Tour de force
Report by ANDREW McGILL firstname.lastname@example.org A GROUP of talented cricketers from Huntingdonshire is celebrating a successful tour of South Africa. Fourteen youngsters, aged 17 and 18, won three of their five games in and around Cape Town, losing ju
A GROUP of talented cricketers from Huntingdonshire is celebrating a successful tour of South Africa.
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Fourteen youngsters, aged 17 and 18, won three of their five games in and around Cape Town, losing just once with another game abandoned.
The tour was organised by Hunts Cricket 2000, a volunteer-run organisation that seeks to give young cricketers in the district the chance to expand their horizons - and their cricket - by offering tours overseas.
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Tour manager Ian Cousins said: "It was a very successful tour that saw some excellent cricket played by our boys, who acquitted themselves very well."
Running every other year since 1991, on previous trips touring parties have visited places as far afield as Zimbabwe, Antigua and Kenya.
The 2007 touring party began with the players left thankful for the bad light at Pinelands High School at the start of their 12-day adventure.
The hosts made 166-3 in their 40 overs with two wickets for Matt Matcham and with the tourists struggling at 113-8, despite Wayne Bradley's 31, the umpires called play to a halt.
In the second fixture, a fine bowling performance from Simon Rose saw the touring party secure a comfortable win against Western Province Cricket Club.
James Markland's 59 not out helped his side to 172-8 and fine figures of 5-8 from Rose saw Province restricted to just 77 in reply.
A third-wicket partnership of 85 between Bradley and Michael Cafferkey was the catalyst for victory in the third match of the tour, against Stellenburg High School.
Bradley made 64 and Cafferkey 27 as the tourists made 193 before skittling the home side for just 88, with Sam Matcham claiming three wickets.
The only defeat of the tour came against Paarl Gimnasium, with the touring party's target of 155-7 reached with four overs to spare by the home side.
However, Hunts rounded off their tour in style with a fine win against Parel Vallei High School, despite posting just 115-9 against a good bowling attack.
Number nine David Humphrey's 34 made the difference for the tourists with the bat before Matt Matcham, Simon Rose and James Cowan helped bowl out the hosts five runs short.
Cousins, uncle of Pidley-based England ladies cricket captain Charlotte Edwards, said: "We played some very good cricket at times but as much as anything the tour was about the personal development of the players.
"They spent time living with African families, exploring their new surroundings and meeting people from a different culture.
"Initially, some of the lads were a bit reserved about going to stay with the families but that soon left them and the tour was a big success."
On the pitch, Godmanchester batsman Wayne Bradley was the top scorer of the tour, while Oundle's spin bowler Sam Matcham was given the accolade for top bowler.
Cousins said: "We don't know yet whether or not the tour will run again in 2009 but with the success of this year, I am very hopeful that it will.