Swiss U19s Barbadian Tour

7th - 24th July 2018

Switzerland U19s finished in a respectable 13th place from 21 clubs & schools at the 2018 Sir Garfield Sobers International Schools Cricket Tournament (7th - 24th July 2018).

 

Here you can follow the tour in a day by day account by John Millar, relive the best moments and view photos of the tour.

Day 1

Swiss U19s in Barbados

Patrick Henderson reports that the squad arrived safely and had a training session this afternoon (Sunday 8th July 2018) ahead of their first match tomorrow at 10am.

 

At the Opening Ceremony the Swiss team were at the neighbouring table to where several stars of the cricketing world were sitting: Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Wes Hall, Sir Everton Weekes, and Desmond Haines to name just a few!

Day 2

Swiss U19s in Barbados

The Swiss U19s had a great start against the Shumar Rampat Cricket Academy - Trinidad & Tobago, winning by two wickets. The Swiss bowled the opposition out for 107 with some brilliant bowling performances (Rohan Jain, Adil Tunda, Ruan Kruger, and Dayn Pariaug) and sensational catches in the deep (Frederick Drake and Floris Winckel), more routine ones by Nic Henderson and Rohan J, and generally excellent and sharp fielding, one of which effected a run out with Frederick and Nic. The batting got off to a very good start with the openers (Ruan Kruger and Thomas Allen) cruising to 50+, but then a collapse followed that was stopped by Nic H batting at 7 and Dayn P at 10, who got us over the line by putting on roughly 20 runs against some excellent spin bowlers who also play for the West Indies juniors.

Day 3

Swiss U19s catching drill
Swiss U19s catching drill

After the winning start yesterday, John Millar reports the Swiss U19s had tougher going today.  Playing at the military cricket ground next to the airport (Paragon), with views of the sea in the distance, St Leonards School showed that again the batting would need to learn against good spin.
Today the Swiss U19s won the toss and elected to bowl.  St Leonards got off to a strong start with their openers making 40 and 20 in a stand of 73, broken in the 11th over. Ruan K took both these key wickets. Thereafter the Swiss U19s prevented significant partnerships developing, halving the run rate and chipping away at wickets.  Ruan finished with 2-22 in 7 overs, Rohan J 2-29 in 8, and Adil T 2-33 in 6; Fred D 1-14 in 4.  More wides than they'd have liked, again - a key "development point" for tomorrow.  St Leonards finished on 173 for 7.
In response the Swiss U19s got off to a reasonable start with Ruan K and Thomas A reaching 22 for the first wicket, but they then failed to make any partnership stick until 8 wickets were down, when Ismail Z and Dayn P put on a sterling 32 over 9 overs.  What had looked like a massacre became a rout, and we have Dayn's top scoring 18 and Ismail's 14 to thank for that - Dayn showing for the second day in a row (and Ismail matching him today) how to play good spin bowling with patience and aggression when the rare bad ball comes along.  When Ismail fell, though, Dayn soon followed, and we were all out for 81.  
Many lessons for players and coaches today.  We'll see how we have learned before tomorrow's game.

Day 4

From the Military to the Police, at whose Weymouth ground the Swiss U19s took on Queens Park CC of Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, reports John Millar.

Weymouth Cricket Ground, Bridgetown, Barbados
Weymouth Cricket Ground, Bridgetown, Barbados

The wicket, covered overnight, was moist under a drying surface, with good patches of interesting grass short of a length.  The outfield was recovering from the dry season, with many large, but filling, cracks. Fielders, too, would have to be careful.
The toss was lost and we were unsurprisingly invited to bat. Immediately the importance of this was made clear, with the ball holding up rather than coming through - not what we are used to.  Our top order struggled, with the top 4 all lifting the late-arriving ball for catches. Only Ismail Z, promoted to nr 6 after yesterday’s success, and Raafey A, in an inappropriate nr 11 in anticipation of bowling, showed effective resistance, scoring 19 and 11 n.o respectively and our only boundaries.  (Raffey will not bat at 11 tomorrow!). We did however eke out the overs, with each batter except one facing 3 overs of deliveries or more, so gaining experience that should be really valuable.  The innings closed at 39.2 overs, with 95 painfully earned runs on the board. One spinner had bowled 8 overs, 4 of which were maidens, took 4 wickets and conceded just 8 runs.  Exemplary.

