SRI LANKA TOUR

SRI LANKA TOUR
The 4th match was played at the beautiful Welagedera Stadium ground against a seniors XI – and we won! Playing a 40 over game, we batted first, got a century with the opening stand, lost a flurry of wickets in the last 5 overs but finished with 213. Skipper Rob Nelson then decided that slow bowling would do the trick, and opened with Martin Southwell and Howard Clay. Howard’s wicket with his second ball set the wickets rolling and we bowled them out for less than 70 runs!

Here’s one photo across the ground, and a second of Aasif Sheikh launching an effortless 6 over long on on his way to scoring a quickfire 49.

SRI LANKA TOUR
Yesterday was a free day. Some of the party accepted a generous invitation from tourist and XL member Sam Guneratne to visit his house Rangala House high in the hills in the middle of the UNESCO area and others took the opportunity for more local visits.
The house visit followed another exciting journey in the tour bus and the peace and tranquillity of Rangala was welcome relief after the frenetic coach drive. After a sumptuous lunch we were free to lounge, to swim, to walk locally, to bird watch or, later, to make a visit to the local tea factory.
After that it was another hair-raising drive back to the hotel, a late dinner and rest.
Today we head to Pallekele for match 5 against Kandy CC.
There was some rain yesterday evening so it is cooler this morning and the wicket may be a little slower!

SRI LANKA TOUR
Some stats to date:
Match 1 – Robert Green 52 retired, Sam Guneratne 49, Aasif Sheikh 45. Martin Southwell 7-3-11-4.
Match 2: Chris Wright 43.
Match 3. Aasif Sheikh 32.
Match 4. Michael Arnold 60, Aasif Sheikh 49. Rob Nelson 5-3-4-4. Martin Southwell 8-2-29-3.

16 February at 19:17

Today we played at the wonderful Pallekele ground against a Kandy CC Seniors XI. Again we won the toss, and again we batted first and thanks to a 50 from Aasif Sheikh and 45 from Jon Thornton, plus a good score from Sam Gunaratne, we finished our 40 overs at 253 – and they never got there! In fact they were all out for 100. Martin Southwell got another 5 fer, and it was he and the other slow bowlers who did all the damage.
Presentations, tea and handshakes all round, and we were off back towards the hotel and the traffic mayhem that is Kandy.
In the evening we had the mid-tour dinner, hosted by Connaissance to whom many thanks and tomorrow we shall take the road to Colombo, some going direct and others visiting the elephant sanctuary en route.
Courtesy of John Lodge here are 3 photos of the ground to warm the cockles of the hearts of previous XL tourists who came here ten and more years ago.

The match today was against our old friends the Connaissance de Ceylan XI and. We played at the wonderful Surrey Village ground. We batted first and set the decent target of 263 to win, Aasif Sheikh again lead the way with a quickfire 50 and then retired: Jon Thornton was going well till he ran himself out: Charlie Nelson was beginning to look good before he got a jaffa of a ball: in fact all 7 batsmen enjoyed their knocks in the sun and contributed well to the final score.
After a lovely lunch we were back out at 2.00pm with work to do. Dropped catches didn’t help the cause, but a bowling change to bring on Geoff Barker with his mesmerising leggies did the trick and wickets began to tumble. A bit of resistance here, a bit there, and the score kept creeping up but the ask was too high and Connaissance ended their 40 overs 62 runs light and 9 wickets down.
Time for tea, or a beer and some food, followed by the presentations and we were finished. We owe huge thanks to Chandra Wickramasinghe for his hospitality and generosity: and to the Curator of Surrey Village for all his excellent arrangements.

Scores on the doors – match 5 batting:
Sam Gunaratne 40: Jon Thornton 45: Aasif Sheikh 50 (r): GeoffBarker 36.
Bowling : Martin Southwell 6-1-11-5.
XL won by 153 runs.

Match 6: vs Connaissance De Ceylon: XL 261/7: Connaissance 210/9.
Batting. Aasif Sheikh 50 (r); Michael Arnold 41*. Bowling: Geoff Barker 6-1-31-3: Martin Southwell 5-0-25-2: Adrian Fawden 6-1-12-2. XL won by 51 runs.