Another day and another early start. 15 minutes after Dave’s 5 minute warning we hopped on the minibus straight to the same sports arena we were at yesterday to continue our coach education. It wasn’t quite as hot in the morning as we’ve come to expect but it didn’t stop 4 of the 8 invincibles falling asleep at the lunch break, and the other 4 surely caught some shuteye later on the bus as we had probably the longest day of our tour so far, leaving at 6.30am and arriving home at 9pm.
When we got to Sowa the teachers were pretty much ready to go so Ian played a fun warm up called ‘the catching square’ before David did the pull shot, Graham showed them ‘continuous cricket’ and Bronwen taught them the fielding positions (which also gave some of the CWBers another innings with the bat – Ian Green getting bowled through the gate was highlight of the morning!). The aim of these sessions was to add onto yesterdays sessions whilst pushing the teachers to repeat the key coaching points of the skills and the ABCT (Abstain, Be faithful, Condomise, Testing) messages associated, so as to allow them to run the sessions themselves both in the afternoon and for an assessment tomorrow.
After a relaxing lunch break (where Chris and Scott get a mention for doing an off-the-schedule pit stop for cold drinks – good call) we then headed to the aptly named Flamingo School (see final paragraph), a private school with its own sports field. We had 58 kids separated into 4 groups but instead of us running the sessions we left the power in the hands of the teachers while the CWB coaches lent a hand where required. This was a great test for them today ahead of their assessments tomorrow as it gave them both confidence in their abilities (if I can coach cricket anyone can, after all) and some experience in what worked and what didn’t. In Graham and I’s group our teacher forgot a wicket keeper in his first group and spent 8 minutes doing a Demonstration with his second – however all his groups had fun playing and he learnt from the criticisms we gave him so that by his final group he had run a great game of Continuous Cricket. All our groups were happy with the progress our teachers were showing which gives us real hope that in the future the work that we do in giving the ABCT messages through cricket is carried on in Botswana for years to come.
The headteacher at Flamingo then kindly took us down the road to the Salt Pans, a 170 x 70km bed that is probably one of the most surreal places I have ever trodden foot. A ‘Salt Pan’ is a geological term for a water pool (e.g. A lake) that has evaporated, one of which was driven across by Clarkson and co. In a Top Gear special a few years back. The after-effect of the massive evaporation is an endless plane of nothingness except for salt. The best description I heard was that it was like walking on a polar ice cap in 40 degree heat. We also saw a few Flamingoes (hence the name of the school!), Pelicans and Wilderbeasts that were drinking in one of the lakes that hadn’t yet evaporated. This was a breathtaking end to the afternoon and I feel fairly confident in claiming that I am the first Englishman to drop a catch on a Salt Pan. Ian took home some salt for his morning cup of tea while Scott annoyed David by fluffing the final shot of the doubles pool match, handing Jethro and Ian a default win.
David/Sloth/Sid wins the #notsoinvincible Gaffe of the Day for his awful attempt at replicating a Scott Warren super-selfie. Ian gets a mention for telling the kids to ‘abstain and things’ as well as snoring so loud at lunchtime that he woke himself up but I felt inclined to abstain from giving ‘the gaffer’ yet another award for what is quickly becoming recognised as just normal Ian Green behaviour.