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Dubai and Nepal cricket

Director of cricket Rob Ferley, tour manager James Wooldridge and technical coach Will Longden have just returned from leading a two-week tour to Dubai and Kathmandu. The 15 1st XI hopefuls played eight games, winning five, as well as sampling the contrasting cultures of UAE and Nepal. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi the team competed in Sport Arabia’s Arch Trophy, narrowly losing in the final to the Zayed Academy. Individual highlights included centuries for Brad Evans and Harry Lloyd. Easter Sunday included a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Yas F1 Circuit, and other excursions to the Wild Wadi Waterpark and a desert safari were much enjoyed.

A four-hour flight that brought the Himalayas into view took the squad to Kathmandu: noisy streets filled with cars, bikes, trucks, families, cows and pollution were a stark contrast to the sleek, surreal, sky-scrapered opulence of Dubai. But the young Nepalese could play cricket: defeat at the hands of a strong Himalayan Academy side containing three U19 internationals proved that. The boys re-grouped and enjoyed two victories against local schools with George Skinner, Joe Pocklington, Ben Twine and Dan Narracott all playing important roles. A trip to the earthquake-damaged historical Durbar Square included a rare glimpse of the living goddess, the Kumari; a trek high into the foothills of the Himalayas saw the squad coaching cricket, planting trees and learning Nepalese at a local primary school; at the Gurkha Welfare Trust the team learned of the extraordinary work carried out to support ex-servicemen and their local communities; and at Swayambhunath, a richly-decorated Buddhist temple mobbed by monkeys and perched high up on a hill, the players enjoyed magnificent views over the city. En route to the airport the squad stopped one final time to observe, from the far side of a river, a Hindu cremation ceremony.

 

Eastbourne College is the first school to take a cricket tour to Nepal; the experiences, both on and off the pitch, will have added greatly to their cricketing and personal development. May the sun shine on College Field this summer.