Reeve's chance to see HK players in action
HONG Kong coach Dermot Reeve gets a close look at how the territory's ICC Trophy squad will perform under competitive conditions today.
The Tetley World XI versus Suzika Asia XI encounter will see 15 of the 16-man Kenya bound squad in action at the Kowloon Cricket Club.
The 50 overs match will give former England player and Warwickshire captain Reeve, his first chance to assess how his charges are prepared, mentally and physically, on the eve of their departure.
It has been a long haul for Reeve since he started coaching the local squad in December. His main problem has been getting the entire squad together for three days a week - mainly due to the work commitments of the players.
''It has been difficult coaching as people have had problems getting off work. This is Hong Kong after all,'' said Reeve, born-and-bred here and having made good in the old country.
Reeve's other problem has been a paucity of good opposition for his team. Today that will be remedied when the World XI, consisting entirely of players going to Nairobi, meet the Asia XI, who will have three players from the squad.
And since this is the first time that a match of this nature is being played - where East meets West - Reeve, is certain to get the ideal 'real' conditions.
''It is a very important game, especially as we have just a week to go before we play our first match against Denmark,'' said Reeve, who is one of the three selectors along with captain Pat Fordham and vice-captain Steve Atkinson.
The Asia XI, led by squad member Yarman Vachha, will certainly be a handful for Fordham and company. Talent is plentiful amongst the Asian side, but as Vachha said yesterday: ''We are a scratch side, who will be getting together for the first time tomorrow''.
Vachha need not worry, however, as there will certainly be a determination amongst his team to prove a point to the Hong Kong squad - that some of the better players will be back at home due to eligibility rules.
Last time Hong Kong went for the ICC Trophy in Holland, in 1990, they lost all their warm-up games prior to departure.
Fordham, and players like Stewart Brew, Mark Eames and Atkinson will know how the Asians feel today. Last time they were not eligible to represent Hong Kong in the ICC Trophy.
In the Saturday League, meanwhile, Merchants strengthened their grip on the runners-up position in the standings without having to bat or bowl yesterday.
Merchants received a walkover from St. Georges, who were unable to raise a team, and then received a further boost when closest rivals Tartars tumbled to a shock seven wicket loss at the hands of DBS.
Tartars, batting first were restricted to 132 for seven in 35 overs. DBS hit the required runs in 30 overs thanks to an unbeaten 59 from Bob Lin.