Over the Easter break, a senior squad of 13 pupils travelled to Dubai in the first ever stand-alone girls cricket tour. Playing fixtures against a variety of opposition both from English Schools and the U16 UAE Women’s side as part of their preseason, the tour was a mix of both cricket and some thrilling excursions.
On arrival the squad had a morning to recover from the overnight flight, before heading for their first training session of the tour in the afternoon. With the sun shining the girls put a hard shift in and had a taste of batting outside on grass after a long seven months inside.
The second day saw a morning spent at the beach followed by the first match of the tour against a strong Ipswich side. Amelia won the toss and elected to bowl first. The squad couldn’t have asked for a better start than a wicket with the first ball of tour bowled by Darcey and caught by Ella. They nearly had Ipswich 0-2 off 0.2 but just came up short of the second wicket. Ipswich batted extremely well and the girls stuck at it including a wicket from Charlotte with an excellent catch from Molly and Poppy with a run out Ipswich finished 163-3 off their 20 overs. In reply Ella & Freya went out to bat but Ella fell quickly, Saskia came in at number three and together her and Freya batted beautifully with a partnership of 79. Saskia top scored in our reply with the first 50 of the season but we came up short finishing 106-5 off our 20 overs. After the match, they pupils headed straight for TopGolf where they spent the evening testing out their Golf skills, with Freya, Darcey & Amelia taking the pupil wins in each bay!
The third day morning was spent poolside with the Middles finessing their synchronised swimming and the first awards of tour were presented. After lunch the pupils headed to their second match where they took on Mayfield. Amelia won the toss again and elected to bat first. Lucy and Ella opened up and got off to a good start before Ella fell bringing Darcey to the crease and top scoring with 47. Lucy & Darcey batted superbly together and built a steady base for the middle order to come in at the end of the innings, finishing on 128-5. Onto the bowling innings and a first baller again with Bella taking a wicket with the first ball of our bowling innings! The girls bowled marvellously with the pick of the bowlers being Molly who took 2in2 with the hattrick ball ending in a dot. Mayfield finished their innings on 94-4 giving Haileybury their first win of the tour. After the cricket the pupils headed straight off to the Dubai Mall, the second largest in the world, and the evening ended perfectly watching the light and fountain show on and outside the Burj Khalifa as a squad.
The next day brought a much-deserved rest day which was spent at the world’s largest water park, where some pupils opted for thrill-seeking whilst others were much happier bobbing along in their inflatables along the lazy river.
Onto the final day and the girls were faced with two matches against the UAE U16 development side. Both matches were a great experience and everyone was given an opportunity with both bat and ball, playing in a different climate and with new opposition. The players learnt so much throughout the tour but particularly when playing against the UAE. In the first match, they came up just short in their run chase, having put on an excellent bowling display against some very good opening batters. In the second match, they played a T10 and chased this down with 2 overs to go just one wicket down. After the matches, the squad went on a desert safari with the opportunity to have a BBQ, Camel Riding, Dune Bashing, Quad Biking, finished off by watching a fire show and an Egyptian dancer.
The tour was a huge success with the pupils taking memories back that will last a life time as well as experiences and life lessons both on and off the pitch. The squad is now set up perfectly for hopefully some sunshine and a full-on season ahead.
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