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Cricketers shine in memorable tour to Sri LankaApril 18th, 2018
Two teenage batsmen scored outstanding centuries in Monmouth School for Boys’ hugely successful and memorable cricket tour to Sri Lanka.
Michael and Josh struck stunning hundreds as Monmouth achieved three wins from six matches against strong opposition.
Leg-spinner Sam impressed with the ball, claiming five wickets, and Charlie was voted Monmouth’s best fielder.
Wicketkeeper Joe shone throughout, catching the eye of former Sri Lanka Test and One-Day star Romesh Kaluwitharana, and was notified of his selection for Wales Under-15 during the tour.
The trip to Sri Lanka was the school’s first since a senior cricket squad, including former Glamorgan and England opener Steve James, had visited the island in 1985.
The manner in which the members of the squad bonded on and off the pitch in testing conditions augurs well for the success of the senior cricket over the next four years.
Teachers Mr Andy Jones, Mr Dave Vickers and Mr James Boiling accompanied the 19 boys, who were drawn from last year’s successful Under-13 and Under-14 squads.
The boys’ tour began in Kandy where stifling heat, fatigue from the long journey and accomplished opposition combined to inflict a 92-run defeat in the opening match.
After St Anne’s College, Kurunegala, had posted 157-3 from 25 overs, Monmouth were bowled out for 65 in which Harry top scored with 28.
However, the boys responded well and put up a tremendous fight in their second match before going down by just five runs to St Anthony’s College, Kandy.
Replying to St Anthony’s 237-4 from 30 overs, in which Oskar claimed 3-15, Josh hit a superb 126, containing 14 fours and six sixes, and Michael made 63 as Monmouth posted 232-4.
Any disappointment at the loss was soon banished by a visit to the Temple of the Tooth, the nation’s most important Buddhist shrine.
The boys then travelled to Colombo, where they won two T20 matches against Colombo International School at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium.
A dazzling unbeaten 114 from Michael and an excellent 28 not out from Theo steered Monmouth to 189-2 before Sam took 3-6 to restrict Colombo to 71-6 for an emphatic 118-run triumph.
A mature third-wicket partnership between Sam (42 not out) and Charlie (35 not out) then guided Monmouth to an eight-wicket success after the tourists had limited Colombo to 93-5.
To cap off an excellent day’s cricket, the boys were treated to a masterclass by Kaluwitharana, the former Test wicketkeeper who made a hundred on his Test debut and is credited with introducing pinch-hitting during the 1996 World Cup.
The boys travelled to Udawalawe National Park, the southern tip of the island, where they observed some exotic inhabitants, including elephants, at close quarters.
The tourists honed their skills with a two-hour net session at the Hambantota Stadium which set them up nicely for the final leg of the tour on the surf-friendly southern coast.
In the penultimate match against St Thomas’ College, Matara, William took 2-12 as the hosts reached 190-7 from 30 overs. Despite the fine efforts of Hugo (41), Josh (32) and Harry (29) Monmouth were dismissed for 159 in a 31-run loss.
Monmouth rounded off the tour on a high, sealing a two-wicket win against Rahula College, Matara, to highlight just how much progress the boys had made since the opening match.
Michael (2-20) and Adam (2-27) took the bowling honours in restricting Rahula to 174-7 from 30 overs. Michael (55), Harry (39) and Josh (20 not out) then took Monmouth to the target.
In addition to the leading run-scorers and wicket-takers, reserve wicketkeeper Richard worked hard with the bat and performed creditably with the gloves, achieving two smart stumpings.
Oliver, Joe, Freddy, Matthew, Eoin, Rowan and Zac all grew in confidence throughout the tour and bowled important spells in the challenging conditions. This experience will no doubt serve them well during the coming cricket season.