Going the extra mile: Pictured after completing last Saturday’s Queenstown Parkrun as a training exercise are, from left, Sri Lanka-bound cricketers Oscar Pullar, 16, Liam Clarke, 14, Finn Cole-Bailey, 16, Hugo Bogue, 15, and Mason Clarke, 16

As the standard of cricket takes off at Wakatipu High, both junior and senior teams are taking off on exciting tours early next year.

A Year 8/9 team are heading to the Riverbend tournament in Hawke’s Bay in January, and are well on the way to raising about $30,000 to get there.

The 1st XI are heading to the heat and humidity of Sri Lanka for a 12-day tour in April.

The 14-strong team, made up of next-year Year 11 to 13 students, has the ambitious goal of raising about $100,000.

Most of this team were part of a ‘junior 1st XI’ school team who competed at Riverbend early last year, when it substituted for an Aussie tour canned due to Covid restrictions.

That team found it such a good experience, this next junior 1st XI are also going there.

Of those going to Hawke’s Bay, Liam Clarke and Toby Gallie will also be going to Sri Lanka.

The captain and vice-captain of the senior side are, respectively, Liam’s brother, fast bowler Mason, 16, and batsman Hugo Bogue, 15.

Both under-age Otago reps, they’re currently travelling to Dunedin each week to train with the Otago Volts’ ‘emerging Volts’.

In June, Mason was a non-travelling reserve for the New Zealand U19 team who played in an U19 World Cup qualifier in Darwin, Australia.

Having qualified, the team will now be travelling to the U19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in January.

Mason is in the preliminary 24-strong training squad, so there is a chance he’ll be going there twice in four months.

His dad Bevan, who’ll be coaching the senior team alongside parents Matt Langford, Matt Hollyer and Greg Trounce, says this tour will be the first undertaken by a senior school side.

Parents were given the option of touring Australia, India or Sri Lanka, and 80% chose the last, due to the interesting experience it offers.

Bevan says they’ve had good support from local Sri Lankans.

They’ll play five to seven games in Colombo, Galle and Kandy, and undertake some community work or cricket coaching.

As fundraisers, the team are running a quiz night on November 3 and an Arrowtown golf tournament on November 20, while the boys will also be raising money through gardening work and the like.

They’ve also been sponsored, to date, by Mac Ops, Formatt Bespoke Joinery Co., Flints Plumbing and Fulton Hogan.

Meanwhile, the junior team are also fundraising — their biggest sponsor, Fowler Homes, has donated $10,000.

The team are being coached by parents Walter Clarke, Gihan Fernando, Ben Gallie and Dean Dolan.

Meanwhile, Bevan says the schoolboys’ growth as cricketers owes a lot to the grounding they got from Queenstown Cricket Club junior coach Emma Campbell.

‘‘She’s a bit of an unsung hero here, for sure.’’

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