Swiss U19s at the hotel after the game
Swiss U19s at the hotel after the game

We then took to the field. Though the weather had dried the pitch, there was still inconsistent bounce and lots of turn, so Dayn P’s fiery pace and Rohan J’s cunning spin were combined as the opening attack. In Dayn’s second over, with the score on 7, Ismail Z linked up with keeper Nic H for a super-sharp run out.  In his 3rd over, Dayn bowled the second opener.   In Raafey’s first, a fine catch took the score to 31 for 3: we were in the game and our energy was up!
But batsman nr 5 was in a hurry and led Queens Park home with a brutal innings of 46 not out, our total being passed with 3 wickets down - a win by 7 wickets for QPCC.  The QPCC coach confirmed that the toss made a huge difference today.
The pavilion had a bar with a television, so the disappointed cricketers, mostly back in training reds, were able to distract themselves with about 45 mins of the England Croatia semi final.  We could not see the end of extra time. Probably just as well!
And one for the grandchildren. We played against (and ran out) a player whose uncles are of Brian Lara and Dwayne Bravo. Cricketing genes of the highest order!

Day 5

Thursday’s game was at the picturesque Wayne Daniel ground on the edge of St Philip in sugar cane country, writes John Millar.

 

Some of us remember Wayne Daniel as the frankly terrifying opening bowler for Middlesex and West Indies in the mid 1970s to mid 1980s. Was it a bad omen?
 
Playing Presentation College, we lost the toss and were invited to bowl. After yesterday, this suited us.


Our bowling was patchy at the start with Adil T an early standout with just 11 runs coming from his first spell with one wicket, a catch by Ismail (who also took a fantastic catch off Dayn P’s bowling at the other end).  But Presentation College we’re making progress and despite a couple of wickets down, made 56-2 in the first 10 overs and 93-2 by the end of over 14.  Then, with 2 wickets to Tom in the 15th over, the momentum slowed and switched.
Perhaps later than we should have, we combined off spinner Tom S and leg spinner Khawar A. Tom bowled straight up and down, taking 6 (6!!) for 30 in his 8 overs, Khawar 1 for 13 in his 5 - both taking their first international wickets.  Presentation College were all out for 132.  This was good: yesterday they made 207 against the intimidatingly named Sir Everton Weeks Centre of Excellence, our opponents tomorrow.

In response, we had a deja-vu moment, with Thomas A caught in the first over off a top edge to a ball that marginally held up.  This brought promoted Ismail Z in to join Oli M.  After 2 stabilizing overs, Oli played 3 beautiful shots for 4 in the 4th over, moving the score to 15-1. He and Ismail were underway,  establishing a very good standard of running and punishing poor deliveries. They were separated when Oli did not get over a drive, being caught at short extra cover for 23 with the total on 56: a good partnership.  Floris W joined Ismail and maintaining the solid defense, clever running and punishment of the bad ball, added a further 15 before Ismail fell for 36 - the total 71. More than half way there.  Nic H joined Floris at the wicket and over the next 45 runs they gave a masterclass in running, showing great pace and awareness of the position of the ball.  Nic fell on 26 with the score on 116.  Francis L joined Floris at the wicket, who soon lifted a ball back to the bowler, falling for a unrepresentative 14: his running had greatly added to his batting partners’ scores.  Within 5 balls, Tom S (who else, today?) finished the game off.  A win for the Swiss U19 team by 5 wickets.

It was pleasing that we looked like we had learned from each other and from our own experiences in earlier games.  Floris channeled the solid defence of Dayn in matches 2 and 3, but added his own awareness and speed to add runs. Oli freed himself up, got his timing right, and got us going. Ismail did his thing yet again. It would have been nice to win by 7 wickets (we easily could have), but the win is most welcome.

In the photo (right) the players in red have been our 12th men today, and did a great job scoring and running on to the pitch with drinks for the bowlers, fielders and batsmen.  (Ruan K is missing here, reconciling the scorebook)  We have applied a strict policy that all players in the touring party miss the same number of games as far as possible; at this point in the tour, all but 2 players have been among the 12th men for a game.

We enjoyed the local postman and groundsman who manned the scoreboard all day (they count the overs downwards here), the local interest in the bus stop on the edge of the pitch (many buses, no departures), and the oil barrel-as-bench on the deep point boundary.
 
At this stage in the competition we are solidly in 4th place in our 7 team Group (mid table), with 2 wins and 2 defeats.  Two of our remaining Group games will be especially tough, based on the results of the other teams so far, including tomorrow’s game.  But then we have Saturday and Sunday.

 

This spectator seemed happy with the way the game was going...

Day 6

John Millar writes that Friday’s match was played at the narrow Friendship ground against the group-leading Sir Everton Weeks Centre of Excellence (COE), who had won all four of their games so far, including against last year’s tournament champions (who we play next week).

The discovery of a new ailment: scorebook envy!
The discovery of a new ailment: scorebook envy!

Injuries and rotation meant that we asked Floris W and Ruan K to captain and vice captain the side, positions earned by experience and leading by example.

