We arrived in Cameroon full of expectation as we were safely met by the President of the Cameroon Cricket Federation (CCF). Victor greeted us with a beaming smile and a strong handshake.
As we set off towards our hotel the atmosphere among the team was full off excitement and we passed our first sights of the countries capital.
We sat in our hotel with refreshments as we discussed the plan of the first couple of days and the importance of promoting of the ABC (Abstain, Be Faithful, Condom) message and the related health issues which we all hoped to deliver during our stay in Cameroon.
An early start for the fresh faced visitors soon found a breakfast of croissants and fruit. Shortly after we loaded the bus with the cricket equipment and started our journey towards out first school. There we were met with smily faces and welcoming teaching staff. Thirteen local teachers would be put through their paces as they learnt new coaching methods which was greatly received.
During the session we delivered fielding, batting and bowling drills which can now be used throughout the capital. During one of the fielding drills we were delighted to see a quality impression of the Roger Miller dance that put smiles on everyones faces.
As we left behind the new coaching staff and thirteen new friends we headed towards the Cup of Cameroon National Finals. The finalist were the Pathfinders and the Warriors who would contest for the title. Following the National Anthem the representative of the Minister for Sport and Education started the final by delivering the first ball of the ball which the natural umpires over saw. Cricket Without Boundaries finest, yet shortest members (Lee and Luke) took the responsible role of overseeing the game. The game got underway and instantly a question was asked of the square leg umpire, the finger was raised rather quickly to the astonishment of the more experienced onlookers.
The head of media began to put visitors in the spotlight and questions were raised of the reasons CWB were present. An interesting interview was provided which led to second innings commentary being given by Mackett and Frost which gave an insightful overview of the exciting game. As the Pathfinders and Warriors fought for victory a local journalist took his life in his own hands as he marched into the middle in hope of a closer view for that perfect picture. He ended up at silly mid off and at times facing the wrong way!!
As the game progressed the commentators again foresaw accuracy as the clouds drew in the lightning began, leaving the umpires with a tough decision to make. Sadly, the correct decision was made and it was decided for Health and Safety reasons the game was ended and the result was decided on the duck worth lewis method.
As the crowds gathered for the winning announcement the excitement was clear to see. Awards were given for the man of the match who did well with both bat and ball and Sunjo Sylverus stepped forward to claim his prize. Pathfinders were declared the winners which was met with cheers and disappointment from the losing Warriors who gave it there all which ended a good day.
We returned to our hotel to reflect on our first day and consider the differences in culture between our two countries and look forward to the morning.
By Paul Frost