2:09pm Friday 23rd March 2012
By Ian Morgan
TEENAGE cricketers from Herefordshire have been inspired by the passion of the Sri Lankan people and the beauty of their grounds.
Jack Taylor’s century was the cricketing highlight for Herefordshire Under-15 on their memorable four-game trip to Sri Lanka.
But the tour was much more than sport for the boys and their county coaches Christiaan Ferreira and Jim Holden.
And, at the end of each game, Herefordshire skipper George Cook presented cricket kit to the opposing captain.
“Not only did we perform well on the pitch but off it the boys and accompanying parents got a strong insight into Sri Lankan life,” said player Jacob Broadbridge.
“We all enjoyed the food, the culture and the people. But, most importantly, we gained a true understanding of the full effect of the tsunami.”
One of the aims of the tour was to contribute to the charity called SOS Kit Aid.
Since 2001, the programme has provided £2million worth of high quality recycled rugby kit for over 50,000 disadvantaged young people.
The scheme has now expanded to cricket strips.
Most of the county squad and Brockhampton Cricket Club, for whom some of the boys play, created cricket bags full of kit to donate to the players in Sri Lanka.
Brockhampton stalwart Roy Wargen was among those who travelled with the squad.
Jacob explained: “In the games we played, a fallen Sri Lankan wicket would require the outgoing batsman to give the new batsman most of his kit.”
The Herefordshire lads played on grounds which have been created from scratch since a tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka a few years ago.
Two of the grounds have been financed by Surrey
County Cricket Club and another with MCC funds.
Herefordshire gave their best display in their final match against the Sanith Jayasuria Academy in Colombo.
They were energetic in the field and bowled with precision as they dismissed the academy for 202.
Paddy Milton struck an unbeaten 48 after Harry Children and Jack Taylor had both made 23 but Herefordshire were bowled out for 182.
Earlier, Taylor’s century in the opening game at The Surrey Oval had given the boys’ their first taste of Sri Lankan conditions.
The hosts posted 289-7 on a flat, cracked wicket after an excellent opening burst from Tom Porter and Milton and then four run-outs coming in the last 10 overs.
Taylor anchored Herefordshire’s reply with an excellent 104 and they closed on a respectable 203-8.
Herefordshire’s lack of batting depth was evident as they lost their next two matches against the Foundation of Goodness Academy based in the village of Seenigama.
The village was destroyed by the tsunami and the academy gives an education and teaches sport to children who lost their families.
Jacob Broadbridge added: “The tour has boosted morale in the squad and we are now ready to take on the new season ahead.”
The Herefordshire Under-15 squad who toured Sri Lanka: George Cook (captain), Jacob Broadbridge, Eliot Broadbridge, Freddie Coleman, Will Ford, Harry Children, Paddy Milton, Charlie Scott, Tom Porter, Jack Taylor, Tom Starkey, Ben Smith, Ollie Robertson, Robbie Protheroe and Joe Harding. Coaches: Christiaan Ferreira and Jim Holden.
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