The last day of the NCU Development Tour in Cape Town was probably one on the most humbling and rewarding.
The entire tour party travelled to the township of Khayelitsha to coach at the Chris Hani school and the Siphamandla school which have been working with the Gary Kirsten Cricket Foundation to promote cricket opportunities to young township people.
The Khayelitsha township in the Cape Town suburbs has a massive 400,000 plus population and covers over 40 square kilometres which means that this one township is larger both in population and area than Belfast!
A city within a city, it is the largest of the many townships in Capetown and Gary Kirsten through his Cricket Foundation has been working to offer sporting opportunities to as many young people as possible.
The NCU Northern Knights young players rose to the challenge of providing further cricket coaching to the young people of the area who had come in to school on their holiday day off. A range of cricket drills and skills where offered to children of the area from 10 years to 18 years old.
This was a humbling experience for the NCU coaches and players as they witnessed the poor training and practiše conditions that the young township players operate in, yet their passion and commitment for the game is outstanding and makes us realise how fortunate we are with what we have back home. Also, everyone was greatly impressed with excellent skill levels on show.
The visit ended with the entire NCU touring party and the Township players and coaches joining together to clear rocks, boulders and broken glass from the area of the Chris Hani school which is used as the cricket outfield.
A small gesture in the grand scheme of things but it was great to see everyone joining together to offer more enjoyable conditions for young cricketers.
Prior to the tour the NCU had asked for NCU clubs to donate clothing and equipment that could be passed on to the Township schools.
These had been delivered to the Gary Kirsten Foundations and passed on to the young township cricketers earlier in the tour and it was great to see young townships cricketers proudly wearing shirts from Saintfield, Instonians, Civil Service North and Templepatrick Cricket Clubs as well as Northern Knights shirts.