THE Somerset Under 15 Boys have just returned from Sri Lanka where they spent 12 days during which they played seven matches, went on a Safari and experienced a very different culture.

Matt Drakeley the head of talent pathway who went with the tour party alongside Andrew Griffiths and Andy Payne said: “We really enjoyed our time in Sri Lanka where we had 12 days. We started in Colombo then we went to Yala for a Safari which was a couple of rest days for the boys and gave them a chance to see a bit more of the country. We then returned to the outskirts of Colombo to play some more cricket.

“The trip was very well put together for us by Lion Sports Travel and its amazing to see the lads have an opportunity to experience and play in very different conditions, playing against different opponents, and to experience a different culture, 

“It was also great for the boys to get the chance to play cricket outside on grass rather than being in the Indoor School for the whole of the winter."

Matt went on: “There always seem to be an abundance of slow left arm bowlers who can turn the ball a mile. Whilst we have the Merlyn Bowling Machine when we are indoors which can deliver a good level of spin, until you actually see that coming from a bowler’s hand on a wicket that’s offering a bit of assistance it doesn’t bring the challenge to life.

“I have told the boys from a batting point of view that when they come back and play against spin they can now actually understand why they have to be decisive and clinical with their movements to give themselves the best chance of succeeding. They have seen spin bowling at its toughest for their relative age which was really important. 

“Additionally this time we had a set of six Sri Lankan net bowlers who came in and bowled at some of the batters outside of the game, which provided another amazing challenge. Hopefully when we get to the summer and begin our matchplay programme we will see some real development from all our players."

Matt added: “I am really happy that we can offer this sort of experience to the boys and I know just how grateful they all are of the opportunity. I know that they will take away as many learnings as they can and put them into play in the summer.”