THREE age groups of Somerset’s young cricketers have recently returned from a 13 day tour of Sri Lanka where in addition to playing several matches they also experienced the culture.

Having had time to reflect on the tour Andrew Griffiths, Somerset’s Pathway Coaching Lead, talked about the trip.

“One of the things we are really big on with the age groups is trying to provide a different cultural experience as well as developing their cricketing skills in very different conditions. The tour certainly achieved both of these things.”

“From a cricket perspective it was a really good trip. The surfaces we played on provided a level of challenge that meant players had to adapt their game and adopt different methods to those utilised at home and it was great to see so many players develop this throughout the tour.”

“Off the field it was a brilliant experience and hopefully at times it will have given players a perspective on how fortunate they are as well. As an example, at the end of the trip our squads were able to present bags of unneeded cricket kit to local school teams who were incredibly grateful of the donation.”

“One of the things that I enjoy most about touring is taking a group of players who often don’t know each other beyond county training sessions, but during the trip start to form quite close friendships. That has definitely been evident in the sessions we’ve had since returning.”

“In addition to the cricket, developing them as people is a something we attach a lot of value to. We provide them with opportunities to take ownership of things they may otherwise take for granted, which is always a brilliant learning opportunity.”

“Once again, throughout the trip we were really well looked after on and off the field. We played at some great venues where the surfaces were very different to those in the UK. The make up of the wickets and how they are prepared provided a really different challenge, but that difference is a big part of the reason we go to Sri Lanka.”

“Our batters get to face a lot more spin bowling and it can also be a different kind of spin. On most surfaces they bowl flatter and quicker and it can be really challenging to bat against.”

“This year we took three groups - the under 15 and under 18 Girls who Women and Girls Lead Coach, Kieran Peters had oversight of and the under 15 Boys, who Andy Payne, Pathway Coach and Analyst and Jack Moore, under 15 Boys Lead Coach worked with.

“We were all very aligned in that we had the same itinerary, so the tours ran simultaneously.”

“It was brilliantly planned in terms of the balance between cricket and recreational activities, which allowed us to play some great cricket as well as experiencing some beautiful places like Yala and Galle.”

Griff concluded by saying: “The tour was a brilliant experience with some great learning and performances across all three teams.”

He added: “The groups are now back into the winter training programme and will move outside in mid to late April. I’d imagine the conditions will be slightly different to those in Sri Lanka!”