Tatts ready for take-off

Tatts Cricket Club to embark on an eight-day tour of Vanuatu on Saturday

Vanuatu tour: Tatts Cricket Club Vanuatu tour members Bill Wood, Craig Gleeson, Jake Packer, Toby Bentley and Brendon Ward in their tour shirts on Tuesday night.

During the past two seasons of local cricket here in Narrabri, the Tatts Cricket Club has arguably been the benchmark in all forms of the game.

The club’s accolades over the past two years include 2015-16 first grade T20 champions, 2015-16 first grade 45-over champions, 2016-17 first grade T20 champions, 2016-17 second grade T20 champions, and 2016-17 first grade 45-over grand finalists.

So being a Tatts Cricket Club member already seemed rather appealing.

And just when it seemed like it could not get any better, the club has chosen to give a squad of players the opportunity of a lifetime - to travel abroad and test themselves against an international side.

This Saturday 13 players and four spectators will depart Sydney International Airport on a three-hour and 15-minute flight to Vanuatu.

The touring party will arrive in Port Vila late on Saturday night, and about 36 hours later Tatts will take on the Vanuatu national team in a 50-over match on Monday morning.

That match is just one of three the club has planned for the week.

Tatts will play a second 50-over match against the Vanuatu national side on Wednesday, and will then challenge an invitational side in a T20 clash next Friday.

Tatts Cricket Club president and player Brendon Ward was one of the driving forces behind making what initially arose in a conversation with a mate into reality, and he said that he could not wait to arrive.

“The whole concept of the Tatts Cricket Club tour to Vanuatu started when a friend and old housemate of mine from Sydney, who is the vice-captain of the Vanuatu men’s national side, Johnathan Dunn, and I were having a chat after an Australian Country Champs cricket tournament he was at in Australia in mid-2016,” Ward said.

“We were casually discussing how my club from Australia should come to Port Vila and play a few matches against the Vanuatu team - and what a great week of cricket it would be and a big adventure for some of the guys that haven’t been overseas before.

“Jono got me in touch with Pierre Chillia (general manager) and Shane Dietz (head coach) of the Vanuatu Cricket Association, and I’ve been liaising with them for months, getting our games and school visits organised.

“Now we’re only a few days from heading over”.