Two months into my 3rd Year at Southampton, came the first event to be held away from home. Thanks to the Sri Lankan Society of the University of Warwick, the annual 6-a-side cricket tournament was held at Warwick for the 5th consecutive time.
The tournament is open to Sri Lankan Societies from all over the United Kingdom and is a fantastic place to meet new friends and also re-kindle old friendships from college and high-school.
I was privileged enough to represent the University of Southampton at the tournament and it was an unforgettable experience for the whole team. Furthermore, out of the blue we managed to defeat the favourites for this year’s tournament (University of Derby) taking their championship run away from them. Unfortunately, we couldn’t secure a semi-final spot in the competition after a nail biting game of cricket between ourselves and Imperial College London.
In the end however, the University of Birmingham ended up lifting the trophy for the year 2017 and a big shout out for them for retaining the championship for two consecutive years. They will be looking to make it a hat-trick next year but Team Southampton will make sure that it won’t be that easy.
Going into the tournament, I was expecting a low-key, not very serious atmosphere but I was wrong! It was almost as if the teams were at an ICC event and the competition among the players were very much in the cards.
From the cheering of spectators, to music to the game of cricket itself, we felt like we were playing at Lord’s in London. Well obviously the indoor hall we played in was not even half the size of Lord’s, but the atmosphere was electrifying.
Few hours into the tournament, I questioned myself whether I was really in England after seeing so many familiar faces around. However there was no hard and fast rule that the event was “strictly for Sri Lankans” and hence saw many locals and foreigners having a glimpse of not only a game of cricket, but also an insight into what Sri Lankans are most passionate about. Furthermore the event was not entirely centered around cricket but additionally gave the viewers a rather general look into the Sri Lankan culture it self, in terms of food, music and dance.
Rivalries, competitiveness, adrenaline and everything else that happened in the middle was there as it is, forgotten ! Once the tournament was over, it was all fun and games where everyone had an absolute “ball” when the prize giving followed by dinner and social came along.
Most of us who came to Warwick, had some element of home sickness away from family and our usual lifestyle for over a month. But for one night it felt like we were teleported back home to the familiar sights of a family gathering. It was a pleasant surprise to meet a large number of my friends from school and more importantly increase my circle of friends by meeting new people.
4th of November was definitely a day to remember and my fellow Sri Lankans and I are waiting eagerly till next year, not only to meet and have yet another memorable night out but hopefully bring the trophy to Southampton.