Eight Members Participate In T&T Tour
With the paucity of quality women’s cricket tournaments in the USA, Atlantis Cricket Club – NY and its female cricketers are seizing every opportunity to participate in tournaments and training camps wherever possible. With players spread across the length and breadth of the nation, it is not very often that the club’s players get together as a team. However, one such opportunity recently presented itself through the generosity of the Worldwide Cricket Academy’s (WWCA) Elite Women’s Program.

Front Row: (L-R) Nisha Patel, Triholder Marshall, Gita Venkat, Sindhu Ashok, Sara Farooq. Standing: (L-R) Akshatha Rao, Vritti Sethi, Geetha Shawkarla, Erica Rendler, Neha Ahmad, Samantha Ramataur, Nadia Gruny, and Coach Stephanie Power.

Fortunately eight of the “Atlantis Nation” women were available for selection and leaped at the opportunity to participate in a three-match tour of Trinidad & Tobago, last month. The tour organized by the WWCA and hosted by the Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board pitted an in-form T&T Under-19 women’s squad against the 12-woman tour party of the WWCA. The Atlantis players on tour were Nadia Gruny, Samantha Ramataur, Akshatha Rao, Sindhu Ashok, Neha Sukhija, Gita Venkat, Nisha Patel and Sara Farooq. The WWCA squad was coached by former West Indies women’s captain and assistant coach Stephanie Power, an Honorary Lifetime Member of Atlantis.

Although winning only one of the three matches against the T&T women, the WWCA players gave an excellent account of themselves on the tour, with the second match a T20 nail-biter. Set a modest target of 81 by the T&T Under-19 team, WWCA responded by winning the match by three wickets and one delivery to spare.

With a good opening knock of 38 off the bat of WWCA’s skipper Nadia Gruny, the tourists settled down after losing the opening wicket of Vritti Sethi, Gruny and fellow Atlantis teammate Sindhu Ashok put together a second-wicket partnership of 38, and they were ably supported to the finish line with 10 not out from Atlantis’ skipper Samantha Ramataur, with in between single digits of 3 and 5 from Erica Rendler and Atlantis’ all-rounder Neha Sukhija, respectively.
With pressure mounting in the final over of the T20 match, it was up to Ramataur to release the valve with a straight cover drive that brought victory within two runs on the final two deliveries. The WWCA women would see victory home with a delivery to spare and three wickets still on the bench. The first T20 was won handily by the T&T ladies, defeating WWCA by six wickets in that encounter.

The final match of the tour was reduced from 35 overs to 25 overs due to bad weather. Batting first the T&T squad reached 129 for 7 in the allotted 25 overs. In reply, WWCA reached 119 for 8 when they ran out of overs, losing the match to T&T by a mere 10 runs. The WWCA top-order fared much better in the final match of the tour, with the top four batswomen contributing 90 compared to the T&T top four batswomen who scored only 57. However, T&T did get worthwhile contributions of 18, 15 and 26, from its middle-order, to help the team to win the match.

Atlantis’ Akshata Rao helping to give women’s cricket a silver lining. Photo: Nadia Gruny

All of the players on the tour had an enjoyable time. The Atlantis players in particular enjoyed the tour, having played alongside so many on the same team earlier in the year, when Atlantis won the Georgia Women Cricket Association Women’s T20 Tournament in Atlanta, GA, for the third straight year.

The Atlantis women squad has been growing bit by bit, as the club continues to attract younger college-aged women eager to play the sport at a competitive level, here in the USA. Atlantis president Steve Welcome, said, “Atlantis is committed to helping the US women’s game grow, and we are doing everything possible to support our female teammates. We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of the Atlantis women’s squad, winning three T20 championships in three years, and we look forward to the pool of talent expanding exponentially.”

The Atlantis roster of players has grown from five in 2012 to 18 this year, as more women players seek to be a part of a progressive cricket club that support the growth of women’s cricket. Facilities, finance, and the geographical disparity of players are the stumbling blocks to the rapid growth of the sport among interested women, however the passion and camaraderie exhibited by the Atlantis women is unbelievably encouraging.