Loud on South Africa cricket tour

PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 February 2010 | UPDATED: 00:53 16 June 2010

HONITON COMMUNITY college pupil Sam Loud will shortly be exchanging the damp, cold West Country winter for warmer climes when he joins the Devon Cricket Board U15 Development Tour to South Africa, writes Ian Townsend.

HONITON COMMUNITY college pupil Sam Loud will shortly be exchanging the damp, cold West Country winter for warmer climes when he joins the Devon Cricket Board U15 Development Tour to South Africa, writes Ian Townsend.

The highly promising 14-year-old leg spinner, who has represented the county at U12, U13 and U14 levels since making his debut in 2007, will embark upon the trip of a lifetime, joining a 14 man tour party which will play six matches around Johannesburg and Cape Town during the second half of February.

The tour promises to be a fantastic experience for the youngsters lucky enough to be involved, combining, as it does, highly competitive cricket with the chance to take in spectacular sights.

Sam, whose parents Steve and Dawn farm at Farway, near Honiton, began his cricketing career at his Dad's club, Yarcombe & Stockland, but, as Steve explained, mindful of the flourishing youth set-up at Ottery CC, the youngster joined the Salston Field side in 2005: "It was very fortunate that OSM CC, with its excellent facilities and reputation for youth development, was just down the road. It's proved to be a truly welcoming club where Sam's potential has really been recognised. It's a feather in the cap of the Ottery coaches that not only Sam, but a number of the club's other young players have recently achieved county representation."

The young 'leggie' certainly made an impact at Ottery CC and has claimed numerous wickets, not just in youth cricket, but also in the men's game. Last season saw him become a regular in the club's 2nd XI.

The downside of the African adventure has been the need to raise around £2000 to cover the cost of flights and accommodation, but the generosity of various local organisations soon helped solve the problem.

As mum Dawn explained: "We were overwhelmed by the support of so many local businesses - together with Ottery CC who held a hugely enjoyable quiz night back in the autumn to raise funds. And Sam's school, Honiton Community College, even held a non-uniform day to bolster the campaign."

Sam can't wait for February 11. He said: "The opportunity of going to South Africa will be a tremendously valuable experience for me and the team. Being able to play against different players in another country, on different grounds in heat, means that we'll all come back feeling mentally and physically stronger. I think it'll contribute to our game in many ways. I can only thank everyone who has raised money for me.

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