An all-round amazing experience

30 Apr 2019

Year 13 student and cricket all-rounder Lachie Harper joined top schoolboy cricketers from teams across the country for the Willows Cricket Club youth tour 2019 to Malaysia and Sri Lanka in April – a trip that proved memorable in many different ways.

Lachie had no idea he was even being considered when he received the email confirming his selection. He was thrilled to take part. The team managed a couple of practices before leaving New Zealand, and clicked – as players and friends – while away. “They were a great bunch of guys,” says Lachie, “All good cricketers and all wanting to make the most of the opportunity.”

The team played two games in Malaysia, and two games in both Colombo and Kandy in Sri Lanka. “It was the hardest cricket I’ve ever played, because conditions were so different. In the heat and humidity you can’t bowl as many overs as you think you can and everything’s a lot harder than you think. We were up against some very, very good cricketers, players that really tested us, so we were pleased to get the results [two wins, two losses and two draws] we did. It was such good experience.”

They were on the way from Kandy to Galle when they heard about the terrorist attacks. Their last two games were cancelled and the team spent their final few days in Sri Lanka confined to their hotel and its immediate surrounds. “We didn’t really know what was going on because there was an internet ban and we couldn’t get wifi or anything. But we could see there was heightened security everywhere, with armed police and the military on the streets, extra checks, and an overnight curfew put in place.”

Luckily, the hotel in Galle was right on the beach and, “A pretty amazing place to be in lockdown.”

Despite the horror of what happened, Lachie says the insight he gained into other cultures, bonding over a shared love of cricket, and visiting so many interesting places made it all worthwhile. “It’s a lovely country, friendly and welcoming, pretty amazing.”