The 1st XI Cricket squad is away during late March early April, on a development tour to Sri Lanka. The team is heading first to Colombo and then will travel around the southern region of the country. Included in the tour are stays in Kandi and Mt Lavinia. The squad will play 7 games in 14 days against invitational and club sides. The squad is fortunate enough to be playing on two test cricket venues as part of this wonderful experience. When they arrive home on the 11th of April they will have experienced a different culture and style of cricket which we hope will help them develop as cricketers and young Marist men.
Game Day One: Sacred Heart v Palink Sports Club Cricket Academy
We arrived at the ground excited and nervous, I am not sure in which order. The traffic here is interesting to say the least with the Palink Sports Club ground right by a busy road. After doing a few laps of the block the ground was on, we eventually found somewhere to park!
The friendly locals agreed that we could play all 14 players which was great, as that way we could get all the boys involved and also manage their heat exposure and hydration. Little did we know that the level of competition was a little short of our expectation and we did not get the opportunity to get everyone involved as we had hoped.
The agreed plan was we would bowl if we won the toss. The wicket had more grass on it than we expected albeit a little patchy, with the wicket appearing a little uneven but ok. The thinking behind bowling first is that it would allow us to get a feel for the conditions and therefore know better how to approach our batting and also this way we could get everyone into the game. Great planning, we proceeded to lose the toss and they choose bat – objective achieved!!
Aston opened the bowling. He got a tough intro to Sri Lankan conditions slipping when planting his front foot on his first ball and bowling a leg side wide. After roughing up the popping crease, there were no further problems experienced. The Sri Lankan’s consider anything down leg a wide, in line with top level cricket. Must say we had two official umpires and
the standard was very good. Gibbo opened from the other end and picked up a wicket in his first over – plum LBW from an in-swinger to the right hander. Great start!
Fair to say that wickets continued to fall at regular intervals from this point, with the quality of our pace attack appearing foreign to Sri Lankans. Albeit the top 3 or 4 players obviously had some talent they didn’t have the skill set to cope with our bowlers for any length of time. The approach from some of their players was interesting too. None more so than their number 4 who after having one sighter tried to hit everything out of the park. He did succeed twice before being bowled by Gibbo for 16.
Gibbo ended up collecting a well deserved 5 wicket bag which comprised of 2 LBWs, 2 bowled and 1 caught (nice catch by Ben). After a couple of missed chances Hugo gave Gibbo an extended 7 over spell to achieve this great personal milestone. The tour motto is about creating memories and this will certainly be one of them (along with the Tuk Tuk ride later in the day)!
Aston bowled a solid 5 over spell, collecting one wicket, that being their number 3 who looked like quite a good player.
Matty P then followed Aston and served up a Matty P special bowling – a first ball wide followed up by a rearing delivery that was spooned to Jack at second slip. Matty P ended up collecting 3 wickets including 2 bowled. With the opposition 9 down for 75, Hugo brought himself on for the 16th over and wrapped up the innings with a nice catch by Kent.
We had a 10 minute change of innings before Paul & Nick set about getting the 77 runs needed for victory. They opened with 2 medium pacers, and the boys looked comfortable on foreign conditions before an early mix up saw Nick run out for 9 of 6 balls. Tim B joined Paul. Paul seemed at home in the Sri Lankan conditions and ensured there were no difficulties getting the runs required. Tim also looked very comfortable playing a couple of very good shots including a great cover drive. Paul finished 42 not out off 43 balls (included 6 fours) and Tim B 11 off 21.
Comprehensive win to Sacred Heart by 9 wickets with the game over in just over 2.5 hours. We were not expecting to things to go our way so easily but a good performance and nice to get a solid win under the belt to kick off the tour.
We definitely bowled some very good balls but will be looking for a little more consistency tomorrow as we were guilty of bowling a too many wides and no balls. Don’t want to achieve the perfect day on day one!! The boys have enjoyed the victory but are expecting and prepared for far harder games ahead.