1st XI cricket tour to UAE

Over February Half Term, Blue Coat’s 1st XI took part in a week-long tour to Dubai, where we played four matches – including our first ever night game under floodlights, underwent training sessions at the ICC Cricket Academy, and got to experience some of the local culture and attractions, including visiting Sheik Zayed Mosque, spending a day at Wild Wadi Waterpark, enjoyed mornings at the beach, and riding camels on a desert safari.

Highlights of the tour, however, were the opportunities to play cricket – despite the searing temperatures. Training at the ICC Academy took place in Outdoor Astro Nets and on the Outdoor Oval Field.

The first match of the tour was against another touring side, Asheville College from Harrogate. An excellent second wicket partnership from James Rogers, who scored a brilliant 85 from 64, and Will Perkin, who anchored the innings with a well-constructed 57, propelled Blue Coat to an excellent 186-3 from their 20 overs. A tight display of bowling restricted Ashville to 155-4, for a Blue Coat win. A superb day was finished off when Mr Elzinga kindly bought us all dinner at his hotel.

Fixture #2 was the boys’ first ever nighttime match – against home side, G Force Challengers, at a ground in Ajman, 90 minutes from Dubai.  The match was a tight affair, with the opposition making 121-7 off their 20 overs, Rohan Bansal being the pick of the bowlers with 2-12. Unfortunately, we came up 8 runs short, but the game was much less about the result, and more about the unforgettable experience.

The third game was a 25-over match against Dubai College. Blue Coat batted first, and James Rogers was the top scorer, contributing 55 runs towards a total of 143. The second innings proved a whole lot more controversial; the home side were seemingly on course to beat us, but a miscalculation on the scoreboard left Blue Coat with an incredible one-run win.

The penultimate day was spent playing a 40-over match against the same opponents we had faced under the floodlights, the Sharjah G Force Challengers. With temperatures hovering around 29°C, and the scorching sun in what was effectively the middle of the desert, it was always going to be a challenge for the boys as we fielded first. However, we did amazingly well in the field to restrict our hosts to 201 all out. Despite Eddie Lee’s assured knock of 69, we once again came up 8 runs short against our opponents.

Both on the pitch and off, the squad’s humour and work ethic were impeccable; the tour has not only got us raring to go for the season ahead, it has brought us together as a group. – Team member Kabir Dave, Year 13

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