As the bitter winter weather continued to grip Harrow during the 2018 Easter holidays, Cape Town was the destination for the School’s U14 and U15 footballers and cricketers, coming together for a John Lyon South Africa super-tour.
The ten day tour saw the boys compete in and around South Africa’s largest city, impressing with their performances on the pitch as well as making friends off it.
Below, Head of Cricket Adam Ling recounts the tour, day by day.
Friday 6th April
As we opened the curtains this morning it was disappointing to see the rain but within an hour it was back to 25 degrees and sunny – boys could hardly contain their excitement as they walked into breakfast to be met by views of Table Mountain and pretty much every food imaginable.
After a longer than usual wait for the coach (known by the locals as South African timing) we ventured to Durbanville to meet our hosts for the day’s Cricketing activities. It was amazing to see the hard work by the parents and ground staff to make sure cricket has continued in the Cape, despite the lack of water. Whilst the fields were brown, wickets were superbly prepared and both John Lyon teams opted to bowl.
The Junior XI were competitive with the ball and restricted Durbanville to 130; Shaan the pick of the bowlers, taking five wickets in his spell – I will need to check the record books but this is certainly not something I can remember in my previous four tours. It was evident that our boys were not as used to the difficult batting conditions as our opponents and getting the runs needed was a real challenge.
Durbanville CC – 137 | John Lyon – 62
Shaan Rauf – 5-21 | Rayan Raval – 3-18
Again, in the field, the boys started well but some strong batting and good partnerships saw the hosts reach 170; Shayne the pick of the bowlers with figures of 0-19 from his eight overs. Boys started well with the bat but unfortunately they couldn’t keep the partnerships going despite some late resistance from Nik (30).
Durbanville CC – 181/4 | John Lyon – 108
Rikin Amin 1-20
It was fantastic to see the opposition boys at the end join in with our group in a variety of sporting challenges; it was hard to pull them away but after a coach journey and a change of clothes were back at the complex enjoying dinner from a choice of over 15 restaurants – some opting for the cinema, others raiding the sweet shop; I’m sure whilst looking for souvenirs for their loved ones at home.
Saturday 7th April
As expected, our Year 9 Cricketers were less than happy with their 7.30am breakfast as they travelled to Sunningdale CC for their second fixture; particularly as the rest of the group were still sound asleep!
A much improved performance. Once again John Lyon chose to bowl; restricting our opposition to 139-6. Unfortunately once again, the pitch proved difficult to score on for the visitors and boundaries were few and far between. On to Western Provence tomorrow for game number three – forecast is for 26 degrees so it’s going to be tough all around!
Sunningdale CC 139/6 | John Lyon – 119/9
Shaan Rauf – 3-22 | Harshu Vyas – 2/29
The rest of the group enjoyed a trip to Camps Bay where we spent a couple of hours on the beach; a little overcast to start, but by the end the sun was out and the boys entertained themselves for the duration, stopping briefly for lunch before travelling to join the Under 14s for the last ten overs of their game.
The hotel’s big screen TV had a number of boys glued to the evening’s football – the Manchester Derby. I’m sure more red shirts were on show after United’s dramatic win, but the game proved an excellent end to the day’s play.
Sunday 8th April
As the temperature reached 28 degrees in the afternoon we played against Newlands Cricket Academy.
A great start with the ball; Ismail and Rayaan kept the runs down early with Tarun providing excellent support. Hasrhu bowled particularly nicely but some patient batting allowed the opposition to score 167. Rayaan and Davin were the pick of the John Lyon batsman who tried to get the scores close, but slow scoring meant we finished behind the required run rate.
Newlands Cricket Academy – 167/5 | John Lyon – 105
Tarun Raval 1-12
The U15s came up against what was the strongest opposition so far and after a 190 run opening partnership were always going to find chasing a struggle. A long morning in the field, made better by Dylan’s 2-41 was always going to be a tough chase. Captain Shayne scored a good 27 assisted by Arjun and Rikin.
Newland’s Cricket Academy – 286/3 | John Lyon – 99
Shayne Amba – 27 | Dylan Chhetry – 2-41
A very tired group arrived for dinner, and by bedtime, all were in their rooms and extremely quiet – the weather certainly having taken its toll.
Monday 9th April
Our cricketers met for breakfast and travelled back to Belleville CC who were our hosts once again.
