by Adam

And so we came to the final day’s coaching in Francistown, spending the morning working with 20+ student teachers and helping them through their ICC Intro assessments. Umpiring expert Ben got the morning off to a steady start, making sure the teachers were suitably armed with the necessary info to be able to officiate and then the teachers were put through their paces, delivering sessions on the batting, bowling and fielding skills and games they had been shown yesterday.

Mickey Mouse [aka Project Leader Mick Armstrong, a PE teacher himself] then MC’d a Quick Quiz to distribute remaining t-shirts, coaching cards, mini-bats and other paraphernalia. The sight of one of the prize-winners almost being reduced to tears upon receiving his Urban Cricket Set sent several CWB Team members scrabbling for the tissues themselves, before Mick and the team presented local BCA Cricket Development Officer Clement Chipanga with a kit bag full of equipment for use in the numerous schools that he visits, for which he was grateful to Mick and the rest of the guys for presenting him with; further, close investigation of the big orange bag by Clem saw an even bigger smile appear on his face as the CWB Team had clubbed together themselves to buy him a printer for his home computer to save him the time, travel and cost of going into Francistown every time he needed to get letters, etc printed for distribution to the schools. We’ve visions of Clem spending hours at home now in front of his computer printing out reams and reams of letters, articles, etc.

We’ve really enjoyed meeting and working with Clem, his two sons and his wife Sabina joining us for our final evening braai [barbeque] – we wish him and his family well, and hope he gets the support he needs to keep the game growing in the north of Botswana.

Whilst I’m typing up today’s blog Mick’s completing his stats paperwork, minus the MM ears thank goodness, and the number of coaches we’ve put through ICC Intro or Level 1 exceeds 120, which is great news for Botswanan cricket, and should help to provide support for all the primary and secondary schools in and around Gaborone and Francistown.

Without the help, support and willingness to pitch in of all the CWB vollies this would have been an almost impossible task, all of whom deserve a mention at this point, so here goes………

  • Country Manager Clare, early riser but keep the noise down please, and who’s confidence to deliver coaching sessions has come on in leaps and bounds, despite the dodgy knee – more power to your elbow Clare
  • Project Leader Mick Armstrong, who “came across with the goods” for Miss Lollipop today ahead of Jono by giving her a yellow CWB t-shirt, and who has now taken over the mantle as Chief Sneezer
  • Welfare Officer Rachel, even less than 3 words before midday today, and who reminds everyone religiously to take their malaria tablets [usually 10 minutes after they’ve taken them]
  • Umpire Ben, happy to talk to anyone, anytime [day or night] especially if they are the owner of a few bottles of alcohol [not fussed what]
  • Techers Jono, ditto!! Be it stills camera, video camera, laptop, etc Jono was first rate entertainment value and as enthusiastic as you could want/need on such a trip –has also taken over as Chief Burper [only just though] – anyone for a St Louis?
  • Questionnaire Smurf Jenn, everyone’s “friend” now we know she can help us with Lords tickets and a stalwart with the questionnaires – more power to your biro Jenn
  • Richard, generally the ‘quiet man’ of the group probably as he couldn’t get a word in most of the time, but who’s come out with a few subtle gems and certainly knows his music – thanks for all your help Rich
  • Sam, considerably the worse for wear today, due to a disagreement with a bottle of red wine which forced her to rapidly consume it, only to equally rapidly share it again with the big white telephone in her accommodation – thankfully Clare still had her earplugs in at the time. Sam’s non-cricketing background has been a good ‘foil’ for all us cricketers who sometimes forget that there are other sports coaches out there, and she’s kept us on our toes in terms of terminology, etc – she can play a mean FFD now, but take care with the One Handed Pick-up Sam?!

Heading for Gaborone early tomorrow morning should probably mean not too late a night, but heigh ho these things happen only so often, so pass another St.Louis please Jono and have one yourself!! This group of people who, barely a fortnight ago, didn’t know me from Adam [get it?] have bonded together brilliantly on and off the dusty playing fields of Botswana and, in terms of their coaching delivery skills, have not only got the cricketing skills but the HIV/AIDs awareness ‘messages’ across to teachers and pupils alike, whilst at the same time they themselves have developed to the point where, I hope, they’ll consider stepping up the coach ed ladder in the not too distant future – but remember guys it’s cricket ..……nothing more ………….nothing less!!! Thanks again Clem

P.S. a quick mention and a big, big thank you to my wife Carole Linda because, had she not seen the ‘round robin’ e-mail from the ECBCA earlier in the year and given me all the support [and help with fund raising and packing!] I would not have taken on such a trip, met such a great bunch of lunatics, seen Botswana and its people, 4 of the Big 5 in real life and missed her as much !!! Ooops contact lenses leaking at this point, signing off?!?!