UAE Cricket Tour 2023
The senior boys side set off for the UAE just before half-term. The cricket tour was a great success, with plenty of cricket, cultural activities, rest and relaxation with a strong sense of coming together as a squad.
Following our overnight flight, the boys were thrown straight into a training session in Abu Dhabi to get the jet-lag and flight out of their system before enjoying some well earned down-time at the hotel pool. On Sunday the boys played their first match of the tour against the Zayed Cricket Academy on the Mohan Oval with the Zayed Stadium right next door. A tough day at the office saw some resilience from Harrison L with a hard fought 48, however, the side would fall short of their target despite their hard working efforts during the first half of the match in the field. After the game the boys were able to enjoy a stadium tour & watch the Six Nations rugby on a big screen at the restaurant whilst having a BBQ. There was even some top level Padel going on at the same time!
A cultural day followed on Monday, with a visit to the Grand Zayed Mosque – an incredible feat of engineering and humbling place to spend time. Following this, the boys left Abu Dhabi and headed for Dubai, where they were able to spend some time around Dubai Creek and the Souks before attending a cultural lunch at the Cultural Understanding Centre in Dubai. On Tuesday, the boys played their second match of the tour at The Sevens Stadium, where the stadium is based for the international touring 7s programme. They were up against a strong RGS Lancaster side, whose path we have crossed previously in February 2020. Once again, the boys put together a bowling and fielding performance that was full of energy and hard work. However, only Ben W made a significant contribution with the bat with a battling half century. After the match, we headed to Dubai Mall for the evening and after dinner were able to watch the lights & fountain show under the Burg Khalifa, which is always a tour highlight and quite a spectacle to behold.
On the Wednesday the boys were fortunate enough to play at the Sharjah International Cricket Stadium vs King’s Canterbury, who were also on tour. Whilst slightly eerie with no spectators, the boys quickly settled in to the environment and were excited with the prospect of the opportunity presented to them. Having lost the toss and bowling first, the boys came together with fantastic camaraderie to grab hold of the contest from the outset. Despite a very good partnership towards the end of their innings, RGS stayed on top throughout the first half and dismissed King’s for 166 from their 45 overs. What followed was one of the finest batting displays an RGS side has ever produced. Tommy B, Rohan K & Alex B all contributed in half-century partnerships with Ben W – who finished 86 not out, carrying his bat to get the boys over the line with 17 overs to go with only 4 wickets down. A fine display and an exciting performance for the upcoming season.
On Thursday the boys were able to enjoy some down time at the Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis on the Palm in Dubai. From slides, to drops & the lazy river the boys had a great time relaxing & having fun on tour following two tough games of cricket in two days. In the evening we were fortunate to be invited to a Foundation Event at Lah Lah Restaurant in Dubai, where a number of Old Reigatians who are based in the UAE were in attendance providing students with a fantastic opportunity to network and develop contacts. In addition, there were other RGS staff, parents & friends of the community who were present at the event, that created a real family vibe. It was a great example of how RGS is spreading across the world, and the importance to utilise and connect across the network.
Across Friday & Saturday, the boys played three T20s against local cricket academies in Dubai. Some close matches, with perfect levels of development and challenge provided the tourists with opportunities to hone their skills and spend valuable time preparing for the upcoming summer season. Half centuries in the games were scored by Tommy B, Alex B, Jack S & James C. Wickets were spread around, with contributions across the squad. The tour concluded with a desert safari – upon our return to the hotel there were four 4x4s ready to take us into the desert where the boys rode camels, boarded down the sand dunes, witnessed a falconry display, took in UAE cultural entertainment and a fantastic buffet of local food, all of which was enjoyed by the tourists and a great way to end the tour. Upon our safe return, the boys are already back in the nets working on their games on the back of the tour in preparation for the upcoming season – one which we are all really looking forward to, let’s hope the UAE weather comes to Hartswood this summer!