We started our journey on Thursday 13th February, meeting at the club bright and early, at 6:30am. We then begun our travels via coach to Heathrow. The journey consisted of lots of entertaining games which made sure we were awake for the whole journey! Once arriving at Heathrow, we had plenty of time to relax and grab some food before we had to board our flight. We split into two groups and went to a restaurant for some breakfast. After getting some much-needed snacks, we boarded the plane and got comfy for the next part of our trip. Next stop was Miami where we stopped off to stretch our legs and grab some food. We then boarded for The Cayman Island, for the speedy hour flight. When we landed, we were greeted by our bus driver, collected our bags and had a short trip to the hotel.
We had the morning off after getting to the hotel late on Thursday evening. We went down to check out beach with their crystal clean blue sea, followed by some relaxed time by the pool before we headed to the cricket ground to have our first training session. The ground was nice with some great facilities. We had a good training session in the heat as the boys dusted off a few cobwebs from the flight.
In the evening we went to a restaurant and tried some of the local food. The favourite was the Jerk Chicken. The fines were popular amongst the lads as Gouldy and Jeffers took the first honours. Gouldy is getting used to making coffees just the way Sando likes them! I’m sure he’s regretting choosing to be the teacher’s pet!
On Saturday, we had our first game against the Cayman Secretary XI. Everyone was looking forward to getting out there for their first game of the season to put into practice what they had worked on over the winter months.
We performed well with the ball restricting them to 124 of their 20 overs. The bowlers were economical and the wickets were shared between: Amrit Basra, James Cronie, Freddie Heldreich and Ollie Jeffries.
We struggled to get going early on with the bat; losing early wickets in the powerplay. Being 26-3 off the first six we needed to rebuild. James Cronie and Rohan Mehmi shared a partnership of 52 which got us back in the game. With two overs remaining we required 28 to win. It was nail biting finish as we needed three from the final ball, and as a result of some overthrows, we managed to complete the victory. James Cronie with a match winning 55*.
It was a fantastic start to the tour and the season; everyone thoroughly enjoyed getting outside and getting the first game under their belt.
Monday was a fairly chilled out day, coming after our heftiest day of the tour in terms of workloads. We had training in the morning, including range hitting and a game of football. The ‘oldies’ narrowly losing to the youngsters 1-0 with some slick play from Jeffries and Cronie. After training we tucked into some more Jerk Chicken which is quickly becoming a lot of the boys favourite food! Followed by a quick gym session involving a lot of beach weights for those looking to impress on the beach.. Another good day on tour.
It was game day. The lads were up and early and exited for the first two day match of the tour. We arrived at the ground nice and early and agreed to bat first the first day and bowl on Day 2. Rohan and Jeffers walked out and faced up to the new ball. The pair got us through the new ball however In doing so we lost Jeffers. The game was a test for the lads mental strength as it was very hot and it tested our fitness as well as our cricket skills. Cronie batted well scoring a well-made 63 after retiring with Rohan retiring on 30 after having time in the middle. After lunch, we ticked over nicely scoring at four an over. We finished on 360 the days play and enjoyed a rest back at the hotel after a long day in the sun.
Our tour to the Cayman Island comes at a great time of year for our academy players having been working on their skills in the winter months and then to get a chance to express themselves and test out their improved technics and tactics in match play scenarios.
This is our first tour to the Caymans and will hopefully not be the last as there were so many benefits for the partnership, we are creating with them on and off the field. We were apprehensive what the facilities would be like as it’s not the most well-known cricketing country in the world. We had no need to be worried as everything we experienced was top class.
The wickets were very true and cricket opposition gave our academy players some tough games. As well as that, the hospitality was 2nd to none. The Cayman is well known for more of a holiday destination with lovely beaches and lots of activities to do. But they are really pushing cricket and want to get into the ICC T20 World Cup in the future and partnerships like this I’m sure will help benefit them too.
The cricket itinerary was packed to benefit the valuable time on grass we played 4 (T20’s) 1 (2-day game) and having several practice games so the players were not short of opportunities to test out their skills.
Having spoken to players and coaching staff about the pros and cons of this tour there is too many things on the pro list to not want to repeat this again. We would like to thank all the Cayman Island organisers for getting this tour off the ground especial Hector (President of Cricket) who worked tirelessly months before to pull it all together. The Players were a credit to the county in their behaviour and attitude throughout.