Cricket Tour to the UK

July 23, 2015 at 4:04 PM

The Development Tour to the United Kingdom by our College cricketers provided a valuable experience to improve the players’ skills in the unique surroundings of the sport’s spiritual home. During the holidays, 15 players and two staff members departed for an extensive 17 day tour that included seven scheduled matches against some of the most prestigious schools in England.

After a couple days of sightseeing to acclimatise to the Northern Hemisphere conditions in London, the team’s opening match was against Hurstpierpoint College in Mid Sussex, where our College 1st XI Cricket coach, Greg Haines previously taught for six years. Unfortunately rain meant the match had to be abandoned, however, the team had formed lasting friendships with their counterparts while being billeted for two nights.

The next match was against St Bede’s in Upper Dicker, where Head of College, Mr Cole had been headmaster for eight years prior to returning to New Zealand. Batting first, Saint Kentigern made 181 from 47.4 overs, with James Ellis and Aditya Edekar putting together a 60-run partnership. St Bede’s went on to win by four wickets, with Saint Kentigern showing competitive spirit until the final ball.

The team then headed to Eastbourne College, founded in 1867 and sporting a magnificent oval set amongst historic buildings. After Saint Kentigern elected to bowl first, Sandeep Patel and Aditya both returned excellent figures from their 10 overs, with 2 for 42 and 0 for 22 respectively. Jimmy Webb took two wickets for 24 runs from his five-over spell, while Callum Mark allowed just 28 runs for one wicket from his seven overs. Chasing 207 in 50 overs, Saint Kentigern finished 45 runs short despite Fergus Ellis posting a well-constructed 46.

The tour’s sense of history was continued at Eton, which was established in 1441. The magnificent architecture filled with famous artwork by master painters added to the excitement of playing cricket at the iconic school. James made a half-century and Daniel Young hit 37 down the order in the total of 250 from 50 overs. Mark Soroka was the pick of the bowlers, taking two for 33 from six overs with Eton winning by five wickets.

Batting first in the next match against Harrow, James made 46 and Aditya displayed class hitting on his way to 50 from 85 balls. Finn smashed 39 from 21 balls to take Saint Kentigern’s total to 218. In reply, Anubav Thapa was miserly with his 0-37 return from 10 overs as Harrow triumphed by six wickets.

Back in London, the team attended the Old Collegians’ London Reunion and had an official tour of the famed Lord’s ground.

The venue for the fourth match was Wells Cathedral School, in Somerset. The school was founded in 909 AD and two of its boarding houses are original buildings on the oldest inhabited street in Europe, providing a postcard backdrop.

The format was a welcome change from the four straight 50-over matches. Each team had two innings of 25 overs each, with Saint Kentigern determined to push for their first victory. Daniel scored 58 from 38 balls and Angus Anderson 77 from 66 to help Saint Kentigern to 193. Anubav’s bowling was outstanding, taking three wickets for four runs from the maximum five overs.

Finn was belligerent in the second turn at bat with 61 from 29 balls while Shane produced a classical innings of 51 off 41 balls. With a large lead, Saint Kentigern needed 10 wickets for the outright win which was a tough ask from just 25 overs. However, Sandeep and Simon Keene were superb in taking three wickets each, with Aditya snaring two on the way to an incredible and well-deserved victory.

The final fixture of the tour was against St Edwards School in Oxford, where College cricket coach, Rex Hooton has spent the last five New Zealand winters as their cricket professional. Batting first in the timed match, Saint Kentigern reached 310 from 55 overs. James scored 133 at nearly a run a ball and Daniel 79 in an opening stand of 215.

James became the first person to score a century before the lunch break against St Edwards since 1992 when now England captain, Alistair Cook achieved the same feat. The match finished as a draw after St Edwards were restricted to 165 with wickets in hand in reply.

Across the tour, the players were immersed in a culture where cricket is not just a sport but a way of life. The history, landscape, facilities and hospitality combined to make the tour memorable and rewarding.

We are grateful to the following sponsors for their support of the tour: ATP NZ, GT Radial, Cardiology Consulting Ltd, EPS (NZ) Ltd, CBRE, Land Rover and special thanks to Old Collegians and Parents and Friends. 




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