Toronto Cricket Academy - another succesful tour in prospect

4 December 2004

The news that Team Canada will be traveling to England in June 2005 is coincident with the announcement that the Toronto Cricket Academy will also be touring in England at about the same time and will be located in the same county.

Last summer (2004) the Toronto Cricket Academy toured in Trinidad for two weeks accompanied by a film maker who is still working on producing a documentary film on Canadian cricket. The project of developing the film is being funded by the National Film Board of Canada, and has already been sold to the CBC.

From all accounts, by parents and cricketers, it would appear that the Academy had a great trip with experiences on and off the field. The reports of the Trinidad trip, received by canadacricket.dom, have included a CD of over three hundred photographs. The images definitely show a happy bunch of cricketers, but did not provide any stories.

Fortunately we have found in our files a report of the Toronto Cricket Academy's trip to England in 2002.

"It is with great pleasure and honour as Chairman of the Bradley's East Devon Youth Cricket League, that I may be able to write on behalf of our league and clubs to the Toronto Cricket Academy at the end of there tour of East Devon.

The tour was an eye opening to all our boys and clubs, on what can only described a great success both on and off the field of play. The whole touring party from the president Mr Brian Hale to the parents and supporters were not only a pleasure to be associated with, but their country must be very proud of them all in the way they carried the flag of Canada across the seas to East Devon, England.

On a personal note I would like to say a very big thank you for the many hours I spent with you all. The days I spent in your company opened up my heart and taught me one very big thing is that the hand of friendship will always be open when the Toronto Cricket Academy is still going. I have purposely left the boys of the academy to last, as I would like to wish everyone of you all the very best in your lives in both cricket and academically. As members of the Toronto Cricket Academy and under the leadership of such a great man as Mr Brian Hale I am sure you will all succeed in what ever you aim for in life.

In closing I would like offer the hand of the Bradley's East Devon Youth Cricket League to any young player who is part of the Toronto Cricket Academy. If any of the boys were in a position to want to spend a season in our country they would certainly be welcomed by many of our clubs. We as a league have been very honoured by your presence in our country, and hope that one day very soon you will be in a position to visit our county again, and we would like to be in a position to host your academy again.

In the great words of the man himself 'My friends it was a pleasure and an honour' to be associated with such great people, and I look forward to meeting you all again soon.".

Adrian Codling, Chairman Bradley's East Devon Youth Cricket League

The team from the Toronto Cricket Academy returned from the tour of Devon, England, having earned a fine reputation on and off the field. On the field the TCA played 8 matches and won seven of them, and gained the respect of the opposition. Off the field the touring party made a lot of friends and earned the admiration of their hosts and opponents.

The self discipline of the cricketers off the field was demonstrated during their stay at Exeter University, when they were housed away from their manager and coach. They showed up for breakfast right on time, which is more than can be said for the majority of more "mature" tourists. This level of discipline was exhibited on the field, where it became obvious that these cricketers knew what their job was, and went about it in a most dedicated manner.

From the onset the batsmen showed that they were in good form especially, Devin Persaud who scored a total of 375 runs, at an average of 125 on the Tour. The bowling was at an exceptionally high level with the openers (Hale/Persaud) doing early damage enough to give the change bowlers (Sheikh, Patel & Sriskandarajah) an equal or better chance in getting the opposition out, which they did.

This team stayed together, played together, and got the job done as never before seen in England, with performances which now rates as a new record in Devon cricket for any touring team..

Brian Hale was naturally very happy with his cricketers, saying that "The Academy arrived in England with some expectations. What they got far exceeded those expectations."

Brian related two incidents, one on the field and one off the field. A very quick English youngster gave away a six off the shoulder of the bat straight over the head of the keeper. The new ball was lost and replaced with a much used practice ball. The bowler still managed to bowl at a pace to challenge the young Canadian cricketers. There again their discipline held.

The second Œtest' was off the field, with a visit to Lord's including a walk through the Long Room and the museum. These young Canadians did us all proud. They will also have learned that Lord's is not a level playing field.

Recently two of the graduates represented Canada and also did us proud, on and off the cricket field. By all accounts the current students of the TCA also did Canada proud in Trinidad, in front of the camera, and on and off the field in Trinidad and on the home turf.

Brian Hale does yeoman service for cricket in Canada, as a certified coach and as a tour manager. It would be great if the Toronto Cricket Academy could hook up with the national team when they are both touring, especially if the two graduates of the Academy are part of the national team.

It is a pleasure to fret about writing a good news Canadian cricket story. It is such a good story that I am wondering if it will actually be believed, given that it is coming from my acerbic keyboard. (Jon Harris).