Day 15-Heading Home

After an amazing 15 days, the tour had unfortunately come to an end. We had to get up early to catch the bus back to Heathrow and then fly back to Sydney (probably the only negative in the tour; the long flights). Back in Sydney we reunited with our families and headed back to our homes to get ready for school in two days time. The whole tour was an incredible experience, and was heightened by the boys I was with as well as the staff. Special thanks has to go out to Mr Turner, Mr Holdgate and Mr Potter for organising the tour and supervising us, making the experience so much more enjoyable, as well as the boys, who were always great to be around and I could always rely on to get a laugh out of. It’s something that I’d recommend to any young cricketer who gets a chance to when they’re in the senior years and an experience that I’ll never forget.

Mitch Long

Day 14-Cardiff Test Match (3rd Day)

Today we got up expectantly, hoping to see Australia get some runs before tearing through the English line-up. Walking to the ground via the Castle Gardens added to what was a special day. In the Test, England had the better of the contest. Root and Bell had batted well, contributing significantly to a tough total to chase of 413. Anderson and Broad rumbled through Australia’s bating order, adding to the visiting team’s woes. In the day we watched, we saw 15 wickets fall, unfortunately 5 of which were Australian, but it was good to see Australia have a good day with the ball, getting all the English batsmen out in less than a day. Whilst we were at Sofia Gardens, we were blessed to meet Ryan Harris – thanks to Gavin Harris – who shared his experience and wisdom about cricket and other subjects. We also had an opportunity to visit the broadcast box where we met Mark Nicholas, Ian Healy and Mark Taylor, who gave a special mention on the commentary about Newington, and the fact that we were doing a cricket tour. Some boys were lucky enough to get their time in the spotlight, getting shot through channel nine’s coverage. It was a great day, and one that I’m sure we’ll never forget, and was certainly a highlight for most of the boys.

Mitch Long

Days 11,12,13-Tonbridge Cricket Festival

After arriving at Tunbridge the night before we got up and ready for our match against Tonbridge. All the grounds we were playing on were incredible, and I think Tonbridge is one of the only school that rivals Kings in terms of the amount and quality of the grounds they have, but with a full 400m synthetic athletics track in there as well. For all the matches at Tonbridge, all the 20 boys stayed there to watch the match, with James Haldane leaving that morning at 5am to fly back to Sydney for a rugby tournament.

On Day 11 we played Tonbridge at The Head, a superb cricket ground with a backdrop of historic college buildings, Cowdrey Centre and quaint pavilion. Tonbridge’s 372 from its allocated 55 overs gave the batters a huge, and challenging chase, despite Lawrence Neil-Smith, Mitchell Long and Ben Page’s good efforts with the ball. Newington started its run chase positively with Zak Knight and Max Linden Smith (44) coming to the fore however a mid-innings collapse ended any hope of getting close to the opponent’s score. Lawrence Neil-Smith (43) and Ben Page played with maturity towards the close of the innings.

On Day 2 of the Festival Costan Griziotis led Newington’s charges against the cricketing powerhouse of Millfield. Lewis Ansell and Sam Hochuli withstood some fine pace bowling for a period as did Ben Page, and a great cameo from James Kah at the end of the innings helped boost our total up, however Newington’s 150 was insufficient to place scoreboard pressure on the opponent. Millfield ran down the total with relative comfort however mention should be made of Charlie Smyth, James Kah and Ben Page’s efforts with the ball.

Day 13 of the tour saw Newington pitted against Hilton (South Africa) which prospectively was a more even contest. Newington’s opening stanza appeared positive however a top order collapse put paid a competitive total. Mitchell Long, Max Linden-Smith and Lawrence Neil-Smith sought to redress the balance however each fell to false strokes after making starts. Zak Knight played with control as did Lewis Ansell and Tom Crawford as rear guard however 140 was never enough on a true wicket. Lawrence Neil-Smith bowled his best spell of the tour to provide Newington with a sliver of hope and Ben Harris found his rhythm. Max Linden-Smith affirmed his capacity with the ball with a solid spell. Alas it wasn’t enough and Hilton brushed Newington aside with some strong hitting.