We discovered we were going to have a treat when unpacking.  The scorer for the opposition was a West Indies international scorer, using a scorebook from the ICC 2009 World Cup whose format was different from all scorebooks we had seen: an opportunity for a masterclass!
The toss was won by the COE.  We did not make the start we had hoped for - by the end of over 4 we were 2-2, our opening pair back in the changing room.

Friendship Ground
Friendship Ground

This brought Ismail Z and Thomas A together, who calmly played themselves in then started picking away at the looser balls.  The fielders were not keen chasers. Runs started to build. 38-2 after 12 overs, then a setback in the 13th as Thomas, on a muscular 20, was bowled.  Ismail followed soon afterwards, the third wicket for Walcott, with a very valuable 12.
This brought Floris in with Tom S. A rebuild needed, and delivered - over the next 6 overs, the score was pushed on to 80-4, relatively few dots in the book: we looked comfortable. Hopes of a score of 140-150 we’re building.  
But Floris was bowled by the 3rd spinner to be used on 14, and a momentary delay over a very sharp run with new batsman Raafey A shortly afterwards had Tom run out.  85-6 after 23.  Adil T and Raafey calmed the situation and held on together for 5 overs, but the wickets of both Adil and Fred D fell in the 28th.  Francis L showed his customary positive approach at 10, scoring a considered but unbowed 7, and Khawar A added 3. Raafey was not out on 5, having anchored the late part of the innings.  But our total of 110 was disappointing, and we rued our failure to make more of the opportunity against the bowling attack: while good, it was not as outstanding as we had expected, and we should have done better.

We had one hot looking spectator for today’s wildlife corner
We had one hot looking spectator for today’s wildlife corner

In response, the COE showed that they really were excellent runners between the wickets!  While we are able to do this in places, all of the COE batsmen were strong here.  Which tells you we took wickets - Ruan (over 4), Adil (over 5), Floris (over 8) and Tom S (over 10) each getting one, Floris and Tom’s coming after bowling changes, so after 10 overs, on 71-4, we felt in with a chance.  Unfortunately the remaining wickets did not come, and in the 17th over the COE reached the target.

We are also pleased to have reached the weekend.  It seems there are two Association Football matches that the boys want to see that are conveniently being broadcast on television. Otherwise we will be relaxing in the lovely setting of the hotel, and will take a stroll or a taxi into Bridgetown. We are hoping we can confirm a bat-factory tour for one of next week’s rest days.

There is a reef just off the hotel beach making a large protected shallow area perfect for playing ball games in the sea/ocean.  These have been lasting for well over an hour with much smiling and laughing.  Fellow beach users have occasionally joined in. No photographs of this activity are available!

On the subject of photographs, coach Henderson has assumed the additional role of tour photographer, and has been wielding an enormous telephoto lens and a monopod around the boundary. So in due course photos that are not landscapes with white ants on them will be available - my phone photos are all I have access to at this point.

Your correspondent will be taking a rest at the weekend, too, but more after our next game on Monday.

Masterclass

Having drawn the crossed papers (found the golden tickets?), Dayn P, Adil T and Tom S were collected at 8:30 on Saturday morning to join a masterclass at Bridgetown Oval with Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Everton Weeks and Sir Charlie Griffith.  By this time, coaches Henderson and Millar, accompanied by Khawar A, Oli M and Francis L, had set off to be at the Oval as spectators - transport was only to be provided for the 3 participants from each team.

We all arrived at the same time, and were signed into the ground by Ricky Clarke, coach and former Lancashire leagues fast bowler.  And we were allowed to explore......so straight onto the pitch!

 

Regular readers of these dispatches will be used to photographs of wickets.  The one here was much smoother than the others that we have seen, but was still interesting...

...at the Malcolm Marshall End (and as a Hampshire lad of the 1980s, just typing this brings on a tingle!), the impact of a long match was clear; not sure I fancy it for batting!

When the players gathered, the messages from Sir Everton Weeks and Sir Charlie Griffith were clear: discipline is what helps you progress.  Focus. Concentration. To the West Indies juniors shown below: "Get your hands out your pockets. You're here for cricket. That's no way to stand". Eek!

We represented ourselves well.  Sir Charlie Griffith focused on the fast bowlers - for us, Dayn and Adil.  Fewer than expected - as we have seen on the tour, spinners are now much more common.

And Garry Sobers focused on batting and spinners - Tom first - his flight approved of! And Adil (bottom left of picture). Dayn appreciated the friendly attitude and warm engagement.

While I was thinking that Sir Charlie had a magnificent face for a fast bowler: I can easily imagine him being absolutely terrifying!

