R. Marshall & A. Sangha have just returned from an amazing cricket tour in Sri Lanka. They played at some incredible venues, some of which have recently hosted International test cricket. These grounds included the one at Galle, Kurunehala and the Surrey Cricket Village in Magonna which was funded by Surrey CC after the devastating Tsunami in 2004. They played some hard cricket in testing conditions but have both returned stating it was an unforgettable experience. The boys were also lucky enough to meet some past and present Sri Lankan international cricketers including Prasanna Jayawardene. The effects of the 2004 Tsunami were still very apparent and the team visited the Gramani Maha Vidalaya School in Ambalangoda where they donated supplies for the children including new shoes, stationery, rucksacks. It was a stark reminder of how lucky we are.
Both boys contributed significantly on the tour for their U12 county side and we hope it stands them in good stead for their next international adventure; indeed, the two boys are part of the Caldicott cricket squad who have been selected for their tour to South Africa in February 2013.
Below is a report written by R. Marshall.
The Bucks County team of 15 boys arrived at the Sri Lanka airport all excited. We received a necklace of flowers and we were given a very warm welcome. So we made our way to the Paradise beach hotel in Negombo. We went swimming and saw a snake charmer then we had supper and went to sleep.
The next morning we went to train at a ground. It was our first experience of the Sri Lankan heat and humidity, we were feeling queasy. After the training session we proceeded back to our hotel and we could spend the rest of the day there to relax and take it easy.
The next morning was the day of the match we were all nervous. When we arrived at the stadium near Colombo, when we stepped out of our bus we were treated like celebrities, people were trying to get their photo with us and we were signing things for them.
It was a very exciting match and it was put on Sri Lankan TV! We drove back to the hotel. We got ready for a BBQ in the jungle, it was pitch black and pouring with rain it really set the atmosphere! When we got there we entered a small hut and proceeded with the traditional oil lamp lighting. After that we collected our food and they said to us we had to eat it with our hands! I was surprised seeing we had to eat dahl curry and rice!
Afterwards we headed back to our hotel to spend our last night there.
In the morning we got ready for a long drive into the hills to Kandy. On our way we stopped at an elephant orphanage and a nice restaurant overlooking a rushing river and to our surprise we could see an elephant bathing in the river! Then the rain came and we had to wait for it to stop so we could leave.
When we arrived at Hotel Suisse in Kandy we were given tropical fruit drinks and nice refreshing towels. The only problem was that we were all given the wrong rooms. We settled in and stayed their overnight with us all focusing on the match the next day.
It was the day of the second match and I was wicket-keeping in 35 degrees Celsius and it was very humid, we were playing at kurunagala test ground. It was a very exciting finish
and we won by 8 runs and after the match their captain gave a fantastic speech. We went back to the hotel. In the evening we visited the sacred temple of the tooth relic and learnt about all its history. Then we went back to the hotel to stay the night there.
The next morning we had another long drive to Bentota that rested on the coast, which meant we were on the edge of a cyclone!
The next day was the day of match 3 it was the Surrey oval and is named that because when there was a tsunami in Sri Lanka, Surrey helped restore the ground. It was a very exciting match. We headed back to the hotel to stay the night.
The next day we headed to the very important Galle test ground. It was pouring with rain and there was a worry of no cricket. We were in the pros changing room where the likes of KP and Alistair Cook may have been in. while the rain was still pouring we met the president of the ground who was a former Sri Lankan test cricket player. And we also went to the Galle fort. While we were there we learnt that when the tsunami hit, Eton senior school were about to play cricket there. They all survived except for one of the boy’s mums that was in their bus that got washed away. Finally the rain stopped and we got the privilege of playing 10 overs where many legends have played. We headed back to the hotel and stayed the night.
The next day we went to the hotel Mount Lavinia and on our journey we visited a school to give the students footwear and rucksacks. They were all very cheery and grateful for what we gave them. When we arrived at the hotel we relaxed until our bed time.
We went on very short journey for our next match. Play started and Bucks were looking great but in the 32nd over the rain came and the match was abandoned.
The next day we had another game at the psara oval in Colombo but the monsoon of rain made the stadium like a river. We tried to make the most of it by playing hand cricket but it didn't feel the same. Instead we had our team photo taken at the ground and the main Colombo stadium. We were all very sad that we couldn't play.
The next day was free to relax.
In the evening we had our awards presentation and Aman Sangha received the award for best tourist. It was a very fun night. The next day we headed to the airport all of us very sad and we departed back to rainy Enland.
But in the end it was a fun and successful tour.
R. Marshall with Prasanna Jayawardene.
A. Sangha bowling.
A. Sangha and R. Marshall visiting the Gramani Maha Vidalaya School.
The county cricket team at Galle, Kurunehala.