Sebastian Dijkstra, a pupil in Form IV, is spending his Transition Year at Glenwood High School in Durban with the aim of improving his cricket and expanding his horizons. He sends a report from South Africa on how his year has been going so far.
The journey began on the 8th of January in Terminal 2, Dublin Airport. After arriving at the terminal, I first met Senan Reid from Clontarf CC who was going to Muir College in the Eastern Cape. Then at 10 pm, we boarded the plane off to Dubai. We were lucky enough to be travelling with the Irish men’s cricket team on their way to Harare to play against Zimbabwe. A couple of the players went to South Africa during their TY year and it was nice to get some feedback from their experience.
Eventually, after 20 hours of travelling, we landed in Durban. Two days after we arrived, we met the head of cricket at Glenwood, Mr Bux, and Mr Duncan, the head of Gibson House. Mr Duncan gave us a tour of the school and where I would be staying. The next day was the annual pre-term High-Performance Camp. It was an immense change training in 30-degree heat after just coming out of winter. HP camp started with a team meeting inside along with a presentation and what we would focus on throughout the day. Then outside, we took part in specific fielding drills, along with target bowling and batting drills. After four days of intense training, school had begun.
On the first day of school, I had a session with Ben, the first team Biokineticist, as I was recovering from a broken arm. Later on in the day, I had my first u16A training session. The first few training sessions consisted of technique and fitness. Unfortunately for the first week, I was only allowed to do recovery in the gym along with lighter cricket training as my arm was still weak. Ben was a significant help as he set me up with a full rehabilitation plan. Towards the end of the second week, I had my first full, intense training session. Not long after, I played my first match against Kearsney. We bowled first restricting Kearsney to under 250. We then fell a few runs short after accurate bowling from Kearsney.
The following week saw the launch of the academy. This involved training sessions from 7 to 8:15 am every Tuesday and Thursday. Along with that, Mr Bux organised the U16A’s to use the nets from 6 am each day where we could focus on our technique. It also allowed us to hit 300 extra balls each week which grew our confidence leading up to Saturday. Throughout the week, we completed target bowling, flat catching along with boundary work, as well as a net session on the square. This expanded my knowledge of the Durban pitches which helped me to adjust my game. On Friday, our rest day, Mr Bux organised all the ‘A’ squads to go to the new SA 20 competition at Kingsmead stadium. We watched the Durban ‘Super Giants’ play against the ‘Sunrisers’ Eastern Cape. This was a great opportunity to watch first-class cricket at the top level especially before our game the next day. On Saturday we played Clifton at Delta Cricket Club, a premiere league ground. After a full effort from the team, Clifton, unfortunately, came away with the win. However, with a 100-ball game on Thursday and a 50 over game against Maritzburg College, we have a chance to redeem ourselves.
I would like to thank Cricket Leinster and Glenwood High School for making this trip possible and I am looking forward to the weeks ahead.
Sebastian Dijkstra, St Columba’s College & Merrion CC