UK cricket and tennis tour
Twenty-one students and three staff members left Melbourne for London, on 18 June and returned not only with cases and coffins bursting with extra clothes, souvenirs and memorabilia, but also with minds flooding with memories, stories and an increased sense of culture and experience.
The 2000 UK Cricket and Tennis Tour was the fourth such expedition undertaken by Scotch. Over the three week period, the touring squad became a close knit unit; having played together, lived and travelled together.
This unity and camaraderie was most apparent in the team bus, which travelled with us for the entire three weeks, along with Steve the driver, who quickly became a cult hero. The stereo which inhabited the back seat soon became an essential tool for survival, playing everything from 'The Eagles' to 'The 12th Man'.
Our first hosts, Eton College, perhaps provided somewhat of a culture shock for most members of the touring party.
The enormity and history amazed us, as we watched the Eton students, tail-coats and all, walking the 'streets' of the College. The Scotch students were scattered around the twenty-four boarding houses, one of which contained Princes William and Harry.
The tennis players recorded a comfortable victory, which was to set the tone for the tour. The cricketers meanwhile, started strongly after a predictable rain delay, before eventually being defeated in a tightly fought contest.
After enjoyable stays and scheduled fixtures at Bristol, Old Swinford and Liverpool, the 2000 Tour ventured for the first time into Scotland.
The three night stay in majestic Edinburgh, which incorporated matches in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, was an aspect of the tour greatly appreciated by all. The view of the ancient city from the Edinburgh Castle was strikingly picturesque.
The opportunity to experience life in British boarding schools was both valuable and enjoyable, but the billeted stays with British families were the most memorable.
The widespread hospitality of host families was incredible and the opportunity the Scotch students to mix with, and form friendships with students like themselves, living on the other side of the globe was truly tremendous and ultimately provided cherished memories.
The final two nights in London were an undeniable highlight. St Paul's Cathedral, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square were among the most popular tourist spots. The tennis players visited Wimbledon, and the cricketers went on a tour of Lord's; the spiritual home of cricket. The tennis players performed very successfully throughout, demonstrating their superiority over all the English schools they encountered.
The cricket team took a while to brush off the cobwebs, but improved with every run. By the end of the tour the side was performing well both as a team, and individually.
The outstanding success of the tour was in no small part reliant on the dedication and generosity of many people.
We recognise all those involved in fund-raising and planning, but in particular owe a debt of gratitude to Mr John Prior,
Mr Gary Peckham and Ms Donna DelPorto, whose commitment and energy throughout the whole process was unflagging.
Andrew Brookes Yr 11