John Hardinges and The Octopus League
This is a story about not just a manager of a beach cricket club but the development of a league; from Setup Day to Lifting the Trophy.
I was a 20 year old from Sussex, I had a part-time summer job but my university had just collapsed, literally, but that's another story. I needed some money; and fast. My job was at the RSPB, it wasn't a great job but it got me money. Everyone knew I liked my sport, especially cricket but I didn't think it would come to much. But then came the Octopus League.
I was sent to RSPB head base; in Centeral Norfolk, no where near cricket territory.
"We want you to take over our new Beach Cricket team"
"What cricket team?"
"The RSPB are sponsering one"
"I don't know which team you are talking about" I get handed a 3 page document entitled "The Octopus League"
I read it through and told the Executive what I saw
"There's going to be a world-wide beach cricket league with top teams from round the world, starting with 8 teams in 2 groups, Various companys are sponsering teams getting the rights to their nicknames. All top 8 test countrys have been offered a team but only 5 have so far accepted. If they reject the first 2 secondary offers go to England and Australia. I will be the manager of the Hove Seahawks in the Northern Hempishere Division"
I think about the information for a bit and then sign the contract. The next week I get the information about the teams.
Octopus League North Division
My team. I've never been to Hove before but it has a beach so it looks quite good, In the County of Sussex and the English entry.
San Fernando Carnival
In the second city of the Cricket mad nation of Trinidad (and Tobago) the Carnival is sponsered by Trinidad Tourism. I'm really looking forward to going to San Fernando for days under the sun.
The most popular food in India. The most popular sport in India. Not suprising really that they met. Sponsered by KA.Singh Curries, The fast-food Curry chain.
In the city known as "Columbo's little brother" the Wires are based. After the debacable of the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka, Lanka Power have got sponsership to boost the image of the Electricity Company.
Octopus League South Division
In Tasmania, Hobart sits, The first Australian entry the Golds are sponsered by Estin Ltd, A film studio based in Hobart.
Durban, on the coast of South Africa has it's team sponsered by South Africa Rail the Railway board in South Africa.
Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand has it's team, The Ewes sponsered by the biggest sheep farm, or any other farm, in the world, Hammsmith Farm.
The capital of Queensland, Brisbane is home to the Reds who are sponsered by Heinz Tomato Sauce. Australia took up the offer of Pakistan's rejected spot.
With the e-mail I got more details about the league. Each team will play 28 games: 4 against each team in the League: The winners of the 2 Divisions will play a 5 game series in Ras Al Khayma in UAE to decide the winners of the Octopus League!
The other information I got was that their would be an 11 round draft to decide who goes to which team. It will be a snake format so that the team the drafts first in round 1 drafts last in Round 2 etc.
It was a lot to take in in just one day so I hit bed before I travelled down to Hove to get my office.