Two pools each with six teams, three pitches, time enough for a round robin tournament should be easy. One v two, three v four, five v six, then one v three, two v four….. oh no that doesn’t work. We were in danger of using a full note book full of team and pitch combinations before Nick stepped in with the use of a secret formula to organise a no clashing, pitch utilising, everyone knows where they stand schedule of fifteen matches in each of two pools, primary and senior. Ella, already well known in Rwanda as the ‘greatest batsman in the world’ then set to work as administrator to ensure every team was lined up against the right opposition on the right pitch at the right time. All we needed now was the schools. And in a feat of logistics – the venue and timing having been altered at the last minute – they were all there ready to go right on schedule. Well done Emmy and Joseph!
A key component of the CWB message is the importance of testing; as one of our coached students told us in discussion, it is part of being a responsible citizen to take care of yourself and others. The widening availability of drugs and counselling services mean that interventions can then follow. Anyway what better way of testing your cricketing skills than taking part in a competition, so today we ran a festival amongst the schools we had visited earlier in the week.
What followed was three hours of exciting, enthusiastic, competitive Rapid Fire Cricket, complete with semi finals, play offs and grand finals and raucous celebration. Although the occasional rule ‘clarification’ was required (ICC please note) the matches were played in good spirit with broad smiles, the only problem faced by the CWB umpires being temporary deafness caused by the screeched encouragement of the school teachers. The enthusiasm was encouraging as was the pride with which they wore their newly acquired yellow coaches’ t shirts (see Sunday’s blog – no excuses accepted).
Presentations duly made, a cricketing demonstration of the need for protection, for abstinence and faithfulness to your partner and a splendid mass catered lunch of beans, rice, potatoes and vegetables, we were informed that the headmaster of the winning school (for the record St Pierre Nyanga school won both junior and senior tournaments) felt there was no need for further coaching, and our afternoon appointment was duly cancelled (the proximity of exams may also have had something to do with it). There is only so much one-hand one-bounce you can amuse yourself with, so a small party ignored the gathering rain clouds and went off, bat and ball in hand to explore some of the less well trodden roads of Musanze. Ignore darkening rain clouds in Rwanda at your peril! Fortunately our intrepid explorers (Ella, Nick, Giles B and yours truly) were able to take shelter with most of the bike riding population of the town under the canopy of a handily placed petrol station and watch twenty minutes of stair rods. Rain over, we continued to be rewarded with late afternoon sun, and an impromptu cricket session with fifty local children of all ages, some walking home from school, some pre-school and some too cool for school. For all bar one, their first experience of cricket, but as we waved goodbye they all promised to ask their teachers, parents and other adults if they could find out more about this fun game for everyone – it’s called cricket. And it’s played without boundaries.