On Thursday 13 February, 26 boys excitedly boarded their plane for South Africa and flew away for a sun-kissed cricket tour.
In the eight action-packed days that followed, the teams experienced some unforgettable cricket in stunning locations, making new friends and memories to last a lifetime along the way.
After an overnight flight to Cape Town, the boys were ready to stretch their legs and start to warm up for the cricket matches that lay ahead, and a superb training session at the Western Province Cricket Club was just the ticket.
The following day the boys started the tour in style with two wins for two at Kirstenhof Primary School, whose cricket ground nestles between the Silvermine mountains to the south, the Constantiaberg to the west, and Table Mountain to the north.
For their second fixture, the boys headed to Sunningdale Cricket Club for four T20 matches, of which the boys won three, before heading to Paarl to meet their host families for the next two days. Fixture three against Paarl Boys Primary School presented the boys with two tough games, and while they did not win either game, both proved great learning experiences.
It was then on to Durbanville for their fourth fixture, two T20 matches at Curro Durbanville Primary, before meeting their second set of host families. Like the first set, the families were amiable and welcoming and made the boys feel right at home. Through their stays with the families, the boys gained a real taste of South African culture, as well as making a wealth of new friends.
The last fixture of the tour, on the penultimate day, at Sweet Valley Primary saw the boys finish the trip as they started with two wins from two.
In between fixtures, the boys also found time to get up close with crocodiles as well as ostriches and monkeys, check out rhinos, cheetahs and lions on a thrilling game drive, hit the beach and the pool, sightsee at Table Mountain (sadly the bottom rather than the top despite three attempts) and, of course, watch Cape Cobras play cricket at Newlands.
It was a tired but happy group of boys who returned to Bedford full of enthusiasm for the cricket season ahead (after a nap!).