The St Helena Island cricket team returned home on the RMS on Saturday morning, 12 May 2012.
The ship arrived at 8.30am, half an hour earlier than expected. Travelling in from the ship the team did a homecoming pass, in the launch, across the harbour and the front of the wharf, waving to the family and well wishers who had gathered to greet them.
After much anticipation they finally were ashore, through customs and immigration and emerging to a joyful welcome. All 4 schools had turned out to sing songs and a large crowd of family, friends and members of the public were there to make it an emotional homecoming. There were some tears.
Members of the team told us they were overwhelmed and touched by the lovely reception. Vice captain Gavin George, oldest member of the squad, spoke about being back on St Helena soil. "Ah, brilliant! Nothing like coming home. Nothing at all like coming home, I've been looking forward to this. It's been hard, tough, enjoyable; wouldn't have missed it for the world. But it's always good to come home."
Jamie Essex one of the youngest had similar thoughts. "It was good, the tournament and everything, but, honestly, there's no place like home.
Maria Phillips travelled with her partner Anthony Thomas; she told us what it was like to be there as a supporter. "Ok, to watch a game we travelled on the coach to get there, so early in the morning, but once we got there we were all hyped up, really looking forward to the games. And I have to say, sitting there, representing the island and supporting our team was just wonderful. It was just amazing. I just felt so proud to be partly representing the island and to watch our St Helenians play in the 3rd division, which was absolutely wonderful."
The team have returned from St Helena's first ever participation in an international cricket tournament where they won 4 out of 8 games played.
There will be a full report on the team's homecoming and interviews in next week's Sentinel, out on Thursday 17 May.