Mežica Cricket Club, Slovenia: The most beautiful cricket ground in Europe

Mežica Cricket Club, Slovenia

Mežica Cricket Club, Slovenia

High up in the Slovenian Alps, Mežica Cricket Club is surely the most beautiful ground in Europe. It is certainly the most beautiful that I have ever played on.

The team was founded in the 1970s by Borut Cegovnik, a boy from Mežica who fell in love with cricket while studying in Kent, England.

Forty years later, Borut captained his team, to this day made up entirely of Slovenians, against the British side Carmel & District CC, in a game that was decided on the final ball of a magnificent day.

Links: Mežica Cricket Club has a website and a page on Facebook.

Contact me here.

My stories from Carmel’s cricket tour to three former Yugoslav republics – matches in Montenegro, where they played in the country’s first ever game, and Croatia, where they fielded an unusual guest player – will be published soon. Subscribe to this website to receive links to them.

Click on the first photograph below to view this photo album in large format.

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Cricket in Uzbekistan: some writing for the 2014 Wisden Almanack

Wisden Almanack 2014This year’s Wisden Almanack includes a piece that I wrote for its ‘Cricket Round The World’ section, about Uzbekistan’s first ever cricket tournament.

 It’s been a highlight of my year to write about two things that fascinate me – cricket and the post-Soviet republics – in a book alongside my favourite writers; Wisden 2014 has essays by Gideon Haigh, Ed Smith and its editor Lawrence Booth.

The latest Cricket Round The World comes from Colombia, Hungary, Iran, Nauru and Japan, as well as Uzbekistan and other places. To find out about the games in Tashkent, just send me an email.

There is a now a book of memorable past CRTW stories – Elk Stopped Play.

Also: From Russia With Stumps – my tale of creating London’s Eastern European cricket team.

You can support a children’s charity in Central Asia that I am involved with, HealthProm, by sponsoring me in a 10km run.



My 10km sponsored run for HealthProm

546573_10150823501456186_1626171879_nOn 18 May in London’s Regent’s Park I will be doing a sponsored 10km run for the development organisation HealthProm – wearing a superhero costume as part of the 2014 Superhero Run.

HealthProm is a London-based team, that works to give vulnerable and disabled children in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe the best start in life. In the Former Soviet Union, where two disabled children every hour are separated from their parents and put in ill-equipped baby homes, HealthProm supports the development of community-based services so that parents can keep their child at home. In Afghanistan, where maternal and infant mortality is one of the highest in the world, they train healthcare staff, and help parents in remote regions to access emergency transport and knowledge so that women can give birth safely.

These causes are very close to my heart; in helping with some of HealthProm’s projects I have seen how dedicated their team is to making vulnerable children’s lives better. And in the parts of the world where they work, a small amount of money really does go a very long way.

You can learn more about HealthProm on their website. Read about the Superhero Run here.

This run is also giving me something to focus my energy on, as I try to get fit for the first time in years. Since beginning training at the start of the year I have lost a stone and a half in weight, my waist is three inches smaller, I have rowed the equivalent of Melbourne to Tasmania and run the same distance as Land’s End to John O’Groats. I’m eating sensibly.

Whether or not I’ll fit into the lycra costume, time will tell…

You can contribute to the money I am raising for HealthProm on my sponsorship page (it’s easy to do). Please also share this page on Facebook and Twitter, via the sharing icons below.

Thank you for your support!


The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

“This year there will be competitors from Brazil, Cyprus, the Philippines… and even the tiny kingdom of Tonga. These Polynesian islands are sending to Russia a luger called Fuahea Semi, who funded his training in Europe by legally changing his name to Bruno Banani – which is the name of the brand of German lingerie that sponsor him”…

My feature on the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games is published in the January 2014 edition of Ukraine International Airlines’ “Panorama” magazine. When you click on the link, a page will open with another link to the article in pdf format.

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Rugby photos: Russia 7 – 28 USA / Фото с регби: Россия 7 – 28 США

Line-out, Russia vs. USA

Line-out, Russia vs. USA

RUSSIA VS. USA, 23 November 2013, London.

The match began at dusk on a beautiful London winter’s day, and ended in driving rain. In the middle there was an entertaining game of rugby – both teams ran with the ball, and never slowed the match down.

Russian fans for Russia vs. USA

Russian fans for Russia vs. USA

The teams’ nicknames gave a hint to how the game would pan out: the Russian Bears – big, proud, simmering with languid aggression – were overwhelmed by the faster, sleeker American Eagles.

The USA attack...

The USA attack…

Подробнее о матче (на русском языке)

Russian fans at Russia vs. USA

Russian fans at Russia vs. USA

The USA won 28 – 7, and four tries to one. The result was harsh on Russia given the fight that they showed…

Russia attack...

Russia attack…

… but they could have lost by more, as the Americans missed at least three try-scoring chances.

Russia stop an American attack...

Russia stop an American attack…

The USA’s all-action captain, and their Samoan-bred centres, quelled every Russian attack.

A maul on the half-way line

A maul on the half-way line

Russia’s try was scored by Andrei Garbuzov, and was converted by Ramil Gaisin.



Introducing MY EUROPE: latest posts and what’s coming up

MY EUROPE is a collection of  travel articles and photo sets from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and Hungary, as well as from England and Scotland.

All the pages have social media ‘share’ buttons – if you like a post, please share it with your Twitter followers, Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts! Comments are always very welcome, too. In return, I’d be happy to add your travel website or blog to my “Friends” page. Just get in touch…

Links to my published writing can be found here. Photo sets are here, and posts from Ukraine are here.

 Latest posts:

  • My photography on the website of the BBC television programme “QI”.

Subscribe to “MY EUROPE” (top-right of each page) to be notified about new posts. My latest article – a guide to the city of Kazan in Tatarstan, for The Calvert Journal – will be published in the next week or so.

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