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USA’s X-Men Enjoying A Picturesque Queenstown

By Lloyd Jodah

Jan. 14th, 2010
"Queenstown might quite possibly be the most beautiful place I have ever seen, the hotel is located on the hill and has a wonderful view of the lake and the mountains," said Henry Wardley and many of the USA Under 19 World Cup Team and entourage agreed. Ryan Corns gushed, "Dude Queenstown is absolutely amazing!"

Above, Team USA running hills, captain Shiva Vashishat's (below) room with a view. (Photos courtesy of USACA)

The USA Under 19 are in Queenstown, at the southern end of South Island New Zealand, to play against Australia on Saturday. Nestled in beautiful mountains called the Southern Alps, on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is now a resort town for young New Zealanders and International tourists. The area was shaped by the glaciers of the Ice Age, which left the Lake and some of the steepest, sharpest inclined mountains in the world.

Queenstown began as a gold-mining town in the 1860's and despite being a small town of about 10,000 people (2006 census) it is now one of New Zealand's wine and cuisine centres boasting over 300 restaurants.Pinoit Noir from the area gets premium prices around the world. Queenstown is known for adventure tourism such as Skydiving, bungy jumping, jetboating, canyon swinging, whitewater rafting, parapenting, heli-skiing, skiing as well as flyfishing. Being at 45 degree latitude the sun rises at 5 am and sets at 10 pm is the summer !

The Queenstown Cricket Club is one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world and has four turf wickets, two artificial wickets and both indoor and outdoor practice facilities. One Day International Cricket Matches, NZ Domestic One Day and Four Day Matches are played here so it is a venue for some serious cricket The USA Team have spent the time running hills and practicing for their challenge ahead, playing against Teams who have spent the past year getting crucial match and touring experience.As one player put it he's "in heaven, yet it feels like being in the army."

The first game of the 2010 World Cup for the USA Under 19 guys is against the Australian Under 19 Team is led by Mitchell Marsh, son of former Australian cricket star Geoff Marsh and brother of Shaun Marsh. Alistair McDermott, son of Test player Craig McDermott and fast bowler Kane Richardson are 3 of the players with First Class playing experience. Greg Chappell, Chairman of the youth selection panel told Cricinfo ""The fact that the tournament is being played in New Zealand probably helps us a little bit in terms of providing similar wickets to that of Australia and the strong subcontinent teams may be slightly disadvantaged by that." Australia is a 2 time World Cup winner, like India and Pakistan.

Like the NY Giants in 2008 the USA Team are underdogs, but like the 2008 Giants' final regular season game against the NE Patriots the USA Team has gained confidence from its performance against Papua New Guinea last Tuesday .Fifties from Steven Taylor, Andy Mohammed (TCI) and Henry Wardley (McGill) plus a quick 35 by Greg Sewdial (Hofstra) and Ryan Corns' 60* in the previous game, showed what the batting is capable of. As Henry Wardley said, "Things have gone really well here despite some early setbacks,.... the improvements the team has made throughout the past 10 days since our arrival. The New Zealand coaches worked wonders for us and have really helped our games and I am hoping that we can show everyone just how much we have improved as players. "

The Queenstown area has such majestic natural beauty it has been used to film George Lucas' 1988 fantasy movie Willow, 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. To some, Team USA might be here pursuing a fantasy of winning the Under 19 World Cup but to these young men they believe they can make it a reality. One thing is sure, winning this game against Australia would put Team USA one step closer to returning home as Super Heros.

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