Our Year 10 cricketers chose to bowl first against Belleville in their third 35 over game. In the tenth over, with Belleville on 40 runs, John Lyon struck three times in a single over leaving the opposition 44 for 3. Belleville then repaired their innings and it wasn’t until the 30th over that John Lyon struck again with the score at 130 runs. Belleville closed out their overs finishing with 144 for 9. Suchir broke the previous record only set on Friday by Shaan, taking 6 wickets for 15 runs off 7 overs; a fantastic personal achievement. John Lyon’s reply started well with Simar and captain Shayne posting an opening stand of 40 runs.
Belleville CC – 144/9 | John Lyon – 89
Suchir Kondru – 6-15 | Shayne Amba – 22
The Under 14s started well with the ball and restricted their opposition early on; Rayan and Ismail keeping things tight. Shaan’s two wickets stemmed the flow of runs and Davin was superb at keeping the score down in his four overs. John Lyon started quickly in reply; Rahul and Aryan demolishing both opening bowlers – Rahul’s huge six the pick of the shots. Unfortunately wickets fell at regular intervals but it was pleasing to see us complete the last ball of the game.
Belleville CC – 156/2 | John Lyon – 110
Our football squads joined us for the afternoon after some time shopping and all enjoyed the Braai that Belleville provided. Some extremely tired faces as we met in the evening; some very happy as it was now their turn to show off their skills with our first football fixture the next day…although one boy had to admit to forgetting his match shirt!
Tuesday 10th April
A lovely morning at the beach gave boys the opportunity to catch some rays before lunch at the local shopping centre.
In the evening, both Football teams arrived at the picturesque De Beers FC In Somerset West; high up towards the mountains and particularly windy.
The Under 14s started in a positive manner in very windy conditions but with a beautiful backdrop to the wonderful facilities and pitches that we played on. Despite the conditions the boys played well and took the lead just before half time when Kadique chipped the goalkeeper from the edge of the box. The second half the boys continued to dominate and Captain Cory scored a superb individual goal.
De Beers FC 0 – 2 John Lyon
Scorers: Kadique, Cory
Man of the Match: Kai
The under 15s started the game brightly and went 1-0 up thanks to a Brilliant run and shot by Folu- excellently saved but Ayaz on the rebound calmly slotted home from close range. It could have been two straight afterwards but John Lyon went into the break 2-0 up thanks to a superb individual effort, this time with Folu claiming his goal. The task was a little more difficult in the second half and with the wind against them the pressure mounted. A freak penalty made the score 2-1 and the last 15 minutes were tough; however, the boys netted once again, defended superbly and held on.
De Beers FC 1 – 3 John Lyon
Scorers: Folu (2), Ayaz
Man of the Match: Folu
There was an interesting unplanned stop on the way home after a coach malfunction. After a short delay, we were back on the road and made it back in time for the end of the Champions League quarter finals.
Wednesday 11th April
A rare ‘rest day’ greeted the team although there were still some tired faces at breakfast! With a big washing load done we spent the morning reuniting clothes with their owners, with a good level of success. Thank you to parents for kit naming- it made the process far easier.
Our tour of the Cape started with a drive to Hout Bay where boys used their bartering skills to buy some of the local goods. From there we made a brief stop at Chapman’s Peak for a group photo overlooking the Bay before stopping in Noordhoek for lunch. The afternoon drive took us to Cape Point where the group walked up to the famous lighthouse; particularly windy when we reached the top. Boys were also introduced to some of the country’s wildlife as they met baboons, ostriches and eland. A short journey to the Cape of Good Hope for our final photo; the most south-westerly point of Africa where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet. The coach was in absolute silence on the way back as most slept – finally some peace and quiet for the staff.
Thursday 12th April
The morning started with a tour of Table Mountain; a short cable car to the top to experience the views across the city, Table View and Camps Bay. From here we made a quick stop at the waterfront for lunch before we ventured to Clifton Beach for some sun and swimming. We boarded the coach and had time to relax en route to our hosts for the evening, Durbanville FC.
After the previous fantastic victory, the boys started the game against Durbanville with confidence. An excellent solo effort from Kai opened the scoring followed by a good finish from Dylan for the second. With the score at 2-0 at half time, John Lyon came out in the second half and showed their dominance – an excellent finish from Cory before Kai netted a brace to complete his hat-trick. The opposition were limited to only once chance in the second half but a good save from Teo meant another clean sheet for John Lyon.
Durbanville FC 0 – 5 John Lyon
Scorers: Kai (3), Cory, Dylan
Man of the Match: Cory
On another dusty and dry pitch the boys turned up excited for their second fixture. With less wind to deal with, they got off to a great start and within ten minutes Ayaz had put us 1-0 up. Durbanville piled on the pressure but thanks to some excellent defending, the hosts were restricted to half chances. The second half provided far more entertainment and both Muntasir and Folu increased our lead; followed shortly by Rocco who curled a superb effort past the diving keeper. As legs tired a long ball over the top saw the goalkeeper stranded and Nik calmly chipped the keeper before Folu scored his second of the evening.
