Day 1 - After 12 very long hours of flying an unbelievable reception by the Sri Lanka people with local dancers and drinks welcoming us to the amazing country. Truly raising our spirits as we embark on a groundbreaking tour for disability cricket wales.
Day 2 - a short turn around saw some early risers enjoy the vast breakfast before the first team meeting of the tour. Aims set... the hard work begins... stretching the muscles and a bit of team bonding before paying our respects at the site of the atrocity that struck this beautiful country several months ago. Tomorrow sees our first full training session... bring it on!!!
Day 3 - Our first real taste of Sri Lanka has seen us train at a test ground called Moratuwa sports club. We also company hearing from one of the legends of Sri Lanka cricket Romesh Kaluwitharana. He gave a inspirational talk, imparting some of the knowledge he gained through his many years of test cricket. With the wet weather we were forced to train in doors however this was no escape from the searing heat and humidity! It did allow us to blow away the cobwebs and test some eager Sri Lankan net bowlers, the skills they have are amazing. After rehabbing in the steam / sauna rooms and rehydrating we are early to bed tonight in eager anticipation for our first true international test!
Day 4 - a baptism of fire taking on a very strong Sri Lankan team. Losing the toss and bowling first on a damp wicket and outfield made worse by a typical Sri Lankan “shower”.
Chasing leather for the 20 overs we encountered so big hitting openers which carried on through their top order, helped unfortunately by some wayward bowling.
We have however been able to take a lot from the game, not only challenging ourselves against a very strong opposition but also starting to build a relationship across the cultural barriers.
Hopefully Day 5 will bring a fresh chance for us to take on the might of Sri Lanka with us looking to produce a much-improved performance.
Day 5 - It seems the weather has beaten us today after a monsoon hit yesterday. Some of lads decided we had a better chance at football which proved correct winning our first game on tour 3 - 2 taking the serious to a drawn 1 - 1 (in our book at least).
However after some “robust” challenges in the worsening weather football was also called off.
With plans changing we spent the afternoon with the Sri Lankan team taking us around local markets, showing us the art of haggling whilst also making sure we weren’t killed by the odd kamikaze Tuk Tuk.
Back to the hotel for a bit of recovery ready (hopefully) for the game tomorrow.
Day 6 - Again we have been thwarted by the changeable weather. Even through the best efforts of the Sri Lankan grounds men bringing out the “super sopper” the game was cancelled.
Fear not, building on the great day had by both teams previously an indoor venue was found and cricket was played!
Much better performances ensued pushing close in both games but again coming out second best.
With hope that day 6 will bring a 40 over match and a last chance to claim a victory in the beautiful country.
Day 7 - Today has brought our final game at the magnificent Sri Lankan Army Ordnance Cricket Club. With the international standard facility both teams raised their games playing the first international match in the stadium. - Sri Lanka won the toss and batted first.
A much-improved Wales bowling performance saw early wickets fall with k Williams and C Davies making break throughs before the middle order rebuilt. However, the rain again which has plagued the tour lashed down postponing the match.
Restarting Sri Lanka came out all guns firing before J King and C Margetts took 4 wickets in 2 overs. Some further tight bowling from A O’Neill (2 wickets), P Lane, H Malone, Z Tahir and sharp fielding from M Whitcombe, C Power, N Donaldson and I Martin restricted the home team to 210 for 8 off 30 overs.
All Welsh players bounced back from the earlier defeat giving a much better representation of how they have been playing cricket this year, even in the searing temperatures and humidity catches where held and bails broken.
Due to the rain interruption it was a very short turn around in an effort to beat the fading light. The Welsh top order found little joy from the Sri Lankan open bowlers backed up with some sensational fielding. J King the only batsman to prosper counter attacking scoring Wales’ first international 50 falling shortly before the end.
However the match ended in a draw as darkness fell. This match as with the whole tour was played in great spirits with both teams agreeing that cricket was the winner this week with many players forming cross team bonds.
Sri Lanka plan to tour Wales / England next year and they will be welcomed with open arms