Tyro cricketers tackle heat and spin

Wakatipu High 1st XI players flying out to Sri Lanka this week included, from left, Matt Langford...
Wakatipu High 1st XI players flying out to Sri Lanka this week included, from left, Matt Langford, 17, Harry Walker-Leach, 16, Toby Gallie, 15, Anthony Hollyer, 16, and Jack Trounce, 17. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
As local temperatures cool, 14 Wakatipu High cricketers are sweating it out in the heat and humidity of Sri Lanka.

The first school 1st XI to ever tour overseas, they left early Monday for a 12-day tour comprising two 50-over games, two 40-over ones and a T20.

"This is really just a great way to end a season," parent/co-coach Bevan Clarke says, and for the seven Year 13 players, "a great way to finish playing with boys they’ve played with for three to five years".

The squad comprises Clarke’s sons, captain Mason, a New Zealand under-19 player, and Liam, vice-captain, Otago U19 rep Hugo Bogue, brothers Tony and Jack Gallie, Matthew Langford, Jack Trounce, Anthony Hollyer, Angus O’Neill, Finn Cole-Bailey, George Newhouse, James Ferguson, Oscar Pullar and Harry Walker-Leach.

Expecting spin conditions, the tour’s started with a spin clinic.

Clarke adds: "We have three really good spinners: Harry Walker-Leach, who has come on a lot, and the Gallie brothers are very good."

Of the $100,000 tour cost, the team raised about $55,000, including $10,000 from an Arrowtown golf tournament, about $8000 from a quiz and donations of up to $5000 from several companies.

To stump up the balance, the boys and their families have contributed about $2500 each.

After one game, the team’s gifting six large bags of cricket gear — much of it donated by Queenstown Cricket Club — for young Sri Lankan cricketers who can’t afford their own. They’ve also taken NZ- and Queenstown-centric gifts for opposing teams.

To combat the heat — one day last week it was 32 degrees but felt like 41 — and diarrhoea and mosquitoes, they’ve brought hydration kits, Imodium and insect repellent.

Clarke expects the regular pool recovery sessions to be relief from the heat as much as aching bodies.

Other parent coaches are Andrew Langford, Greg Trounce and Matt Hollyer, while nine other parents have also flown over.

"We’re not going over there expecting to bring back a cup, we’re expecting to bring back a whole bunch of experiences and also help keep these boys playing cricket because they’re pretty good talent."

And to keep things lighthearted, they’ve got a ‘dick of the day’ outfit to recognise a player, parent or coach who does something stupid.