Organised women’s cricket in the Cayman Islands is only a couple of years old but the novices will get a chance to test themselves internationally next month by hosting a major tournament.
The Pepsi International Cricket Council Americas Women’s T20 Championship will be held at the Jimmy Powell Oval in West Bay and at George Town’s Smith Road Oval from 22-29 April.
Visiting teams are the USA, Canada, Bermuda, Argentina and Brazil.
Theo Cuffy is Technical Director of the Cayman Islands Cricket Association. He said: “We have been working with our ladies’ teams for the last two years and this is the first time we have put a national unit together. This is the first time we’re playing in the regional tournament and also the first time we are going to be hosting.
“This is fantastic for the country and the exposure it will give us, plus the motivation that goes with it. The teams coming in will provide a fantastic week of cricket.
“Two years experience is not much but we have to creep before we can walk. First we got the men’s programme up and running, then the youths, now it’s the turn of the women.
“We are going to be a surprise package, simply because nobody knows if we can actually play or not. Our ladies are working very hard to see if they can play. They are going to be very nervous and they will need the support of the country behind them.”
“The last time we hosted a tournament was 2003, an Under-15 one. With this opportunity coming along, we had a bidding process. It was very costly to go to Argentina and America we do have visa problems. It was basically our turn.”
The leading Cayman women cricketers are Carmel Harms, Molly-Ann Moore – who will be captain – and Wyvonnne Forbes.
Local women’s cricket is getting a timely boost with the visit of two West Indies players, Stafanie Taylor and Shanel Daley. Taylor is the world No.1 allrounder and No.2 batswoman. Daley is a talented allrounder who looks set to reach the top.
“The visit of Taylor and Daley gives the Cayman girls and opportunity to see in flesh two of the better players. We believe Daley will be as good as Stafanie in a couple of years. These two players have just played in the West Indies team that defeated India in the recent T20s and one-day internationals.
“And Stafanie, of course, played a huge part in the defeat of India. When you are able to rub shoulders with players of that calibre, it will have a huge effect. There is a big game involving the West Indies girls at Smith Road Oval on Sunday, starting 2.30pm and we want as many people as possible to come out.”
Cuffy encourages any women interested in playing cricket to get involved, learn the basics and have fun because it will develop substantially in the future.
Sheila Rankine is Secretary of the cricket association, President of the Masters Cricket Association and is a bowler in the national team. There are four women’s teams in the Cayman Islands, Greenies, Stingrays, Panthers and Islanders.
She said: “This is great for women’s cricket in the Cayman Islands. This is something we’ve been looking for ever since the hard ball game started and it will be quite an experience for us so we’re hoping to go there and perform our very best, win or lose – but we’re hoping more to win.
“The women are excited, a little nervous as well because it’s our first time we’re competing at this level. But it will give us good experience and help us to see how well advanced we are and also give us the exposure we need for future competitions.”