WBHS adapt well to spin and climate for successful Sri Lankan tour
THE Wynberg Boys’ High School 1st XI cricket team returned last week from an exhilarating and ultimately successful 15- day, nine-match tour of Sri Lanka.
The trip marked the school’s fifth international cricket tour and followed previous visits to Barbados, Pakistan and England.
Coach Eric Lefson and his 15man squad made the bustling coastal resort of Hikkaduwa, their home base. The side, made up in age from 14 to 18, faced stiff competition from some of the island nation’s top-ranked schools and cricket academies.
“The boys faced other challenges, including coping with stifling heat and humidity and battling the ubiquitous stomach ailments synonymous with touring the sub-continent,” said Shaun Hewett, master-in-charge of cricket at Wynberg. “Initial results were disappointing: a rusty Wynberg slow to adapt to local conditions and the quality spin bowling from St Benedict’s College and D.S.Senanayake College.
“A day off exploring Colombo appeared to have rejuvenated the squad. They proceeded to embark upon a five-game win- ning streak which included a sparkling century by opener Raythaan Addinall against Torrington Cricket Academy.
There were also four consecutive four- wicket hauls from under-17 provincial leg-spinner Dyllan Matthews, and a Seenigama Oval record score of 402/9 in a 50-overs-a-side match against touring Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy from Australia.
Matthews took 21 wickets in eight matches on tour.
“Our penultimate match on tour ended in defeat. We were outplayed by a well-drilled St Thomas’ College. It was a partic- ular eye opener to witness the opposition bowling 40 consecutive overs of high-quality spin, not something South African schoolboy cricketers are particularly accustomed to facing.
The final game – against Lumbini College at the impressive Tamil Union Grounds – was abandoned without a ball being bowled as monsoon-like rain settled over Colombo.
“Tours of this nature transcend cricket and off- the- field memories will include a visit to the ancient and remote Buddhist monastery on Temple Island and having dinner with superstar, Kumar Sangakkara.
The boys are unlikely to forget the humbling experience of facing the Foundation of Goodness XI either: a team comprising of Boxing Day tsunami orphans.
“It was a thrill to play cricket in a land with so great a passion for the game. Passers-by on foot and on motorcycles would take time out of their day to become interested spectators, enthralled by the news that Jacques Kallis’s old school was in town.
“The prospect of an exchange programme between Wynberg and St Thomas’ College is an exciting, tour-related legacy too.”