Hillington pair climb a cricket mountain

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Setting a new Guinness World Record, a father and son from Hillington achieved their goal of joining fundraisers to play the highest-ever cricket match on top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Jonathan Worsley, 53, and Hugo Worsley, 21, climbed to the top of Kilimanjaro with a 30-strong group of celebrities and fundraisers before playing at 5,752m, in the crater of the volcano.

Completing the Mt Kili Madness challenge on September 26, the group broke the previous world record for the highest-ever cricket match by over 600m, which was set at base camp on Mount Everest back in 2009.

Jonathan said: “This was the hardest things I have ever done. With oxygen levels incredibly thin at such high altitudes it is difficult to walk let alone play a game of cricket!

“All 30 of us endured the trek to the highest peak in Africa and whilst most climbers to Uruhu Peak then quickly descend, we descended into the magnificent crater to play a game of cricket.”

The two teams had originally planned to play a T20 match on Africa’s highest mountain, before the imminent threat of inclement weather forced umpires to cut the game short to ten-overs for each side.

Jonathan said: “It was a long day as we started our final climb that day at 2am, reached the peak at 8am and then left the crater at noon following the match. The cheese toasties made for us by the porters during the match were the best sandwiches ever!

“We then had to climb out of the crater and the long trek back down the mountain to our camp arriving just before sunset where we were finally able to catch our breath!”

The match proved quite a draw for celebrities including former England cricket captain Clare Connor, who lead England to a first Ashes win in 42 years, while the youngest player among the group was 13-year-old Kye Martinovic.

Hugo said: “It was exciting to play with cricket legends Ashley Giles, Clare Connor and Makhaya Ntini and if you are going to get bowled out on top of the world who better than Ashley Giles to get you out for a golden duck!

“We all become fast friends and there was plenty of banter and camaraderie as we supported each other breaking the world record and in the process on target to raise over £200,000 for three charities, Cancer Research UK, TUSK and the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation.”

Due to the extreme elevation, balls travel further than they usually would so the organisers carried 24 spare ball in their packs, along with helmets, pads and bats, to ensure the game was not cut short by a shortage of supplies.

As for the match itself, Heather Knight’s Gorillas team scored 82/5, beating Ashley Giles and his Rhinos team by 18 runs. To keep with cricketing tradition, all players wore their full whites, but were sure to add several layers underneath to make sure they kept warm.

Mt Kili Madness founder David Harper said: “The oxygen is incredibly thin when you reach such high altitudes, and players were panting harder than in any cricket match I’ve ever seen. This will go down in sporting history.”

To find out more about the challenge, or to sponsor Hugo and Jonathan, go to www.mtkilimadness.com