First Cricket Tour to the Caribbean

– News

Our parents dropped us off at school at 5am and we were all more excited than tired.  We had an hour’s coach journey to Gatwick, where our flight was departing for Barbados. When we arrived, we checked in and had time to buy some snacks for the plane and also had a chance to eat some breakfast.  After that we boarded the plane for the eight hour flight to Barbados.  We were all looking forward to feeling the hot sun as we do not get that every day in London!  We had a relaxing flight as we watched films and had cushions and blankets to comfort us.  We also had lunch on the plane.

When we arrived in Bridgetown we felt the beautiful Barbados heat in the glorious sunshine.  We were then guided to our bus, for an forty minute journey to our hotel, The All Seasons Resort.  The journey was very scenic. We went through the local towns and saw many of the local people, their homes and how they lived.

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When we arrived at the hotel, we quickly unpacked and dived into the swimming pool to cool off.  We then went back to our room to get ready for dinner which was at 7pm, local time. By now, we were all very hungry and tired.  The food was great and we all tucked into the local cuisine and then went back to our rooms for a good night’s sleep after a very long day.

It was a bright sunny morning and I woke up early. Today, all of us would be going to the Kensington Oval, one of the stadiums that England and West Indies would play during the current series. Today was also the day of our first cricket match.

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Then, we all got into our travel groups to go to the stadium. When we reached Kensington Oval, our faces lit up. It was so big and beautiful. It was being cleaned for the England match. We went inside along with our tour guide. She took us around the stadium and showed us Brian Lara’s bat with his signature with which he had scored 400 not out. We were allowed on to the playing surface and saw the pitch being prepared. We took photos and will remember this visit with fond memories.

Our first match was against St Giles and the Colts team lost the toss and had to field in the midday sun. The opposition were strong and collated an imposing total which sadly was beyond St Martin’s. The Under 13’s however fared better chasing 104, they won in the last over thanks to Rishi W’s unbeaten 46.

Well-fed from a hearty breakfast, we clambered onto the safari jeep, ready for day 3 of our expedition of Barbados.  Expecting to see giraffes to tigers to gorillas and lions (because none of us had done our research) we sat tight, with cameras held close to faces.  With careful safety instruction reinforced by our excellent driver, Charles, we made our way for the beginning of a wonderful day.

With the music put on high, we listened to “There is no place I’d rather be” as we swivelled past a Chefette (the Barbadian equivalent of KFC and McDonalds). It was when the jeep went off road that things started to get bumpy. Hanging on for dear life we soon found ourselves at the first stop.  As we walked over a gentle hill we noticed an imposing stone lion which lay gracefully upon the hill. The lion was carved from a single piece of coral stone in 1869 by Captain Henry Wilkinson. The lion’s left paw was rested upon a large red globe, representing the power of the British Empire over the world.  It also represents the tremendous creativity and sheer dedication of Captain Wilkinson and the four military labourers who assisted him.  Below the lion was a clean slate of stone, engraved in Latin and translates as ‘He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from river, unto the ends of the sea 1868.’

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We weren’t completely wrong about the wild and exotic animals as we passed a few paintings on the walls of the animals.  The snap and winding of cameras grew louder and after a few more bumps and a spin, we were at our next stop, a hill top view.  An average driver would safely take us places, everyone well and happy, but I could see the grin carved in Charles’ face in the wing mirror. On a cracked and bumpy road, near the edge of doom, the driver spun around in a circle until we were red in the face!  We then stopped at a small patch with an excellent view of the island for a few snacks.  The sapphire waters stood calm, overlooking the beautiful island that is Barbados.

The fresh Barbadian wind gently blew against my hair as the warming sun’s rays illuminated the island.  The next stop was the beach.  There the group was split into two types of people, the admirers (who interpret a beautiful, majestic rock, hunched amidst and half sunken in the azure waters as the gentle breeze cascades the palm trees, which speaks a thousand words) and the throwers (who seem to have fun throwing rocks in the sea!)

The jagged rock cliff was our next venue, before lunch when the hunger pains begin to kick in.  Once again, another beautiful view of the sea greeted us as we relaxed …… and threw rocks. Our final stop of the safari was lunch, a fine taste of fresh local Bajan food of chicken, rice, salad, and some freshly squeezed juice to wash it all down.

Due to the early finish of the safari, some decided to have a fun, but competitive, game of beach cricket.  I attempted to make a sandcastle, but my large pile of sand was a victim of the Caribbean Sea.

After a spectacular day, we finished with a fabulous dinner of egg fried rice with chicken and slept well, looking forward to what tomorrow had install for us.

I think most of us managed to sleep well after three very busy days which were fun-packed including our island safari.  We all met for breakfast at 8am. We had quite a big delicious selection to choose from. Some of the local birds also joined in helping themselves to our plates. We then played beach cricket and swam in the Caribbean.  It was amazing!  After an awesome session on the beach, we all went back to our hotel to shower and change.

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Before the evening match we went to the local town to see the shopping centre.  One shop in particular struck all of us, which was actually a restaurant – KFC.  The temptation was too great so we all had the local fried chicken – yum!  Then we went shopping to get essential drinks and snacks in preparation for the evening match.

After enjoying the not-so-local delight, we went back to our hotel to get ready for the day/evening match, the Under 13 team playing against Northern Academy, whilst the Under 11’s were at Boscobelle.  As it had rained in the morning, when we arrived, the pitch was still wet so we had to use a tape ball and played on the grass instead of the wicket strip.  In the first innings Northern Academy scored 170-4.  In the second, the flood lights lit the whole pitch.  It was a great experience to play at night. They bowled us all out for 54. Unfortunately, the pitch was not well maintained; there was quite a lot of rubbish which needed to be cleared up. This made us realise how lucky we are to play on clean and well maintained pitches back at home. We thanked our hosts, The Northern Academy, for such a brilliant experience and shared stories.

The Under 11 team were more fortunate and after a short delay Boscobelle batted first and scored 84 in the twenty overs. After losing a few early wickets, Rohan H batted very well with strong support from Raghav B to see St Martin’s to victory in the last over.

A relaxing and fun day lay ahead for us.  We were really looking forward to going on the Catamaran cruise. As we stepped on to the vessel, there was a luxurious arrangement of seats, overlooking the fine, majestic sea, and a set of unlimited drinks for us. As we began to move, we sat back and enjoyed the view.

Eager for our first stop, we prepared the snorkelling gear. We made our way into the sea, and after no longer than five minutes, we saw the first of several sea turtles. Fine creature they are, majestically swimming in the calm, liquid sapphire waters.

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Snacks were served on board, and an interesting selection of cake and apple tart, and as these kept us occupied, we soon found ourselves at our next stop.  As we walked into the sea we noticed the remains of a shipwreck, and a sting ray swimming across the sea floor.

Lunch was soon to be served – classic Bajan food, served with a delicious fruit punch. The chicken was cooked to perfection, served with pasta, rice and a refreshing salad.

We then came to the highlight of the trip that everyone has been waiting for. It all comes down to this moment of jumping off the catamaran and into the calm azure water. This was an extraordinary experience indeed.  To end the excursion, we went to the gift shop to purchase a memento or two, or three, or four…

After a relaxing afternoon at the pool, we went to a restaurant to celebrate our victorious match win. A truly fine way to end a brilliant trip. A massive thank you to Mr Tidmarsh, Mr Miller, Mr Bell, and Miss Finn for organising such a fabulous trip and the people of Barbados for putting up with our antics…

Aadam A, Rohan P and Arjun R

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