CWB first-time volunteer Mat Danks puts the first day of the maiden voyage into the Northern Ugandan territories into words….

It was renowned American journalist and humourist Franklin P Jones who once observed that the problem with being punctual is that there’s nobody there to appreciate it.

And so the first couple of days of the swashbucklingly intrepid expedition into the north of Uganda has proven with time certainly not being on our side.

The start wasn’t the best with a couple of hours delay on the flight from Heathrow, exasperated by the bars in Terminal Five somewhat maddeningly closing at 10pm with our flight not until 11.30pm.

And then upon arrival, an early lesson in African timekeeping on the first day of working with the Ugandan coaches.

A 10am start, it seems, tends to mean ‘at some point between 10.30am and 11am (maybe)’ on Gulu Time and getting back from lunch for a 2pm start…. Well, you can probably guess the rest.

But, all said, an enjoyable and relatively disaster-free first couple of days, particularly bearing in mind we were voyaging where only Lee Booth and his band of explorers had trodden previously.

Much of the credit for this has to sit with the designated fixer of the group, Nathasha, whose eye for detail and ability to plan ahead has probably prevented the whole affair descending into farce.

The late take-off meant a late landing which, criminally, meant that our stop at Kampala’s cricket ground (wonderfully combining an Indian restaurant AND a stadium) was fleeting.

The journey north wasn’t too arduous in all honesty, the coach manned by our stoic guides Youssef (who rocked up to meet us, resplendent in a West Brom top, much to my joy), Grace and Joseph a relative piece of luxury.

And the hotel, amidst some landscapes perhaps best described as ‘gritty’, is excellent.

Even the less than punctilious approach of the 20 or so coaches that made it to the Pece Stadium for the refresher session ahead of tomorrow’s arrival of the school-kids failed to dampen the enjoyment.

The sessions run by John and James went down a storm and bode well for when the fun really begins.

There’s an air of missionary zeal in the air, for sure.

The coaches are well versed in the AIDs/HIV messages and it’s clear this is virgin territory as far as cricket goes. There’s next to no concept or following of the sport in this part of the country and a realisation amongst the team that we could actually ignite the sport in this country.

One final point, and I realise it’s an oft made but it bears repeating. The kids are an absolute delight, full of explosive smiles and enthusiasm.

The random groups of youngsters that made their way into the Pece Stadium today, just driven by curiosity about what this band of mouthy white folk were doing on their patch, have sparked a real excitement about what we can expect tomorrow.

Plenty of coaching also happened on the sidelines

We could do with some smaller bats

Michelle dazzled the crowds with some trick shot batting