The festival was a great experience and learning curve for all the boys on the tour, particularly those who hadn’t been exposed to open’s cricket and players of that quality. It was unfortunate that we didn’t manage to get a win, but it was always going to be difficult going against such quality opposition. After playing Hilton, we had a three hour bus ride to Cardiff, where the bus was much quieter than usual with plenty of boys having a siesta.

Day 10-Touring-The Glyn School

Today, we drove from Bath to where our game was being played against Glyn Epsom, at Banstead Cricket Ground. It was one of the longer drives that we had to make and everyone was pretty deflated on the bus, having to get up early for the bus trip. Once we got to the ground we all got some lunch from Tesco’s and then the playing 13 got into their warm-up gear and got ready for the match. 6 of the boys who weren’t playing then left the ground to head back to London, where we were planning on going to the Natural History Museum.

Getting back to London was no easy task though; the nearest train station was Banstead station, where a train to Victoria station came ‘as often as the Queensland floods’, as Mr Potter said. Once we arrived in Victoria, it was already 2:40, and we had to be back at the ground at around 4, so we didn’t have much time to explore the museum. At this stage some boys decided to go around Oxford street instead of going to the museum, as they’d already seen it in either this trip or holidays they’d previously been on to England.

For me, the outside of the museum was impressive in itself, let alone what it actually held inside it. Once inside, Mr Potter was immediately intrigued, with basically all the sections of the museum relating to biology. Some of the things they had there were incredible, particularly the dinosaur fossils and the Darwin Centre. After setting a new record for the quickest time spent going through the museum, 45 minutes, we met back up with the shoppers at Victoria station.

Choosing a different route home that involved us getting of at a busier station and a taxi ride back to the ground, we got back at 4:30, to hear that we’d won our third game in a row; something we can now classify as a streak. We then left Banstead Cricket Ground and moved onto Tonbridge, where we’d spend the next three nights. The school grounds were amazing and after a good feed we spent the rest of the night at the Manor Boarding House, watching a movie and playing table-tennis.

Mitch Long

Day 10-Match Report-The Glyn School

With the tour nearing the end, there was a severe reduction in volunteers to write the tour blogs, and so these next few blogs were all written after the tour or are courtesy of Mr Turner’s summary emails, so they are a bit more brief than usual.

Today, we got our third win in a row, which I’m pretty confident we can now classify as a streak. A good effort from the boys with the bat established a score which was defendable on the ground. Costan Griziotis, and new found opener, Charlie Smyth led with the bat, with a well earn 34 and 27 respectively.  Zac Kertesz featured with the bat as well, adding on to the total later in the innings, bringing the total up to 152 for 5. After the batting effort, a solid bowling effort followed, where James Kah, Sam Hochuli and Zac Kertesz led the way with the ball to secure a comfortable win for the visitors, bowling the Glyn School out for 118.

Team List:                                                                                                                               Charlie Smyth                                                                                                               Costan Griziotis C                                                                                                       Sam Hochuli                                                                                                                   James Kah                                                                                                                 Nicholas Williams                                                                                                             Lachlan Hodges VC                                                                                             Thomas Crawford                                                                                                         Zac Kertesz                                                                                                                 Stavros Dedes (wk)                                                                                                   Thomas Sanders                                                                                                               Zak Knight                                                                                                                       Lewis Ansell                                                                                                         Matthew Putt

Day 9-Touring-Bath

Today we woke up after a longer night’s sleep than usual and to the typical English overcast weather. Th clouds were threatening and we were hoping that the rain would hold out for our game. After everyone had wandered into the breakfast hall and had our breakfast, the teachers walked us to where we’d have our traditional English Sunday roast. On the way we passed The Circus, which is a set of old looking residential buildings that were in a semi-circular shape. After we reached the brewery, we all went our different ways to explore Bath further.

Going to the shops was a popular choice, so most boys headed back into the centre of town. H&M was a popular choice for most boys, which had a smaller price tag than most of the other stores in the area. The Jane Austen centre was surprisingly unpopular, so most of the morning was spent in the stores until we all headed off to the Bath Brew House for the roast. We had a good chat in the brew house, talking about our best and quirkiest memory as well as what we’re looking forward to the most. Putt said he was looking forward to getting some stereotypical English weather, because the days had been too hot, and so as we left the brewery, mother nature delivered. While we were walking back to the YMCA, the rain started to come down, so the outlook for the game was not good. We had an hour and a half to wander around the city after the roast, but because of the rain most boys just headed back to the YMCA and played some pool before we left for Kingwood school to play the match against Kingston.

