Hampstead duo head to Nepal on MCC tour

Hampstead captain Steve Clark (left) and George Adair. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead captain Steve Clark (left) and George Adair. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

Two players from Hampstead Cricket Club have been selected in an MCC squad which is departing for a two-week tour of Nepal today (Thursday).

Hampstead captain Steve Clark and his fellow opening batsman George Adair helped the Lymington Road outfit to win the Premier Division title in the Middlesex County League during the summer, and they are now heading to Asia as part of a 13-man group captained by former Middlesex man Neil Dexter.

The MCC team will play six games, including a two-day and a 20-over match against the Nepal national team, plus clashes with the Nepal B side and Under-19 line-up.

Just as importantly, they will visit areas affected by April’s devastating earthquakes and will run coaching sessions with local youngsters.

Clark told Ham&High Sport: “A lot of people say ‘it’s going to be a tour, you’re going to spend a lot of time in the bars’, but MCC tours are definitely not like that.

“We’re going over there to spend time with under-privileged kids, we’re going to be coaching them and preaching the word of the spirit of cricket and everything else that comes with that, as well as playing some top-quality cricket.

“We’re playing the Nepal national team so it’s going to be a first-class trip. It’s going to be serious things and we’re representing the club itself [the MCC], which is a big deal.

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“It’s easy to say you’re just getting a free trip away, but personally cricket’s given me a lot and the reason I actually joined the MCC was to hopefully try to give something back, and now maybe it’s coaching kids in a mountain village and showing them cricket and how amazing that sport can be.

“Those are the kind of things you go over there for and it’s not so much the cricket that I’m looking forward to. Whilst I am massively looking forward to that, it’s seeing the looks on the kids’ faces when they hit the ball over the ropes.

“I do a little bit of coaching at Hampstead - not as much as I’d like to. With playing and working as well, it’s takes up a lot of time. I think eventually, should I decide to hang the boots up at some point, I’ll probably end up moving into coaching in some kind of guise.”

Clark, who lives in Hampstead and will turn 33 during the tour, believes he will return as a better player.

“You go to play proper cricket,” he said. “It’s not just a sociable tour, you’re playing people who are on the full cricketing circuit.

“I know two or three of the guys and none of them have played in what I guess you would call sub-continent cricket. The wickets are really different, the bowling’s going to be different, the batting style’s going to be different so it’s going to be a great experience.

“It can only help, you’re not going to get any worse playing on different wickets. The more exposure to different conditions you get, the better cricketer you’re going to be.”

It is proving to be a memorable year for Hampstead, who have celebrated their 150th anniversary by winning the County League title and now have not one but two players in the MCC touring party.

“Hopefully if people notice that then it will only serve to help Hampstead as a club as well,” said Clark, who is pleased that his team-mate Adair will also be on the plane.

“With the MCC, everybody’s like-minded so should I not have known anybody I’m sure it would have been brilliant anyway.

“But it’s always nice to have that little bit of familiarity with at least one person, so you can room with them or set next to them on the bus and just break yourself in gently.