Vilnius 2015

We opted this year for flights that did not involve taxis to Gatwick before sunrise, so were able to meet up in the glamorous Bar des Voyageurs at Luton airport early on Thursday evening for some pre-flight beers. This went down a treat, and also provided tour organiser John Hull with an opportunity to issue everyone with a tour programme, which successfully captured the essence of each tourist whilst also providing valuable information, such as useful Lithuanian phrases for every conceivable (and many inconceivable) scenarios. Clutching our tour programmes and Pret sandwiches, we soon found ourselves in the even less glamorous confines of a Wizz Air flight, which it later emerged we were sharing with a number of illegal immigrants being deported by the UK government...

All went smoothly, however, and we were all soon safely installed in the Hotel Panorama. Following a quick turn around, we found ourselves to be the only people enjoying a big Thursday night out in Vilnius. By CIPACC standards this was a quiet night, the most notable incidents being Stuart Lumsden's ginger beard attracting a delighted (but less than delightful) male admirer, and the team kitty being used to buy two cheese burgers each at a McDonald's Drive Thru. The Drive Thru subsequently became a regular fixture for the remainder of tour, particularly for the tour's big man, James Shearman.

We awoke bright and early on the Friday morning shortly before midday. We had no cricket match scheduled for that day, so were able to enjoy a carefully crafted tour of Vilnius's baroque town centre, the largest in Europe it is said. Despite tour leader Chris Milton's best efforts to educate the masses on the multitude of Baroque delights from his Lonely Planet guide, the team soon ended up in a pub, where we were joined by Simon Thomas (who had an excuse for being late, having just landed) and Rob Jackson (who had allegedly been working in the hotel).

The party now complete, we stayed in one pub or another for approximately the next twelve hours (we think). Overall, few escaped this ordeal unscathed. Dave Prothero and Andy Grant amused all by falling (asleep or off a stool, you guess which), and Mark Dean lived up to expectations as the youngest tourist by going solo clubbing. Beyond that, the less that is said the better, but you all know who you are (or he is?)... It is noteworthy, however, that we picked up at dinner our one and only CIPACC fan, who in fact came to watch us play the next day!

The evidence of Friday night's extravagance was all too clear when met up shortly before midday to play cricket, and became still clearer once we attempted to play cricket. The match report and scorecard reflected our state all too well. Not to be discouraged by this mediocre performance, the team were soon back to enjoying beers early on Saturday evening. Having filled and enlarged our guts with 50cm pizzas in a local pizzeria, we celebrated an exciting win by Lithuania's basketball team by diving back into Vilnius's night life. This initially involved pints of mead or shots of Jack Daniels, but before long we had rather fragmented into disparate groups of liabilities. Most of us had arrived home safely (via a cocktail or five) by the early hours of the morning, but Andy Spurr and Jim Duffy decided to make friends with the Russian mafia until 7am instead (when they finally escaped near certain death to the Drive Thru for breakfast).

The cricket match on Sunday was curtailed due to torrential rain, but a resounding Duckworth Lewis victory put most of us in the mood for some celebratory beers. We found a pub with table-mounted beer taps and space for twelve that was perfect for assessing each tourist's contributions to the tour, and ensuring that he drank a suitable amount of beer to reflect those contributions. The fines were harsh but fair, particularly in the case of Justin Wilson. A few of us stayed out for a final night cap, but before long all were tucked up safely in Hotel Panorama awaiting 5am cabs back to the airport and reality.

The matches and stats have been entered and can be found here.