Today was the day of the schools tournament. There was a boy’s competition and girls’ competition, but not how you would think. All the teams were mixed except in the girls’ competition a girl was captain and in the boys’ competition, a boy was captain.
After we had established exactly what schools were coming, the running order was finally made. The tournament was underway and it actually ran pretty smoothly, I’d like to think this was due to tournament director Jezza, who ran a tight ship.
Some highlights of the morning session included a boy charging down the wicket and smacking the ball straight into the car park on the 1st ball of an innings – this soon resulted in a change of ends. The next was when Baharini, the poorest school in the competition, celebrated a wicket. There was a full-on pitch invasion and I assumed they had won the game until they were all ushered off and another batsman appeared.
There was time in the afternoon to do a spot of haggling. We were doing a very premature Secret Santa between the group. The limit was 200 shillings (i.e. £1.40) and I was after the biggest hat I could find. The row of stalls was crawling with proud owners desperate to sell you everything and anything. Once I said I was after a hat, they were being thrust at me from all directions. A nicely woven one caught my eye and after a lot of walking away it was purchased for 200 shillings reduced from 3000. BARGAIN!
I was lucky enough to be given the honour of umpiring the boys’ final in the afternoon. On more than one occasion I had to ask the batsman to not back up in front of the stumps. Not because they were running down the middle of the wicket (we were playing on the outfield), but because I couldn’t see a thing.
My favourite moment of the day came midway through the 1st innings, where Faith clean bowled one of the opposition boys. The rest of the team came running up, high fives everywhere. She wasn’t just a girl that had been shoved in the side, she was an integral part of the team. It reminded me of my childhood cricket, just being treated as one of the lads. It was amazing to see that this happens over here. The final was very exciting with three needed off the last ball, which was dispatched for an almighty six.
The tournament was over and we sorted a quick fielding session with the Kenya U19 women. Of course I couldn’t resist joining in. Lee offered to ‘keep but I think quickly regretted this decision as the balls were pinged in, hitting the rather thin gloves. The girls were really attentive and in only 30 minutes they seemed to improve a lot. Their coach kindly thanked us, and even said that me coming to visit was as exciting as Chris Gayle coming over. Although this was after they had Googled me first to find out who I was.
The week was now over and a fitting way to end it was a team jump into the pool. Secret Santa presents were exchanged, the best of which was no doubt the handmade stamp bought for Jamie from Jezza saying ‘Jamie Burton THE BOSSMAN CWB Kenya 2012’. We let our hair down for the evening. A lot of drinks were consumed, dancing was a must and so was bundling Luke in the middle of the dancefloor. I made a few mistakes that evening, the main one trying to keep up with Lee and Jamie, the more experienced drinkers of the group. I somehow succeeded but it’s safe to say I failed in the morning. This resulted in the last mistake, but what goes on tour stays on tour. All I can say is that I ended up with the nickname TBB.
On to the next week then…….