For two weeks, 19 boys will be fortunate enough to travel around Sri Lanka, playing cricket in an environment very different to Upper Club. During our tour, not only will we have the pleasure of playing at Galle cricket ground, where England recently won their first test match against Sri Lanka, but we will also be playing a match against SOS Children’s Village Piliyandala, one of the many villages supported by the charity SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka. This is a fantastic organization that provides alternative care for children who have lost parental care in Sri Lanka. At SOS Children’s Villages, they grow up in the loving care of a mother in a stable family environment, and are supported until they become independent young adults. With the knowledge that sponsoring a child for one whole year would cost Rs 30,000 (about £135) the team put their heads together in order to think of a way in which we could raise some money to donate.

As a result, 5pm on Saturday 10th November marked the start of a 24 hour cricketathon. From that moment, up until 5pm the following day, there would be non-stop batting in pairs. A rota was constructed meticulously, consigning each boy to two or three hours of batting, and a wide spread of extremely generous beaks a few hours of administration. Of course, activity continued all throughout the night and for some, the graveyard shift (midnight to 6 am) meant that they would have to sleep in the Dojo, accompanied only by the constant whirring of the bowling machine below. RRM had the idea of making the cricketathon a bit more competitive, proposing that each boy takes part in the 18-ball challenge. Everyone was allowed one practice in trying to manipulate the ball through 8 different zones, finishing off with a big shot over the bowling machine, and then one official attempt. The winner, the one who completed all 9 objectives in the fewest amount of balls, would be granted bragging rights, and the loser would have to wear the embarrassing t-shirt to the airport and on the flight. 47 cups of coffee later, the team managed to complete the challenge, with Billy Lowther being crowned victor. More importantly, as of 5pm on Sunday, £1,895.00 was raised.

On behalf of the whole team, a huge thank you goes out to RRM, TWR, PIM, WEN, CMBW, PSS, RGWC, DJS, KCD, EJF and GHT, for all their help, and to everyone who so kindly sponsored the team with their generous donations.

Jamie Gammell