Cricket XI UK Tour Reflection

July 28, 2017 at 2:34 PM

With thanks to Year 11 student, Nikith Perera

The buzz of anticipation and excitement ran through the hearts and minds of 16 young men about to embark on an adventure never to be forgotten. The long wait was over, all the talk about it was finished, one foot onto the Cathay Pacific plane and London was only 26 hours away. For some reason, just over a day of travel didn’t seem as bad when you were surrounded by 15 other guys just as excited for the journey ahead.

Day 1 of the tour was spent playing touch rugby and football at the park, after so many hours sitting down, we all needed to blow off some steam. The country had put on some amazing weather for us straight away, not a cloud in the sky. Our first day was filled with smiles, goals and tries. We strolled through streets that looked like they were out of a movie, walked across London and Westminster Bridges and stopped off at  the Tower of London. An amazing first couple of days in the shopping and sightseeing capital and we’d almost forgot what we came for, the cricket!

We drove west to the county of Somerset, where one of the most prestigious schools in the country awaited. A great bowling spell up front from Simon Keene and constant wickets throughout the middle overs restricted Millfield School to a defendable yet subpar total of 189. Although it was a good pitch, 190 runs in school boy cricket is never considered an easy job. Our openers, Sajith Dhambagolla and Conor Ansell worked hard and a flurry of boundaries saw them both reach half centuries. The game was finished with Saint Kentigern  winning by 8 wickets. 

A win under our belts, there was confidence going into the second game. The hosts, Eastbourne College batted first and although the pitch was playing tricks on the batsman, they managed to scrape through to a total of 145. Unfortunately, our batting line up failed to fire and were skittled for a total of just 70. This taught us a lesson about batting sensibly and with greater consideration of the conditions.

Onto the third game against Hurstpierpoint College where two familiar characters, Jamie Parker and Angus Anderson who were both members of last year’s first XI, greeted us at the pavilion.  Another well executed bowling performance from all of the bowlers and a stellar effort in the field led to a small target to chase of 135. The game ended with Saint Kentigern winning by 9 wickets. The team was lead confidently and with great awareness by the captain, Fergus Ellis.  

Another well-known cricketing school, Harrow were next. On a good wicket, we failed to put up a par score, crumbling to 137 all out. Harrow looked steady, but some quick wickets changed the game and 120/7 became 125/8 and at 135/9, Saint Kentigern  had a real chance of snatching a famous win. Unfortunately, we could not remove the final batsman but could hold our heads up high. The pride shown in the school and desire to win was obvious in this group. Younger players learned how proud Saint Kentigern cricketers are of their performance and how important it is to compete until the final runs are scored.  

A tough challenge awaited us with Cranleigh, national champions and unbeaten in more than 30 games. Sajith captained the side for the first time, we were shown just how good Cranleigh were when they put up a total of 272 in their 50 overs. We were off to a shaky start in reply, however, a great partnership between Sajith and Simon gave us a fighting chance. Both batsmen showed class but made the fatal mistake of getting out at the same time, meaning all momentum was lost and the youthful middle order were never able to regain ascendency in the run chase. The game finished with Cranleigh winning by 50 runs and our players learning another valuable lesson.

For us to achieve our goal of winning three games, our final game was a ‘must win’. A good start with the ball by opener Daman Bhatti and Bailey Service put pressure on the Whitgift top order. Once again, our fielding unit set a high standard and drew positive comments from the hosting coaches and parents. A fantastic spell at the death from Daman left him with 5 wickets, on a pitch that wasn’t offering much for the pace bowlers. Chasing a small total, the lessons learned at Eastbourne only a week before were put into practice as batsmen played to the conditions and with a positive mindset. A platform was set for Matt Soroka to see the team home, which he did scoring 44 not out. To finish on a high was really nice and was an appropriate way to end the tour fixtures.

Although we had finished playing, the cricket wasn’t over. After an amazing tour of Wembley Stadium, we went to Lord’s Stadium, the famous home of cricket. We were lucky enough to have tickets for Day 1 of the first test match between South Africa and England. An amazing setting with such rich history behind it was the perfect way to cap off an amazing cricket experience, one that I’m sure none of the boys will forget. A big thank you to the teachers who accompanied us; Mr Parker, Mr Prins, and of course Rev Smith. Without these guys, none of it would have been possible.


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