National pride is on the line
By GREG WHITE
THE Aussies have retrieved the Ashes but it doesn't mean the Poms aren't still passionate about their cricket.
Brelsford Park may be a long way from the WACA but an English under-19 team will be here tomorrow grappling with the 'colonials' from Diggers Ex-Services in an attempt to salvage some national pride.
Windsor Boys School have timed a six-match tour of New Zealand and Australia to coincide with the Ashes tussle and like their senior counterparts, things haven't always been going as they'd like.
"Can you believe we come half way round the world and have a match abandoned due to rain?" tour manager Richard Endicott wrote on the team website from Auckland, after the fixture against Westlake School was washed out.
"The boys were confident and had a point to prove following the news from Perth the Ashes were heading Down Under."
Diggers club captain Stephen Meakins said the teams would play for the Fitzroy Cup with the game played under the international one-day format of 50 overs per side.
"I played with the Windsor club during a spell in England so I know a fair bit about their history," Meakins said.
"Richard (Endicott) fired off an e-mail to say the trip was happening and asked us to organise a game during their trip.
"It suited their schedule perfectly between a game in Brisbane and attending the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne."
While mystery surrounds the composition of the English team the school has built a formidable reputation in recent years with more than a 100 players taking part in international tour matches.
The school has visited Barbados in the West Indies and hosted touring parties from Australia and Canada.
"The visitors are an unknown quantity but I believe our young blokes will provide strong opposition," Meakins said.
"Several of the boys are well established in the first grade team (currently leading the District competition) and for the young blokes still coming through the junior grades it will give them a chance to polish their game."
Meakins will assist team coach Mark Bellamy with preparing the squad.
The game begins at Brelsford Park at 10am tomorrow and is open to the public.
Diggers Under-19 squad
James Bellamy (captain), Ben Williams, Joe Mennie, Heath Edwards, Tommy Bishop, Chad Hastings, Joe Willman, Brendan Murphy, Gareth Edwards, Reece Edwards, Scott Street, Sam Turner. Coach: Mark Bellamy. Manager: Steve Meakins.