Olly and Jack (Year 12 students) update us on week one of the South Africa Cricket Exchange
After a short journey on Monday 22nd January we arrived at Heathrow Airport and before we knew it we were on our way to St Benedict’s College in Johannesburg. Upon arrival, we were immediately introduced to the Housemaster of the Boarding House and the 1st XI cricket team captain who both gave myself and Jack a warm welcome. We were shortly shown to our rooms which we were staying in, followed by going into lunch where we met some of the staff and students who were all very friendly. Before we knew it, we then left for a cricket match, getting straight into action, which we loved. We met everyone on the 2nd XI cricket team who were all extremely friendly and gave both of us a warm welcome.
Throughout our first week here, everyone has made it very easy to settle into the cricket. The day after our arrival, we went to the school gym, which is massive, and then went to the indoor nets in the cricket centre, where Jack and I had a net. On Thursday, we went to the school’s library and did academic work that had been set by our teachers back at home, before heading off to our second match of the week.
Mr Robey, who came to St Lawrence College last April and May as part of the exchange programme, then explained everything, and we immediately settled in. We continue to build a relationship with the team as we look to win as many games as possible over the time that we’re here. On Friday, we got to experience the college’s annual mass, which provided us with an idea of different cultures and traditions. Naturally being winter in England, cricket here is taking time to adapt due to the heat, but being out in the sun playing sport is definitely better than being in the freezing cold in England! Friday afternoon, Mr Robey introduced us to the rest of the 1st XI cricket team by allowing us to warm up with them as they prepared for a match, which I watched and was shown the incredible standard of the team that is something Jack and I aim to be a part of.
We had another match on Saturday which was away. While it’s more comforting playing home games, being able to travel with an amazing group of boys while seeing a country that is completely unique, is an incredible experience. The first week has been extremely busy, tiring and adapting to a completely new culture and heat, but the people around us have made that as easy as it could be. As the new week is about to begin, we both feel fully settled and look forward to playing more matches. Wonderful to have played three matches in the first week of having arrived!