The warm sunny weather of South Africa was certainly on the mind of local 13 year old Reece Malone of Derriaghy Cricket Club this week as he made his final preparations for the trip of a lifetime to the Western Province region of the country.
Reece is a talented all rounder and travels as a member of the Northern Cricket Union Under 15 development squad who, along with an Under 18 team, will spend 11 days based around Cape Town playing six matches and receiving some top rate coaching from local and international stars, including ICC World cup winning coach Gary Kirsten.
Prior to departure the Tour Manager Alan Waite stated that: “The key thing is the level that the tour is pitched at; we want this to be competitive and the level of competition to step up as the tour progresses.
“We will also be staying in a complex called City Lodge, Grand West in Cape Town, which effectively has everything on-site and will serve to keep the whole party together.
“I believe that having it at the start of the season is the right timing. The players have done a lot of work as a squad throughout the winter and this will give a real focus to that, plus they will be able to take the learning from the tour and apply it directly in the new season at home.”
There will also be time for some leisure activities with visits arranged to places such as Table mountain, Robben Island, Aquila Private Game Reserve plus some swimming in the beautiful coastal seas.
A trip is also scheduled to the Amy Biehl Foundation which provides 5 to 18 year old youths from the poverty stricken township with opportunities to take part in arts, drama and of course sport.
Derriaghy have made a donation to the Foundation and Reece will hand this over during the visit. Playing kit, cricket equipment and educational items will also be donated by the touring party.
Reece has played at Derriaghy for around five years and has captained both the club’s U11 and U13 teams to league wins in the past two seasons.
He has developed into a fine medium pace bowler and top order batsman and has been training with the Ireland Under 13 squad during the winter months.
Everyone at the club wishes him well for the trip and will be watching the local cricket websites for updates on the tour as it progresses.
As they say in Afrikaans ‘Sterkte’ (good luck).