Covid-19 could have put a halt to a St Kevin’s College cricket tour this year, but organisers refused to let that happen.
The school’s first XI and support staff were supposed to be heading to Melbourne in a couple of weeks to play against Australian school teams, but with the border closures it was not possible.
Instead, the group would travel to the North Island at the end of January and play matches in Napier, Tauranga and Hamilton, coach Craig Smith said.
“We made the call halfway through the year to pull the pin. We could have delayed it a year but we wanted to move on. It could have been the same situation in a year’s time, so we said we’d do an internal tour.”
It would have been exciting for the side to play overseas, but heading to the North Island was the best alternative.
The team would play a mix of 50-over and twenty20 matches, and the players were starting to get excited about heading away.
“We’ll do a few other activities while we’re up there, and head to Rotorua and the Mount, and do some things with the parents, too.”
It was the first cricket tour St Kevin’s had been involved in for a while. When Smith was a pupil at the college, the team used to do a Christian Brothers cricket tour in Australia.
The return of the tour was the result of the hard work the players had put into the building the college’s cricket profile, he said.
“This group of boys have have been there since year 9, and they’ve always been pretty keen. We’ve had a fairly good intake of cricketers for the last few years – they’re all year 11 or 12, so they’re here for another year next year too.
“It’s just trying to give them a few more skills, and also reward them for their commitment for St Kevin’s College cricket over the last few years.”
The tour, from January 17 to 24, came at a prime time, with the Borton Cup season getting under way again on January 30.
St Kevin’s was in sublime form, sitting second on the table behind Union, and its first match back would be a top-of-the-table clash.