Ben Green coaching on tour in South Africa, 2022.

Ahead of the 2023 tour, Somerset CCC's Ben Green writes for this year's brochure, reflecting on last year's visit.

Touring as a coach was a very different experience from touring as a player in 2012. My perspective had changed from that of the player I was ten years ago, and it was my first experience of coaching in a competitive situation. I must admit that it was a personal challenge to manage frustration when adjusting my expectations from those of a professional cricketer to those of an Under 15 cricketer. That was a great lesson.

As a 15-year-old lad, I had not appreciated the monumental effort that is required by so many people to make the tour a success. Now well-established, the Devon Under 15s tours have retained a similar structure over 20 years, a testament to the foresight of Alan Swift (who led the early tours).

The squad was an absolute pleasure to coach and look after and I thoroughly enjoyed many constructive conversations with the players.  It was great to see how much they wanted to learn and improve. Overall, there is clearly a huge amount of talent in the group.  I look forward to seeing them develop and helping wherever I can.

This year’s squad experienced many of the venues, activities and opposition that I remember from my time as a young player. We spent about a fortnight in South Africa and, apart from cricket, we had many outstanding experiences - in the Kruger National Park (for instance, behind the scenes in Skukuza), and later in Cape Town.

In the Kruger, we went on game drives, enjoyed Braais [barbeques], and saw wild animals at a safe distance. In Cape Town, there was Table Mountain and many other sightseeing and cultural experiences, along with glorious beaches and lots and lots of food. Oh, yes, and highly competitive cricket too!

What an experience it was for us all! I was ‘buzzing’ much of the time, especially as the team won most of their matches. Success on the field certainly contributed to the success of the tour. My sincere thanks to the Cooke and Theedom families, to Jon Sparkes and Paul Geard for their company, and to you all for giving me this fantastic opportunity. I will always have fond memories of the 2022 South Africa Under 15s tour.

This year's tour begins on Sunday 12th February, with the team setting off on Thursday 9th, and finishes on Sunday 26th.

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