alimentar”
Last but not least, do you expect to win from the Dukes of Clarence XI? How motivated is your team?
To be honest I haven’t given that one much thought. For we essentially play for fun. Let me put it in this way: we only play one match a year, whereby the match at hand also works as an annual training session. Now, the Madeira lads – as I understand – haven’t played for say 40 odd years, but I have also heard they are currently training their asses off. The outcome of this match will consequently be a rather close call. Ultimately it is common knowledge that Cricket will win!
For us, far more important is the possibility of cricket sticking around in Madeira. If we (both teams) can get people enthusiastic for at least one annual game in the island, it will be mission accomplished. The moment Madeira XI gets a website or at least on Facebook, I bet there will be UK touring teams coming over. If not, then at least one inter ex-pat match per year. We will be monitoring the exploits of Madeira XI in the future.
Where can our readers find you on the web?
Our Facebook page: Fellowship Of Fairly Odd Places Cricket Club