CRICKET: Young cricketers from West Norfolk are hitting the reggae beat as they get ready for a cricketing calypso in the Caribbean.
King Edward VII Academy is leading a party of 15 cricketers and support staff to Barbados this summer.
As well as 10 KES pupils, there are also two from King’s Lynn Academy and one each from Springwood, Smithdon and Downham Market.
Tour co-leader Ross McNeil, who is head of West Norfolk schools cricket operations, and who was part of KES’ previous tours in 2006, 2008 and 2010, said: “We will be jetting off on July 18 for what promises to be a trip of a lifetime for the boys.”
The team will play a series of fixtures over a 10-day period and experience cricket in a completely different culture.
McNeil, head of boys PE at KES, added: “The trip is eagerly anticipated by the players and will be a fantastic way to celebrate the end of their exams, for those old enough to be sitting them. Josh Ring is also going as a coach.”
Planning for the trip has been ongoing for a year, with pupils and staff working hard to raise funds to pay for transfers and excursions while they are there.
Fundraising events have included quizzes, bingo, race nights and a successful dinner with former England one-day international James Tredwell.
The squad has been meeting weekly for fitness training to prepare for the increase in temperature, as well as weekly netting sessions to develop and maintain individual skills.
Tour assistant leader Olly Denton said: “This has led to a great team ethos and a buzz around the touring party, which is snowballing perfectly.”
Last week’s first pre-tour friendly saw the team take on Castle Rising in a T20 match.
The Norfolk League side posted 110 but the youngsters knocked them off for the loss of four wickets with Jack Hazel top scoring on an unbeaten 35.
Denton said: “We are lucky to have such supportive local clubs, helping the lads and it was very kind of the team to donate all their match fees to the tour’s fundraising account.
Previous KES tours to the Caribbean were led by Paul Tebay, while the most recent saw Chris Teanby in charge.
McNeil explained that a downturn in numbers had brought an end to the tours but new plans put in place to improve cricket across the district had brought a revival.
“We started a three-to-four year development plan to raise the profile of cricket in West Norfolk and this is the culmination of the project, which has been a success and seen the local schools league back up to capacity.”
- Follow the build-up to the tour and find out how the team are doing when they get to Barbados in Your Local Paper.