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Tests and triumphs for Millfield cricketers in Sri Lanka
The Millfield cricket team enjoyed a successful tour to Sri Lanka in December, losing only one game in a series of challenging fixtures played at professional venues throughout the country. The tour by the development XI was headed by Chris Gange, one of Millfield's senior cricket development coaches.
Millfield were initially thwarted by the rain, as the tour began with four consecutive draws. Three hard-fought victories followed, beginning with an impressive 51-run win over Central Province. Millfield reached a total of 220 for 6 with the help of John Stratton's 89 off 97 balls, including 10 fours and a six, and Charlie Hartley's 50 not out, from 25 balls with five sixes and two fours. The sole defeat came in the final match, a tight three-wicket loss to Kalutara District XI.
The team played at both the Dambulla and Pallekele international stadiums and Kandy Cricket Club's famous test ground, Asgiriya Stadium.
"The opposition were tough and the pitches very different to English conditions, so were challenging, as the spinners made life difficult for us and we had to adapt and mentally fight through some tough patches of cricket," said Mr. Gange.
"To only lose one game of cricket on a tour such as this is a massive achievement for all concerned."
One of the matches, against Seenigama Cobras, was hosted by the Foundation of Goodness, which with financial backing from the MCC and Surrey CCC has been improving the cricket facilities in the region after the tragedy of the 2004 tsunami.
"The team we played were made up of mostly orphans, but what great cricketers they were. It was a humbling experience for all that day," said Mr. Gange.
"The boys have experienced tough cricket, played on test and one day international grounds and have experienced a country many will probably not see again. It has been a great learning experience for everyone and one I hope they will take into their training for the remainder of the winter and the forthcoming season to be better well prepared cricketers.
"The boys did very well on what was a tiring tour as we travelled around the beautiful country that is Sri Lanka. The road network... well there are many stories to tell.
I hope they have learnt some valuable lessons of playing spin, as well the need to rise to the challenge when life gets difficult and doesn't go your way and the importance of being a team and being there for each other throughout."
Results, Millfield Cricket development XI tour of Sri Lanka, December 2011
v SLC Foundation XI, Colombo - Abandoned as a Draw (Rain)
Millfield 192 (John Stratton 65, Matt Hopper 33), Foundation XI 149-2
v St. Thomas' College, Colombo - Abandoned as a Draw (Rain)
St. Thomas' 115 (Will Sobczak 4-8), Millfield 82-4 (Will Sobczak 39*)
v North Central Combined XI, Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium - Abandoned as a Draw (Rain)
Millfield 73, North Central 71-2
v Central & North Central XI at the Asgiriya Stadium, Kandy - Abandoned as a Draw (Rain)
Central & North Central XI 179-9 (Dan Lewis-Williams 3-21)
v Central Province, Pallekele International Stadium, Kandy - Won by 51 Runs
Millfield 220-6 (John Stratton 89, Charlie Hartley 50*), Central Province 169-9 (Chris McMorran 3-41, Dan Lewis-Williams 3-45)
v Seenigama Cobras, Lord's Cricket Ground, Sri Sumangala College - Won by 4 Wickets
Cobras 180 (Sam Weller 3-25), Millfield 185-6 (Will Sobczak 42, George Bartlett 31*)
v Southern Combined XI, Matara Sports Club - Won by 42 Runs
Millfield 114 (Tom Brock 33), Southern Combined XI 72 (Chris McMorran 4-12, Ali Easton 3-28)
v Kalutara District XI at Surrey Village, Maggona - Lost by 3 Wickets
Millfield 143 (Matt Hopper 35, Jack Hurley 31), Kalutara 145-7 (Will Sobczak 4-35)
Millfield Cricket's development squad enjoy the view on their tour of Sri Lanka