The game finished at around 9 and we’d had a feed at the ground, so when we got back to Bath after the game we just took a stroll through the streets and some boys grabbed some Macca’s before we went back to the YMCA.

Mitch Long

Day 9-Match Report-Kingston

After the rain had come through, the pitch was pretty damp and the outfield was quite wet, and so it was in the balance whether we’d play or not. As the rain seemingly passed and the sun came out, it was decided that the game would go on. After winning the toss, we decided to bat and pray that the weather held out. Matt and Mitch were opening, and after the first over, Mitch fell on 3 after gloving one to the keeper, but Matt continued to play an well, building a solid partnership with Zac. The partnership continued to grow until Zac fell on 28 after hitting one to cover, who was working the ball around well, particularly down to third man. Stav was the next man in, and trying to give the strike to Matt, built his innings very well, while Matt was continuing to build on his and the team’s total freely. Another solid partnership was built between Matt and Stav to set a good base for the nest batsmen to come in. Stav was the next to fall, bowled, after a well deserved 24. Matt came soon after, after top edging a full toss to deep square leg. With two new batsmen coming in with only an over left, they tried to make some quick runs to increase the team’s total, with Sam making 7 and Charlie 2. After the 20 overs we finished with the total of 4/149, which was a pretty good effort considering the conditions and fluctuating rain.

After a quick change of innings, we were out in the field, with Nick and Ben opening the bowling. After two solid opening overs, we got a breakthrough from Nick, in the third, getting the opening batsmen caught behind. An over later, Ben got the second, edged to first slip. The openers kept the run rate low, and after those two wickets put us in a strong position. The new bowling partnership of Charlie and James came on and after they bowled their first over, both had an impact on the game. By the end on their four over spells, Charlie had 3 wickets and James had 2, including their other opener, who was starting to to hit them really well, and was looking very threatening. The bowling partnership put a huge dent in Kingston’s batting, and left us in a really strong position to win the game and also try and bowl Kingston out. With four overs left the game was in our favour, but still there for the taking. James started his spell well, hitting the top of off in his first ball, giving us only 2 more wickets to take. Tom took another one in his first over. It was a bit of a debacle at the end, with some sloppy fielding, and overthrows that could’ve potentially proven costly, but Mitch eventually got a run out to end the match. After the match we got some food and headed back to Bath.

Mitch Long

Team List:                                                                                                                     Mitchell Long C                                                                                                                  Matthew Putt                                                                                                                   Zac Kertesz                                                                                                                  Stavros Dedes (wk)                                                                                                              Sam Hochuli                                                                                                                 Charlie Smyth                                                                                                                 James Haldane                                                                                                                    Ben Page                                                                                                                              Max Linden-Smith                                                                                                                Thomas Crawford                                                                                                       James Kah                                                                                                                  Nicholas Williams                                                                                                        Costan Griziotis

Photo’s available at:

Day 9 – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1621976244748620.1073741836.1618721201740791&type=3

Day 8-Touring-Portland/Stonehenge/Bath

After getting our first win the day before and a good nights rest at the Aqua, we were ready to head off to Bath, and our next hostel, the YMCA. At the beginning of the bus trip, we headed to the top of Portland, on a headland that overlooked the entire town. It was a great view of the coastal area and on the headland there was also the Olympic Rings, because in the 2012 Olympics, the sailing races were all held in the Portland area.

Once we’d explored the Portland area, we moved on to Stonehenge, where we had some lunch from a Tesco’s that was on the way to the historic site. When we reached the historic site, we had to take a shuttle out to the actual henge, and listened to an audio guide when we were out there. The most impressive thing for me was that the stones were so heavy, some weighing up to 30 tonnes, and they were transported long distances to get to the site. After looking at the henge, we continued on to Bath.

When we got into Bath, we went into our rooms (two dorms with 4 triple bunks) in the Bath YMCA and got ready to go out. We took a look around the Roman Baths. The building was impressive, but the baths were nothing that you’d want to go into. After that we were able to wander around the town and the boys I was with walked along the river which led back to YMCA. The rest of the night we were able to spend how we wanted; most boys were focused on getting some food, with Burger King and Macca’s being a popular choice. After we ate everyone just strolled around the town in different groups before heading back to their dorms.