And we were all delighted to have our photograph taken with Sir Garfield (and person in red shorts).  Those with x-ray vision will be able to see that Tom's shirt has been signed by Sir Garfield - among many, many other things today: he is a very patient man.

 

So.  What an experience! 

We will all enjoy being back at the Kensington Oval in the more normal role of spectators as the Australian 360 Academy take on Combermere School in the final of the competition.  The Australians at this session today looked very good, and they beat the Lodge School that had easily defeated us on Tuesday in their semi final.  Combermere easily defeated the Sir Everton Weeks Centre of Excellence that had beaten us, but had not looked unbeatable.  The quality of the cricket in the final will be high.

And in the meantime, we will play on Sunday at Franklyn Stephenson's ground in a bonus match.  Both today's experience and tomorrow's match are cherries on the cake of our tour.

Day 9

Not what you want before your next Big Match: groundsman with fat hosepipe dousing the wicket. He had been dousing it for 45 minutes. Preparing for a match tomorrow.

The pitch would not be playable for 3 hours.

After an attempt to find an alternative venue, the organizers and umpires agreed we could play until 6. The weather was kind, helping the wicket dry. The senior groundsman was apologetic. The Foundation School, Oistins setting was beautiful, with views of the ocean in the distance and close ups of planes coming in to land.

Play began at 1:30, allowing 4.5 hours for a 30 over per side game.

The Swiss U19s, Captain Nic H, back in the side after Floris W deputized as Nic rested on Friday, won the toss and elected to bowl (see earlier report for experience of damp wickets).

We began purposefully, and looked good: sharp, energetic, switched-on.  Dayn P began with a Maiden; Ismail Z saw 4 hit off his first ball and responded with the pinnacle of fast bowler revenge by sending the batsman’s middle stump cartwheeling. No more runs. Another maiden from Dayn. A maiden spoiled by a ball-5 wide from Ismail. 6-1 after 4 overs.  16-2 after 7 as Dayn bowled the nr 3 batsman. Nr 4 fell in over 11 (a catch by Floris).

At 15 overs (half way) we had Queen’s College pegged back to 40-4.  A strong position.  After the drinks break, the grip slipped somewhat, but wickets continued to fall: Oli M at short extra cover linked up with Floris W at the bowler’s end stumps for a sharp run out. Khawar A secured a stumping, as did Rohan J, and Ismail Z took a terrific boundary catch to give Ro his 2nd (yes, that’s what he was there for, but he had to deliver, and did so in style!); in the final over, Ruan K bowled the  nr 2 batsman, who had stealthily amassed 60.  The score was pushed on - ultimately reaching 117-8 after 30.

In response Ruan K hit the first ball for a single, then Oli M suffered the opener’s nightmare: the unplayable ball: bowled. 1:1 after 2 deliveries. This brought in Floris W. He and Ruan stabilized the ship, adding about 4 an over without flashiness. But the bowlers did tighten, and the run rate did fall, making the view from the boundary a tense one.  But the score kept moving; the opening quick/ spin combination was changed to a new quick/ spin combination, and the score kept moving.

Ruan fell to the opening spinner, bowled, in over 10, with the score on 35.

Nic H joined Floris. Patience took over, many good balls played back.  There were not many bad ones. 51-2 after 15. Some way off the run rate. But after the drinks break, the bowling became looser: 5 in over 16, 7 in 17, 6 in 18, 7 in 19, 12 in 20.  The balance of the game had shifted - we were on top. 

10 runs in over 21, 8 in 22 and the remaining 3 in over 23 saw us to a strong 8 wicket victory with 7 overs to spare: Floris closed on 48 not out, the tour’s top score, and Nic on 35 not out.  An excellent performance, patience and power combining when the bad balls started to come through.

Thanks to Thomas A today for scoring - on his own, never easy. He has some rather primitive technology to grapple with, too (I’m not showing you what was going on at the plug end!)

No match related wildlife today, but we saw plenty at the weekend, including crabs...
...and giant turtles, of which more tomorrow.

So at this point we have played 6 and won 3, and are secure in the middle of our group table.

A good day. We played A Proper Game of Cricket. The coaches are happy.

Trident bat factory tour

John Millar reports of the Swiss U19s visit to the Trident bat factory.

 

It was our special pleasure to be welcomed to the Trident bat factory this morning to see the bat making process.
The bat maker trained with Newbery in Hove, England, and sources “clefts” - blanks with fitted handles - from Newbery.
With few traditional woodworking tools (draw knives, spoke shaves, planes of various shapes, a rasp, a sander, a bandsaw for cutting the length and a polisher), these are turned, mostly, into custom made bats.
Some clefts are BIG!  We watched as a customer bat was transformed from cleft to bat. With draw knife (experience and skill vital here: easy to disastrously mis-cut!).
With sander (several phases of this process with finer and finer paper, from course 80 to very fine 320 grades:
Swiss cricket has one player that made his own bat - Oli M - here ruing the fact that he did not have access to a polisher and admiring the master’s work!

