Cricket in Barbados
A squad of 16 1st XI and Development cricketers (accompanied by Simon Roche, Richard Howitt, Dave Simpkins and Jonathan Nelmes) embarked on a Caribbean adventure over half-term to Barbados, where they played 6 games in 9 days against a strong selection of school, club and invitational sides. The boys had the privilege of playing and training in some iconic venues — from Franklyn Stephenson’s academy (home of the West Indies when they play on the island), to the 3Ws Oval in Bridgetown, home of the West Indies Performance Centre, and Wanderers CC, the oldest cricket club in the Caribbean.
The tour began with a tough baptism against Barbados U19s, in which the boys performed creditably against very competitive opposition — Jamie Curtis especially impressing with the ball and in the field. Brandon Allen’s 97*, and AJ Woodland’s 41* and 4/47, were highlights of the win over Wanderers, and Ben Charlesworth’s 62* helped carry the boys to victory over Lodge School — Ben would later impress on tour with the ball, taking 3 wickets against Combermere. Also worthy of note were Will Deasy’s maiden 1st XI half-century — 63 against St Leonard’s — and a series of venomous spells with the ball from (Fifth Former!) Rory Hipwell, described by one opposition coach as the quickest English schoolboy bowler he had seen tour Barbados.
Not only did the boys learn plenty as a team and individually from the cricketing opportunities of the trip, there was also some time to explore Barbados on days off — with catamaran cruises, reef diving, swimming with turtles and even a morning round of golf on offer — not to mention a night out at the famous Oistins Fish Fry. Special thanks must also go to Henry Oakley OSE for hosting the boys at the stupendous Cobblers’ Cove Hotel, and to the sizeable entourage of parents and families who supported and hosted boys and staff so warmly and generously throughout the trip.