Mitch Long

Photos available at –

Day 8 – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1621974504748794.1073741835.1618721201740791&type=3

Day 6-Touring-Reading Blue Coats School

Today, the boys who weren’t playing along with Mr Holdgate travelled to Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle, the Royal residency in Windsor was at the end of our 45 minute journey from Streatley near Reading. We all stood at the gates of Windsor Castle and took in its beauty. The sandstone brick buildings and the freshly cut green grass square gave us all quality photo opportunities and thanks to Mr Holdgate the boys got an excellent photo in front of the square.
After a short wait we entered the Queen’s Tea Room and had a look at her doll house and after an attempt of a photo, we were told to put them away. We walked through the Royal Rooms looking at paintings of previous Royalty, weapons used in war and fully armoured mannequins that replicated a man of the era. Upon leaving Windsor Castle we walked to Eton College and although a few signs indicated there was to be no public access Mr Holdgate and the boys walked past into the grounds of Eton. It wasn’t an experience we were going to miss. This was the school of schools. The buildings and the grounds seemed to go for ever. The Newington College Floral Appreciation Society, cofounded by Terry Christoforou and Nick Williams, took some exquisite photos of the floral display of Eton College. On our way back to Windsor Castle, where the bus was positioned, Mr Holdgate got us all lost within the grounds of Eton. Although lost we kept walking until we saw a forest.. Mr Holdgate mustered up the courage to ask a passing bike rider who then directed us back towards Windsor Castle where the bus took us back to Reading.

Nicholas Williams

Day 6-Match Report-Reading Blue Coats School

Newington College came up against the Blue Coats Reading School on a ground filled with divots, overcast conditions and some light rain. Captained by Lachlan Hodges, Newington were sent in to bat in what seemed to be great bowling conditions. Ben Page and Zak Knight opened the batting and they dug deep and held off the swinging bowling attack with a good run rate. Zak fell for a well-deserved 15, which brought James Haldane to the crease; he fell shortly after attempting to increase the run rate. This brought Zac Kertesz to the crease. As the spinners came into the attack Page made full advantage of the short boundaries, but tried to force another big shot and was caught on 37, a well played innings non the less. This brought Lachlan Hodges to the crease. Kertesz and Hodges controlled the middle overs reasonably comfortably, occasionally taking a risk, which paid off. Some great batting was displayed from both batsmen as the ball was occasionally lost in the near by bushes. Approaching the 40th over mark Newington were eyeing off 250 runs, the run rate needed to increase and that’s exactly what Kertesz did, however Hodges nicked off for 32, which brought an end to the 84 run partnership. Kertesz brought up a well-deserved 50 but the job wasn’t done, with many wickets falling around him, he attempted to increase the run rate but was bowled for a well-deserved 63. With quick wickets falling there was a collapse at the back end of the innings, which left Newington being bowled out for 234. 

 Defending 234 Newington came out strong picking up early wickets, a great bowling display of full and straight bowling from Haldane, James Kah and Sam Hochuli saw Blue Coats at 3-43. As Blue Coats went on the defense the energy in the field was slowly drained, as the spinners came on the Blue Coats batsmen took full advantage of the short boundaries and pierced the in-field and the boundary ropes on a number of occasions. After Blue Coats went on the attack they seemed to have all the luck swing in their favour and didn’t hold off for any bowler, as well as they opening batsmen bringing up their his 100. He batted with a fiery passion, not holding back from the challenge; he batted like an aggressive flotilla. When their captain departed with 119 runs under his belt, Blue Coats only required a further 30 runs off 17 overs. They passed the Newington total with ease and it was a well-deserved victory to The Blue Coats Reading School. After the formalities, the boys were billeted out with the boys from the opposing team. 

Lachlan Hodges

Team List:                                                                                                                              Zak Knight                                                                                                                             Ben Page                                                                                                                                   James Haldane VC                                                                                                               Zac Ketesz                                                                                                                          Lachlan Hodges C                                                                                                    Thomas Crawford                                                                                                   Thomas Sanders                                                                                                        Mitchell Long (replacing Ben Harris because of illness)                          James Kah                                                                                                                Matthew Putt                                                                                                                  Sam Hochuli                                                                                                               Stavros Dedes (wk)                                                                                                              Charlie Smyth