After some finishing touches there is a MEATY bat ready for customer.

One thing you can do as a custom ba maker is follow customer instructions. This bat has more weight in the middle than would be allowed in some circumstances.  Do our friends in Swiss FOCUS need a new tool when umpiring?

And it was extraordinary to see the nature of damage that is repairable.

We are very grateful for the time we were given today and can not recommend Trident bats highly enough.  We also congratulate aunt and uncle Trident on their 31st wedding anniversary and uncle and cousin (currently playing for Kent Spitfires in England) on their birthdays - all today.

Day 10

John Millar reports on Day 10 of the Swiss U19s tour to Barbados.

 

But first, turtles! Our hotel is on a beach that is a favoured nesting beach for the endangered Hawksbill sea turtle. There is a permanent patrol here to monitor them and to ensure eggs and hatchlings are protected from the sea and from passers-by.  A little further along, there is a less ideal area next to a boardwalk - nice for pedestrians, inconvenient for nesting turtles.  In this area, a hotline is well publicised so that the turtle watch can be summoned if a turtle is seen. 

Seeing them is an extraordinary, prehistoric experience. As with all Bajans, the Turtle watch teams are very friendly and happy to chat, and appreciate news of new sightings. Last night we saw a record 4 turtles. We will be taking players on the next evening walk to try to share the experience.

They may look like rocks in the photos, and indeed, we nearly tripped over one in a dark spot, but these are nesting turtles.

So, to cricket.  Yesterday we played The Lodge School at what appeared to be a rival - Lester Vaughan School.  This we gathered from the vociferous support for the Swiss from the Lester Vaughan groundsman, whose tractor mower now sports a Swiss flag sticker as a sign of his adoption by us!

Happily on arrival, the groundsman was preparing the pitch for a match about to happen.  The wicket was much greener than any of the others we had seen. And lumpier: inconsistent bounce. Important toss?

As always, lovely setting, though the outfield was smooth looking but with concealed lumps - we felt for Fred D as the ball reared up into his face and for Dayn P as it bounced at a totally unpredictable angle past him to go for a 4.

Today Khawar A and Tom S were rested due to minor ailments/ aches and pains, and Oli M was our scorer. This was especially challenging as The Lodge had brought their own Sound System in the form of the entire team shouting very loudly and surrounding Oli. The clear scorecard is a testament to his concentration! The photo shows a slightly harassed Oli in a quiet moment.

It may be evident to regular readers that there is a subject being avoided today - actual on-the-pitch cricket.  We won the toss and elected to field.  The Lodge set about us aggressively, batsman 1 falling to Adil T on the 2nd ball of the 4th over on 37, total 39. Adil took a 2nd wicket, ct behind, in his next over, and they kept coming fairly regularly until the 7th at 182 and 8th at 183., in over 30. High hopes of restricting The Lodge to 200, a gettable score with this fast outfield.

But we did not tighten the net, and only on 262 in the final over did Adil take the 2 final wickets.  Dayn P had 1-48 from 7, Adil 4-68 from 8, Ismail Z 1-32 from 6, Rohan J his typically economical 1-32 from 8, and Fred D 2-49 from 6.  Our fielding did not have any of the edge that had restricted Queens college to 40 runs after 15 overs on Monday.

 

Then, it rained.
We lost 45 minutes of play, but could extend the day by 30. The rain was not going to make a difference.

Ruan K and Thomas A opened. The bowling was fast and accurate at one end and spin executed well at the other. A reasonable start with 29 on the board before Ruan played on to the quick on 9; Thomas followed soon afterwards on 11. And Ismail Z for 0. Floris W, hero on Monday, came in and again took control. But at the other end a first ball (and not uncontroversial) LBW for Nic H, a glorious 4 and another not uncontroversial LBW for Dayn P and a brief innings before being bowled on 1 for Rohan J put us 6 down on 54 - only Floris was amassing runs. Raafey A joined Floris and played a patient innings before falling on 14, Floris finally falling on 24.  Fred D added a sensible and welcome 8 and with Adil T saw off the remaining allowed overs.  We ended on 93-8. A heavy defeat against a very good side.

We will now regroup before our final competition game on Friday.  Much to mull over!

What a game/ what a difference a day makes!

Note: Your correspondent and Mrs Millar were approached this morning by a fellow breakfasting couple: “we just want to say, your boys are an absolute credit to you. We would not know they were there”.  Thank you, parents: this is obviously not our doing.  (Later, after we have been throwing balls around in the sea, this opinion may be revised!  In combination with the bat factory tour we had this morning - see separate dispatch to follow, this is the perfect way to spend an off day on tour!)

