2017 Tour of Sri Lanka

Day 1 – Travel Day

Everyone has arrived at Heathrow T3, some earlier than others. All checked in and ready see what tour brings. Trying to control 23 excited kids should be interesting. Somehow I don’t think they’ll be sleeping much.

Sri Lanka here we come. 

Day 2 – Arrival

We have arrived safe and sound in Sri Lanka. Three movies and not much sleep on the flight but I think most people caught up on some during the bus journey to our first hotel. Amaya Lake in Dambulla looks incredible. Dinner and first tour meeting before an early bed time!!

Day 3 – Sightseeing & Training

Early Breakfast today and on the coach to Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Some outstanding views from the top and worth the 1000 steps! They say a picture is worth a thousand words and they’re not wrong.

We  jumped back on the coach and went to the Dambulla International Stadium. Some excellent facilities for the afternoon training session and everyone is well prepared for tomorrow’s T20 matches.

Day 4: Match Day 1

Two wins in our first games today.

U13’s restricted Trinity College Academy to 123 in their 20 overs. Alec, Charlie & Abishek the most economical and Luke picking up 2 wickets, 2 catches and a direct hit run out. Leo also fielding like a demon at point. The chase got off to a great start with Charlie (15) and Shaan (23) going at 7 or 8 an over. Both then fell which brought Abishek and Luke to the crease. They both dominated the bowling from the start with good rotation of the strike and punishing the bad ball. Abishek was then stumped which brought Fred to the crease to finish the chase off three wickets down. Luke taking the man of the match red cap. 

The U16’s batted first and posted 168. Henry and Harry both retiring after passing 50. Everyone punished the loose ball well and several sixes were hit. Charlie A, Will A and Freddie were the pick of the bowlers. Freddie finishing with 3 wickets. Excellent catches by Cameron and Ejas. Opposition were bowled out for 138 in a convincing win. 

Great start to the tour.

Day 5 – Match Day 2

A win for the U16’s and tie for the U13’s!!!

U16’s had a convincing 8 wicket win against Kingswood College. Opposition won the toss and were bowled out for 139. Jo Price the pick of the bow

lers with 3 wickets & Ayman with 2. Cameron & Archie retiring on 50. 2 wins from two for the U16’s.

The U13’s had a tough match against the Kingswood College U13’s. Captain Abishek won the toss and batted. Jake and Fred got off to a solid start against the opening bowlers. The spinners then came on and bowled with incredible control. It was a great experience for the boys to play on a difficult turning wicket against good bowlers. Some coped better than others. Ollie and Charlie were the other two to get in to double figures as we managed to scrape up to 109 off 39 overs.

Charlie got us off to a great start with the ball with two wickets. We bowled lots of wides and weren’t at the races in the field which let them back in the game. Max then picked up two wickets bowling two balls in the perfect place that kept a bit low. The last 10 overs were incredibly exciting with them needing over 30 runs with 2 wickets left. An excellent run out, with Luke and Ollie combining, left them needing 5 to win off the last over. 3 to win off the last ball. They were run out running the third to tie the game with both teams being all out. Probably the right result considering we bowled 47 wides and they only scored 48 runs off the bat.

Still undefeated on tour!!

Day 6 – Kandy Temple & Elephant Orphanage   

One of the days which the boys had been talking about all tour had finally arrived. We woke up early and set off for a visit around Kandy Temple of Tooth before heading straight to the much anticipated Elephant Orphanage. After lunch on the river with a spectacular view, we started the long journey to Hakkaduwa and the next leg of our tour. 

Day 7 – Match Day 3

Both sides won close games against MCC Foundation of Goodness XI’s. 

U13’s posted a very competitive 193-7 off their 40 overs. Alec (43) and Jake (32) batted for over an hour in hot conditions. They had some good opening bowlers and then lots of spinners who were capable but lacked the consistency to get on top of the batters. They both departed in close succession which brought Leo (33) to the crease. He took the aggressive approach and bludgeoned the ball to the boundary a number of times. Everyone who came after made handy run a ball contributions to get us up to 193. Abishek making a key 17 not out and playing the shot of the day off his legs. 

After a poor start with the ball and some fluent stroke play from the FOG openers they were 45-0 off 5 overs. This was pegged back by a superb spell by Shaan, Leo and Max who bowled the next 5 overs for 9 runs. The game ebbed and flowed from then on but we managed to keep taking wickets. Abishek the pick of the bowlers with 3-29 but Luke also picking up 3 wickets and creating a superb run out with a diving stop and throw from the ground. It was another tight finish which kept the supporters on the edge of their seats but the boys stayed calm under pressure and came out victorious. Mom Abishek for 17* and 3 wickets at under 4 an over. 

The U16’s also won a close game by 10 runs. Batting first they were dismissed for 170 with Harry (49) and Henry (40) the main contributors. The opposition put up much more of a fight than the previous two and they had some quick bowlers who gave some of the boys a fright. The wickets were shared around in the reply. Tom Fox taking the man of match for a key two wickets in 4 balls. This included the wicket of the batter on 75 who looked set to win them the match. 3 from 3 for the U16’s with one T20 left to play.

Day 8 – Foundation of Goodness Charity Day. 

Today we visited the Foundation of Goodness. We painted a Temple that was at the top of the village of Seenigama. This building was a safe haven for over 750 villagers when the Tsunami hit in 2004 so it’s amazing that we were able to help restore it for them. The boys and parents did a great job. We then visited their impressive sports facilities and played a soft ball match against some locals. 

The FOG are doing some fantastic work educating and providing opportunities for those affected by the Tsunami and other poor families and schools across Sri Lanka. We will be setting up a just giving page and have plans to hold a fundraising event this summer to continue our support of the foundation. 

I think the players and parents gained a lot from the experience.

Day 9 – Match Day 4

MCC Foundation of Goodness XI’s T20 :

The u13s had another closely fought game but unfortunately came up just short. FOG put a competitive 119 on the board with a strong finish to their 20 overs. Invicta were always in contention but lacked that aggression to find the boundary in the last four overs. They finished 19 short. 

Played 4 : Won 2 : Tied 1 : Lost 1 

A disappointing finish to a fantastic tour for the u16s as they they were held to 98 of their 20 overs, with Henry Proctor finishing up on an undefeated 50*. The FOG came out positively and quickly took a strong grip on the game and finished the game off in the 12th over 2 down. 

Played 4 : won 3 : lost 1 

Day 10 – The Final Day

After a much needed lie in half the group visited Galle Fort and international cricket stadium to pick up some souvenirs, while the other half relaxed by the pool. We all left the hotel for the last time and began the long trip to Colombo. We managed to squeeze a quick stop at a Turtle Hatchery and then on to our end of tour dinner at the Cricket Club Cafe. 

After dinner we held a tour awards ceremony, said our thanks to everyone involved in the organisation of the tour and made the final Journey to the airport. 

Day 11 – Home Time!

We’ve been up for nearly 18 hours and finally we board the 2.20am flight to London Heathrow and the last leg of our journey is nearly complete.

We touch down safely with a lot of tired tourists and to a warm welcome from family and friends.

Now to plan a trip to Barbados and St Lucia at Easter 2019…can’t wait!