Thursday was a great day. There ends this blog.
Want more? OK….we arrived at the Oval to train a group from the local school. After some fielding drills (where I was able to indulge in my favourite game – a circle of kids around me who drop to one knee when they drop the ball the first time, and are out the second time they drop it, leaving the winner as the last child standing or kneeling on one knee), we moved on to pairs cricket.
There were some fantastic shots played, catches caught and balls bowled, which explains why Nyakaura school were winners of the festival the following day!
After a relaxed lunch (buffet where you could go back a second time since you ask) we went back to the girls boarding school we had been to on Monday.
With a big tournament early next year, Paul, the girls’ coach, was eager for them to have some full on cricket training. Fielding we had covered, bowling was Bert and after a bit of casting around it was decided that I should coach the batting with JJ Alpha.
I got myself ready (i.e. panicked slightly having never done technical cricket coaching before) and was ready to start my coaching. I nearly disintegrated into laughter though when Jules introduced me as an opening batsman (I tend to operate in the middle/late order these days but she was keen to big me up) but held it together just about, worrying that I was being oversold. After reminding the girls about weight transfer and getting their head in line with the ball, we started with the forward defensive. The most important shot in cricket I told them.
The subsequent drill involved them trying to smash the ball over the trees and I quickly realised I needed to focus on attacking shots! Their off drives were excellent and they mastered the pull with ease. Clearly I’m far too much of a traditionalist to be coaching in Africa!
After some final fun drills all together, the A-B-C-T messaging was sung repeatedly and Jules reminded the girls that they could (and should) say no if their boyfriends don’t want to wear a condom. It felt like we left a group of empowered girls who will know how to look after themselves in future, and they may even have a slightly better chance in their cricket tournament. I very much hope that’s the case!
Another day of fun alongside some serious messaging and I, for one, couldn’t have enjoyed it more.