Day 12

On Friday we played our final tournament game, for our final overall position, reports John Millar. 

Unfortunately one of the teams we had beaten beat one of the teams we had lost to, and had an overall higher run rate, so while we finished 3rd equal in our group (of 7), we were playing for 13th place overall among the 20 teams. Worse, we were playing at the Weymouth Police ground, which had not suited us when we played here last week. It is, frankly, scruffy...and the outfield is stony, full of big cracks, and very bumpy.

We were, however, to play the Oakville Cricket Academy from Canada - another minority cricketing nation. Except the Oakville side was full of Barbados and Trinidad players!

The Swiss won the toss and elected to bowl - Yes! that had been vital last week.

A loosening first over for Adil. A wicket first ball for Ruan. 2 more in 2 balls when Adil had the third - O  akville were 9 for 3 after 3 overs!  But none followed. Oakville’s batsmen were good. Their running was outstanding, taking quick singles direct to short fielders, putting them under pressure. Any non-clean pickup was punished with a quick extra run.  After a while, it was painful to watch, let alone play.  And it went on. 50 came up in over 17. For 3.  100 in over 26.  For 3.  150 in over 34. For 3.  Batsman 3 reached his century in over 38, facing Raafey’s 8th and final over.  2.1. Wide plus 1.2. Total 183 for 3.  Then...

...WICKET! A lofted drive failed to clear Adil, who took a fine catch on the long off boundary.  And WICKET! LBW.  Raafey was on a hattrick!  And the following batsman was LBW again! Raafey HAD a hattrick! 184-6.

And in the following over Adil bowled the following: 1. WICKET! Caught behind. Dot. 1. WICKET! Bowled. WICKET! Bowled.  A 5 wicket haul for Adil!  Total 186-9 after 39.

And Ruan cleaned up with the last ball of the 40th over: total 189 all out.

The final 7 wickets fell for 5 runs in 15 balls!  A century, a hattrick, a 5-for; 3 wickets for 9 runs then 7 wickets for 5 runs - all in one innings! A good thing we had a lunch break to calm down. 
Our target was a high but gettable 191. But it was more than 50 higher than we had managed to date.

 

Ruan K started with a sublime, dismissive 4.  But would not see out the first over.  Ismail Z, for the first time on the tour, was dismissed for single figures.  At 18-2, 191 looked a long way away.

Thomas A was not going to go without a fight, though, and with Floris, established a solid resistance.  The score was 41 when Floris fell.  Nic H joined Thomas; they worked well together.  After over 20, they both accelerated, building their innings and partnership, focusing on the needs of the team.  Thomas was LBW for a very valuable 35 on 90 - 4 down, 101 to win, 26 overs gone.  Oli M joined Nic.  3 quickly run on a wide, then an additional wide plus fast one, but nightmare - bowled through the gap on the first legitimate ball faced.  96-6.  Tom S was in.  Tom S was, however, suffering from "something he had eaten".  This would not be easy! 

But he kept it moving, and established as good a running partnership with Nic as the Oakville batsmen had.  The run rate lifted to 7 per over, but began to come down.  Loose balls were punished.  It came down further.  With 42 to go, it became less than one-a-ball.  Tom and Nic pressed on.  They got us there with 2 overs to go - both on 52 not out. 

We had pulled off a win: another Proper - but most extraordinary - Game of Cricket.

Team debriefs are much better when you win! (Today Francis is missing, trying to find which batsman had been short-changed by 2 runs in the scoring!)

So in our tournament, we played 8, won 4, and came 13th overall out of 20 teams.  Pretty satisfying for a nation of so few U19 cricketers.

And more excitement.  At lunch we heard that 3 of our players were to be nominated for a masterclass with Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Everton Weeks and Sir Charlie Griffith at the Kensington Oval on Saturday morning.  All of our players wanted to attend, so we prepared 14 bits of paper, 3 with crosses, screwed them up, and put them in a hat.  Those drawing the Xs were Dayn P, Adil T and Tom S.  Separate Day Off Special Report to follow!

And there's more!  Taking advantage of their intercontinental contacts, Coach Henderson and skipper Nic H have arranged for us to have an additional, BONUS match at Franklyn Stephenson's Academy on Sunday.  All of our players will participate on the pitch and are delighted.  Separate No-longer Day Off Special Report to follow on that, too!

Day 13 - Last Day

John Millar reports on the ninth & final game of the Swiitzerland U19s tour to Barbados that they won against the Franklyn Stephenson Academy on their penultimate day of the tour.

