World Cup Cricket 2019 – wow exciting, thrilling, twists and turns in the results. Some surprises, some dreams dashed, and some remaining hopefuls. Sunday 30th June saw the England cricket team beat off India, and as part of an English-Sri Lankan household, we were glad to see one of our home teams still in the tournament. The Sri Lankan cricket team beat England two weeks ago, which was a bit of a surprise by all accounts, but a lovely boon for Sri Lanka as the island has seen a few tough months – that was a very good day.
I will never forget beating Dougie Brown and Ashley Giles in a game of pool while staying at a hotel in Kandalama. Sri Lankans LOVE cricket. It is everywhere – on every street corner, every patch of grass, carparks, beaches…Muttah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jeyawardene are just a few of the globally known Sri Lankan cricketing legends who played against the England greats. In the late 90’s I was travelling around Sri Lanka and kept landing in the same hotels as the England A’s doing a friendly tour of Sri Lanka at the time. I was a bit of a pool player in those days (mis-spent youth?) and Nick Knight, Mike Gatt and Graham Gooch all looked on while I had a moment of playing my best, the pool Gods looking on, and I sunk the black ball in our deciding game. I must admit, my heart was beating so loudly in my chest, my temperature was rising and I had to excuse myself and go and high five myself in the loos because my grin could not have been bigger (and probably un-intentionally smug). They were all very gentlemanly and good natured about it, I was star struck at the time.
These photos were taken more recently in 2019 when we got stuck in traffic while on a girl’s week away. The roads ground to a halt as an Inter Schools Cricket tournament paraded through the streets with horns honking, kids jumping up and down on their convoy of buses, cars and tuk tuks, impossible not to get caught up in the energy.
I admire the genteelness, the sportsmanship (most of the time), the cream teas, cricket whites and unity that cricket brings. Even in highly competitive situations, the pundits, teams and supporters alike are respectful of each other. The names of all the big players are whispered on the lips of all my friends who are true cricket fans and we have joined Galle Cricket Club so that we can cheer on the local and International games.
But I wanted a proper fan to contribute to our blog page, so I asked a guest of Kalukanda House who came to Sri Lanka to watch England tour the island in 2018 to write about his experience watching England play in Sri Lanka..
Jeremy Ensor is Managing Director of Wild Republic Retail. A seasoned traveller, he regularly flies around the world for his international business. He was part of a Cricket guest party in November 2018, when England were touring Sri Lanka. Galle Cricket ground is world famous and any cricket fan worth their salt would have been tuning in to the matches that week. Here Jeremy writes about staying at the villa with a group of old friends, and what it was like to be in the area when it was awash with excitable cricket fans and huge numbers of the Barmy Army.
” SRI LANKA NOV. 2018
As a cricket enthusiast and someone who enjoys travel – what a perfect combination of a week in Sri Lanka to watch the test match to be held in Galle Stadium, reputedly the most beautiful ground in the world (after Lord’s of course !), a laugh with 5 mates and not enough time for relaxation in the most wonderful colonial palace- Kalukanda House
After an eventful flight surrounded by drunken Barmy Army cricket fans we were collected from the airport and driven through the most torrential downpour – we were assured the sun was shining in Galle ! On arrival at the villa we were welcomed with a gorgeously refreshing fresh coconut juice beautifully presented by the villa manager. Following the first of many beers the compulsory team swimming races, repeated because one ‘bad loser’ athletic guy was determined he could beat the fat bloke – and didn’t even at the second attempt
A relaxed 15 minute stroll up to the clifftop views of Cape Weligama Bar with lovely cold beers, greeted by all the friendly neighbours along the way. All the meals freshly cooked in the house were first class, all featuring fresh fish and many local spices. The staff were always on hand to help – nothing was too much trouble for either of them.
Each morning after omelettes, they organised tuk tuks for us to get to the Galle cricket ground. Note you can get 3 big lads in the back of a tuktuk for a 5 minute drive to the bar, but not for a 30 minute drive into Galle, when you need to concentrate on shutting your eyes every time they attempt an overtaking manoeuvre on every blind bend. (an experience and certainly gets the heart going early in the morning !)
The cricket was a fantastic experience with thousands of Barmy Army fans lining the fortress walls overlooking the ground, but nice and close to the old town to explore at lunchtimes and try out the amazing restaurants that were all amazing value at the Dutch Hospital, overlooking the ocean.
While in this part of the world, you always feel that you should haggle over prices, but as we kept reminding each other you were often haggling for 5 minutes over a 50p saving !
The best beach resort by far was W15, where we spent our only two spare afternoons relaxing eating, drinking, surfing and playing beach rugby. Very low shallow water ideal for beginner surfers (our two beginners seemed to work it out quickly), while the rest of us caused carnage on the beach with a rugby ball and beer – what a great way to spend an afternoon and a perfect setting for families with miles of sand and over 20 different surf schools.
All in all a beautiful place to stay with fantastic customer service from all the Kalukanda House team. Thank-you all and I am sure we will all be back over the coming years !! “
Find out how you can experience Sri Lankan Cricket – we can organise local games for you, or don’t be afraid to ask yourself when you are mooching around and walking past, Sri Lankans would love to let you join in with them.
Good Luck England!!