Merrion Youth Boys Cardiff Tour 2023

For this year’s tour the boys went to Cardiff for three days. Over the three days we played two matches and attended two of The Hundred games. I had the pleasure of coaching the boys for a second year in a row on their trip. It start on Monday morning where we met in the airport at 7.45am and flew into Bristol Airport. Upon arrival we were met with some gloomy, drizzly conditions but thankfully this didn’t follow us to Cardiff. The bus trip to Cardiff took an hour and to pass time, manager Greg Molins had some Hundred-related quiz questions with the various crisp sponsorships being the prizes.

When we arrived in Cardiff we checked into our very nice hotel and headed straight to Sophia Gardens stadium. At 3pm we were lucky enough to watch Welsh Fire vs Trent Rockets women’s game and witnessed Tammy Beaumont’s incredible record-breaking 118 run innings off only 61 balls. Just before the game some of the boys were fortunate enough to get pictures with Johnny Bairstow.

After Welsh Fire women’s strong win, we got some food at the ground and got ready for the men’s game at 6.30pm. The boys got plenty of waves from various players as we were seated near the boundary. Trent Rockets were deserved winners and afterwards we hung around as some of the stars walked around to take pictures and sign autographs. Some of the autographs and pictures we managed to get included Joe Root, David Willey and Shaheen Afridi. After a long but exciting day we headed back to the hotel to rest up for our second day.

On the second day we played St Fagan’s Cricket Club in a 30 over game. Merrion batted first scoring 131 which we strongly defended to take the win. Ollie Molins impressed with the bat and the wickets were shared around with everyone getting a bowl. St Fagan’s had prepared a barbeque for us before we took the bus back to the hotel. The squad went out for dinner with all the parents in a local Portuguese restaurant to conclude our second day.

To finish our trip on the third day, we played Cardiff Cricket Club in another 30 over game. Again we batted first, this time only managing 122. Ollie Molins produced another impressive cameo but Toby Houchin held the innings together opening the batting and ticking along nicely. Unfortunately the slightly bigger and stronger Cardiff side managed to chase down the total before the 20th over but it was a strong effort with the ball against some heavy hitters. The highlight of this innings was Sam Bowling’s nonchalant one handed catch at mid-wicket. Cardiff CC provided pizzas and drinks for the boys and their parents before we left for the airport. There was one last activity in store as the parents got involved in the slip catching game the boys were playing in front of the clubhouse. By this point the boys had created a strong bond and became a tight knit group. Everyone really enjoyed the trip and it was a great opportunity for the boys.

Merrion would like to thank manager Greg Molins for all the time and organising that had gone into ensuring such a fun and smooth trip. We would also like to thank St Fagan’s CC and Cardiff CC for their excellent hospitality.

A special mention to the trip scorer, William Cleere who was unfortunately injured and unable to play

Peter Forkin

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