About “The Willows”
* Based in Canterbury
* Objectives are to encourage players in secondary school first elevens to play with and against experienced players, many of who are present or past first-class cricketers.
* To offer quality cricket to cricket lovers in a country atmosphere, where families may come to watch and picnic.
Waimate cricket player Glen Drake is about to receive a baptism of fire, but faces his own fitness test first.
The 17-year-old has been selected for the Willows Cricket Club team of emerging secondary school players which will go on tour of Sri Lanka.
Drake was surprised to get a call from coach Paul McEwan telling him he was selected for the tour which begins in April, as he battles fitness after a long injury lay-off.
Drake was part of a Canterbury Academy squad during the winter as an emerging player, and has played age-group cricket for Canterbury this season.
Drake’s season has been interrupted by a “small tear” in his left shoulder. This injury has kept him out of the Waimate senior team for the past six weeks.
The handy top-order batsman and off-spin bowler will make his return to senior cricket today, after playing a game for Waimate High School first XI last week.
“I’ve got a bit of work to do, but it will be good to see where I’m at (physically).”
Drake said training for the hot, humid conditions of Sri Lanka and the tough opposition were the most daunting aspects to think about before the trip.
“The training will be pretty important because it’s going to be pretty hot over there.”
He said the matches would likely consist of Sri Lankan First XI High School teams and regional age-group sides.
“I’ve been told the quality of players, especially the spinners, is quite good so maybe I’ll struggle with my spin bowling, but I’m hoping my batting will go alright.”
He said adjusting to the low bouncing wickets, and dry nature of the outfields would be a mission in itself.
Drake said the senior match today would be a good indicator on how he is feeling and he hoped his shoulder would not give him problems and keep him away from the bowling crease.
The tour will begin on April 3rd and lasts three weeks.