I have used the word picturesque in these reports more than once.  I don't recall using the word idyllic. I have been subliminally saving it for today's match at the Franklyn Stephenson Academy ground.  Set in the grounds of a former plantation house and near the ludicrously expensive Sandy Lane golf course (where Franklyn Stephenson is also a pro), the ground was made by our host and, Kensington Oval aside, was the best kept ground we have played on by far: Floris's elbows and knees were not in their usual immediate peril.  The setting was, indeed, idyllic.

The pavilion had the essential Bajan furniture - a BIG sound system!  For scale, those little bags on the floor are our cricket bags.

Today's wicket-shot is from the unusual perspective - of umpire.  Slightly squint as I did not have long to take it as the bowler ran up.  I think I managed to get away with it, but I may have earned a SwissFOCUS reprimand!
 
Today I'm not deliberately avoiding cricket, but simply sharing our pleasure in the setting.

We agreed to bowl first as the Academy team had not all arrived by the time we started.  We rotated our 14 players on and off the field, 11 on at any time.  Adil T opened the bowling, one wide preventing the the first over from being a maiden.  But we were to discover just how good the outfield was in the second over as two leg side wides shot to the boundary!  The run rate, propelled by J Leacock, U15 West Indies player, was good - but in over 5 we had our breakthrough as he was caught and bowled by Adil: 33-1. Immediately, Fred D struck with Floris W taking the catch (his 5th of the tour): 33-2.  Fred struck again in his next over: 48-3.

Good run rate, but wickets falling.  This brought in J Roberts, carrying his custom made Trident bat (which regular readers will understand are second to none); he used it to score several boundaries and singles before falling on 29 to Floris (caught Tom S - also his 5th catch of the tour).  In the meantime, Rohan J, Tom S and Raafey A had been bowling economically and effectively - no partnerships were building and wickets kept falling.  62-4.  87-5. 91-6. 98-7. 105-8.  At which point we were surprised to see Tom S in pads walking to the wicket! And not long afterwards, Floris!  Today Tom was unable to repeat Friday's hold-out, and the innings closed on 112.  This did not look like a big score.  Raafey and Tom finished on 2-8 and 2-9, both from 5 overs; Fred 2-38, Adil 1-21, taking his total haul of wickets for the tour to 16, well clear of the other bowlers.

Ruan K and Thomas A opened for us again.  The first over, from Roberts,  was long and expensive.  The dreaded zip to the boundary on wides again twice.  A beautifully struck 4. More wides.  10 balls, 23 runs. Leacock at the other end was tidier, but a no ball, a wide and a 4 were scored.  11 more from Roberts's second over - to be his last as he donned the keeping gloves!  Leacock then began to find his range.  Ruan was caught behind on 18 with the score on 42.  Thomas followed on 12 at 50, LBW to left arm spinner Piper.  Dayn P and Khawar A took up the challenge; Dayn to be bowled by Piper soon afterwards on 2 (54-3).

Leacock then slotted into the groove.  Oli M and Francis L were bowled in consecutive balls (56-5).  Ismail Z steadied the ship, seeing out the over despite a good LBW appeal, just missing leg.  Khawar played with purpose and hit a beautiful 4, but was caught by substitute fielder - how did we let this happen?? - Ruan K! (66-6).  Suddenly 112 seemed a long way off!  Ismail was joined by Nic H but the dread playing-back-to-spinners was to catch him out: another LBW for Piper.  72-8.  We were making this very tough!  Fred D joined Ismail.  Both played patiently.  Dot after dot.  A single. A two. A four. a glorious 6 for Ismail.  More dots.  A fine 4 for Fred. 

A cap exchange followed - he suited his!
A cap exchange followed - he suited his!

We were looking more and more secure as the target came closer.  The final runs came with a lovely 4 through mid-wicket for Ismail.  We had made hard work of it, but had won.  The Academy team - which contained some young but determined players - had proved testing!  

 

So what have we learned?  Improved field positioning. Faster movement between overs.  Sharpened fielding.  More focus on building partnerships - our 2 beat the one at the start of the Academy innings. Never. Give. Up.

After the match we were able to relax with the golf driving net, play tape ball cricket, or, in the case of the coaches, chat with our host.

End-of-play photograph of the team, with coach Wheeler
End-of-play photograph of the team, with coach Wheeler

Back at base we had a team meeting at which skipper Nic H recognised the successes and contributions of each player, with each match ball and the key souvenirs we had been given shared among the players.  Tour statistics and photos of the scoresheets will be shared with the players.

Tomorrow we have our last cricketing event - the tournament final at the Kensington Oval.  This will be a good game, and we are looking forward to it.  We will all also have an opportunity to mix with the Bajan cricketing greats, and to visit the cricket museum.

