By James Herron
What do you do without WiFi? – the most important question on the lips of a 15-16 year old. Well, for 2 days the lads lasted without it until I finally relented, bought them a weeks worth of access and suddenly all was good in the world again, the sun was shining and the sky was blue.
The same cannot be said of Barbados this Wednesday – at times I expected to see Martin Sheen or Bruce Willis appear akin as it was to Apocalypse Now or Armageddon as the picture shows!
However, we were able to get one game in today – a T20 v wonderful hosts, Ellerslie School, located just north of Bridgetown. As is the Caribbean way, upon arrival we wander right in and whilst I am looking for the cricket coach most of our lads decide to gazump a PE lesson and start playing 8-a-side football against the local lads….I think we won 2-1….actually, we may have lost 2-1, I have no idea…suffice to say it set the scene for a great day of sport and emerging friendship….just not the weather!
I met Ellerslie’s coach in the principle’s office (a long time since I was summoned there), to be met with him dressed head to toe in Warwickshire training kit – Rohan was his name and he had been a liaison between Barbados and Warks for a number of years when the side came over on Pre-season tours. He qualified as a Level 2 coach at Edgbaston and counts Ashley Giles, Jim Troughton and especially Graeme Welch as personal friends – what a small small world we live in.
Apologies, I almost forgot….the game! So, we were bowled out for 136 in the final over with Callum Herron making a high quality 50 before being last one out – a superb knock in challenging conditions and batting at 6 coming in at 34-4. Callum was ably supported by birthday boy, Jacob Clarke whose excellent tour continued with both bat and ball.
In reply, we had Ellerslie at 43-4 off 9 overs and we were right on top. However, some uncharacteristic fielding errors alongside some excellent shot making and running between the wickets saw Ellerslie sneak home with 3 balls to spare. A great game that went right to the wire – and to recognise this Mother Nature decided to then unleash a torrential downpour to ensure the second game of the double header would not take place. However, once this had passed most of the lads were back outside playing “one hand one bounce” – three of their lads even joined in and advised us the proper name was “one hop”!
The evening was spent at a local restaurant to celebrate Jacob’s birthday – whilst I am sure he appreciated lads and parents all being there, I’m still not convinced he loved our rendition of Happy Birthday!
Reflecting on today’s game – it took place on what many would consider from a privileged perspective to be poor – wicket, outfield and facilities. However, to our Bajan friends this is just the norm – and a key part to this tour is to experience and adapt to these conditions. We are still learning hugely in this regard, but we are improving as each game goes on. In addition and given the conversations I have had since our arrival I have no doubt the lads (and myself) realise just how fortunate we are. I certainly do!
Whilst we did not win the game, I am proud once again of all the lads – respect is an easy word, the lads showed it again today. Today was about cricket in its purest form, the ability to adapt to difficult conditions and we gave it a great effort – coming up just short. But, as I reflect upon today and given my comments and observations, we have won in so many other ways.
To Ellerslie, to Rohan and to all his team – thank you, you taught us a lot today.
Today has been my own personal highlight.