On Friday morning after saying goodbye to Annika, the staff and particularly for me the dogs at Rwenzori View the scene was set for an enjoyable cricket festival at the Nyakasura Oval for our last day in Fort Portal. The festival consisted of a secondary and primary school competition. In the latter there were 8 different schools making up 16 teams. It started off with 4 groups of 4 and each group having a certain pitch and umpire who were Ed, Jay Jay, Matthias and myself. The tournament was originally a bit of a mismatch because of the way the Ugandan school system works some of the primary school students were a lot older than you would expect. During the group games a local man turned up with a bike with a cooler box filled with ice pops and a few of the players forgot about the games to try and get one. Meanwhile, while the matches were taking place Jules went to the primary school neighbouring the ground to take part in singing and dancing during their breaks and lunchtime.
Once the group matches were played the winners from each group were put through into the semi-finals. The other teams played friendlies against each other in more evenly matched games. The first semi-final was easily won by Canon Apollo against Bukuuku. The second semi-final was a much more competitive affair being decided by one run Nyakasura Junior beating Kichwamba Primary. Before the final Jay Jay decided that the teams should stand in a line and each team should sing their school song as seen at international sporting fixtures with the national anthems. The game started with Canon Apollo batting. In the innings the game was constantly swinging both ways, the first pair put on 14 in their two overs, the second pair were then restricted to just 4 runs with some tight bowling, this dominance from the bowling side was then shattered by the third pair in which one of the batters preceded to bat both left and right handed, this player also managed to lose the ball in the bushes and in this game without boundaries a six was awarded. The innings was ended by the last pair scoring 7 so Cannon Apollo ended on 50. There was a quick turn over under the threat of impending rain. Only one over was completed in which Nyakasura Junior scored 8 before the heavens opened and the match was declared a draw.
In the secondary school competition there were four teams from two schools, Nyakasura Senior and Kyebambe Girls. Mark umpired these matches on the astroturf wicket. The four teams all played each other once in a round robin tournament with the top two teams playing a final to decide the winner. These teams were both from the Nyakasura Senior school. The final was managed to be played before the rain fell and Nyakasura 2 won.
The festival was wrapped up by Sara handing out coaching certificates to the enthusiastic teachers in our small bus to keep out of the rain. While Ed and Matthias decided that it would be a good idea to perform full length body slides in the puddles on the pitches. We were then driven to the local secondary school, Nyakasura, and found a spare room to get changed into dry clothes before starting our long journey to Masindi.
During our journey, our planned discussion on whether Vince should bat at 3 in the Ashes was quickly resolved (no, Bairstow at 3 and Foakes to Keep), and we finally managed to get our playlist together and the whole team managed to get a snooze. We were eventually halted in Kampala by heavy traffic. A decision was made after about 8 hours of travelling that our driver needed a rest so we stopped at a nearby hotel. Mark, Ali, Sara and I managed to get a swim in at the hotel pool before we all gathered in the bar area to eat pizza and watch the highlights of the South Africa vs Bangladesh and Pakistan vs Sri Lanka tests.