Durbanville FC 0 – 7 John Lyon
Scorers: Folu (2), Muntasir (2), Rocco, Nik, Ayaz
Man of the Match: Rocco
This was by far one of our best evenings of tour – the footballers bonded with the opposition long into the evening whilst the cricketers watched the IPL from the clubhouse – all enjoying a slightly later curfew before before a big day ahead which would see cricket and football played in the same day – the first time we have ever done this on tour.
Friday 13th April
An extremely tough day on the field with both football and cricket teams competing. Great to see every single boy take part in some way.
Despite a fantastic start to the their football tour, the U14 faced a much tougher opposition in Vasco Da Gama. The scored was limited to 2-0 at half time with some good saves from Will in goal. Teo then took over goalkeeping duties for the second half but the opposition attack was too strong and the team conceded another three. The score was disappointing but despite the result, Ismail in the middle of the park was the standout player.
Vasco Da Gama 5 – 0 John Lyon
Man of the Match: Ismail
The U15s maintained their 100% record in a particularly tough fixture against Vasco Da Gama. The boys started well and went 1-0 up with a clever team goal from Folu, before Ayaz doubled the lead after 20 minutes. John Lyon appeared to be cruising, but in the second half some tired legs saw us concede two quick goals. But then a long free kick from Sanjiv sneaked in at the back post after a goalkeeping mistake, and had it not been for Alpha’s superb reactions between the posts at the other end it could have been a lot closer. As the opposition pushed forward for the equaliser we took the opportunity to capitalise and another powerful run from Folu ensured a third victory from three.
Vasco Da Gama FC 2 – 4 John Lyon
Scorers: Folu (2), Ayaz, Sanjiv
Man of the Match: Alpha
The Cricketers – a combined Year 9 and 10 team played a very strong Sunningdale/Milnerton CC team which contained two Western Provence players. Batting first the opposition scored 210/2 with their two star players scoring 103 and 53 respectively. John Lyon’s reply started steadily and we batted our full allocation for the loss of eight wickets. Particular mention to Shayne for his batting and Rayan who only conceded 17 runs in his five overs.
Sunningdale CC – 210/2 | John Lyon – 97/8
After a quick turnaround the boys met for an all-you-can eat buffet dinner at the complex; there were some very ‘full’ looking individuals as we met in the evening and some even greener faces when we mentioned that breakfast was at 8.15am the next morning!
Saturday 14th April
Another welcome rest day for the boys on a glorious Saturday – a slightly earlier than usual breakfast before boarding the coach for a 2.5 hour journey to Aquila Game Reserve for the afternoon’s safari.
We arrived to a welcome drink before heading in for lunch – another all-you-can-eat buffet. We met outside at the pool before boarding the game drive – two large vehicles would provide us with the transport for the afternoon around the park. It wasn’t long before we met the hippos, zebra and the white rhino before entering the lions’ den. A quick pit stop gave us time to refresh before we travelled to meet the giraffes and elephants.
The coach journey home gave boys the opportunity to recharge their batteries and prepare for their final fixtures the next day.
Sunday 15th April
A final round of Football fixtures at Meadowridge FC.
An entertaining game. John Lyon dominated early possession but went a goal behind. A Nathan Sutherland equaliser with a good finish from close range gave only brief hope, as we conceded a penalty almost immediately to go into half time 2-1 down. Kai was able to equalise early in the second half but then went behind quickly once again. With just ten minutes to go Shaan’s cool finish meant the scores were level. We tried our best to lose the game, conceding another penalty with five minutes to go, but Will Davey made a great save low to his left to keep the ball out of the net.
Meadowridge FC 3 – 3 John Lyon
Scorers: Shaan, Kai, Nathan
Man of the Match: Will
On a difficult pitch the boys struggled to adjust to the uneven bounce and were 3-0 down at half time, despite creating chances to reduce the deficit. It was a far improved second half and John Lyon had numerous opportunities on goal, without success. A late penalty, calmly finished by Rikin ensured a nervy last ten minutes for the opposition but they were able to hold out despite increasing John Lyon pressure.
Meadowridge FC 3 – 1 John Lyon
Man of the Match: Khari
Our last afternoon was spent at Clifton Beach, enjoying the last rays of sunshine before returning to the hotel for our awards evening. A number of boys received awards for their efforts across the 12-day John Lyon South Africa tour – congratulations to Shaan, Suchir, Cory, Kai and Folu.