The ants in the wet stuff are Swiss cricketers cooling down and practising catching. Really they are.  Almost all of the squad have enjoyed this every day. A lot. And for a long time. 

 

And, hey, who wouldn’t!

Participating teams

Swiss Junior Academy - Switzerland
Antigua Schools - Antigua
Sir Everton Weekes COE U17 – B’dos
The Lodge School - B'dos
Queens College - Guyana
Combermere School - B'dos
BCL Juniors - B'dos
Shumar Rampat Cricket Academy - Trinidad & Tobago
Presentation College - Trinidad
TriForce Academy – Australia (Sydney)
Oakville Academy – Canada
Lester Vaughan School - B'dos
St. Leonards School - B'dos
Chase's Academic Foundation - Guyana
America Youth Premier League – United States
Queens College - B'dos
Queens Park Club - Trinidad & Tobago
Foundation School - B'dos
Dominica Schools – Dominican Republic
Nations Inc. (School of the Nations) - Guyana
Fatima College - Trinidad

Tournament fixtures

The teams are divided into 3 zones. The Swiss Junior Academy will play a very tough schedule of 5 matches in the first week.


Monday 9th: Swiss Junior Academy – SWZ vs Lester Vaughan School - B'dos at Weymouth
Tuesday 10th: Swiss Junior Academy – SWZ vs Shumar Rampat Cricket Academy - T & T at Bridgefield
Wednesday 11th: St. Leonards School - B'dos vs. Swiss Junior Academy - SWZ at Paragon
Thursday 12th: Swiss Junior Academy – SWZ vs Presentation College - T'dad at BNOC
Friday 13th: Sir Everton Weekes COE U17 vs Swiss Junior Academy - SWZ at Friendship

In the second week the Swiss begin again on Monday:


Monday 16th: Queens College – Guyana vs Swiss Junior Academy – SWZ at Crab Hill
Tuesday 17th: The Lodge School - B'dos vs Swiss Junior Academy - SWZ at Empire
Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th are rest days for the Swiss.
Friday 20th: Tournament semi-finals and play-offs.
Monday 23rd: Final of the Sir Garfield Sobers Cup Competition at the Kensington Oval
and
Sir Garfield Sobers Shield Competition Final at the Kensington Oval. This is a match combining the best of the Barbados players vs a team made up of the other participating teams.

Swiss Youth Academy Squad

The named squad includes established U19 players & some very promising talent that have recently graduated from the younger Swiss national teams.

  Player Club
1 Thomas Allen Gingins CC
2 Raafey Andrabi Geneva CC
3 Khawar Awan Zurich Crickets CC
4 Frederik Drake Cossonay CC
5 Nicolas Henderson Zurich Crickets CC
6 Nawroz Jabarkheel Zurich Crickets CC
7 Rohan Jain Cossonay CC
8 Ruan Kruger Zurich Crickets CC
9 Francis Lewis Basel Dragons CC
10 Oliver Millar Zurich Crickets CC
11 Dayn Pariaug Zurich Crickets CC
12 Adil Tunda Cossonay CC
13 Floris Winckel Gingins CC
14 Ismail Zaidi  
Coaches: Chris Wheeler, John Millar, Johan Kruger, Patrick Henderson

About the Sir Garfield Sobers International Schools Cricket Tournament

Sir Garfield Sobers International Schools Cricket Tournament

Named after the Barbadian cricketer and National Hero Sir Garry Sobers, this annual tournament attracts school teams under nineteen years of age to compete with their local, regional and international counterparts. Taking place in Barbados from 7th–24th July 2018 the two-week tournament is based on 40-over matches.

This unique Schools Cricket Festival has been staged for over 30 years and has attracted many visiting teams and high quality young players, some of whom have gone on to play test cricket. For the best two teams there is also the opportunity of playing the final at the Kensington Oval test venue and meeting some of the greatest cricketers that ever lived - Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Wesley Hall, Seymour Nurse, Charlie Griffith, Joel Garner and Desmond Haynes.

Former players include West Indies captains Brian Lara, and Jimmy Adams and other notable players such as West Indies' Sherwin Campbell and Philo Wallace, Dale Benkenstein of South Africa, and Chris Adams and Alastair Cook of England.

2017 took the twenty-four participating teams all over the island to play at a wide variety of venues and allowed them an opportunity to enjoy the social, cultural and historical experience as much as the sporting trip of a lifetime.

Further information and tour application

Cricket Switzerland

Photos of the Switzerland U19s tour to Barbados are available in the Cricket Switzerland gallery.

If you require further information about the Swiss U19s participation, please contact Patrick Henderson.

Also you can follow the 2018 Sir Garfield Sobers International Schools Cricket Tournament on Facebook or on the Barbados Tourism website.