By Dervon Wallace
A galaxy of past and current female cricket stars, back up by youngsters from the Scholars of New York Youth Cricket Academy (S.O.N.Y. Y.C.A) descended upon the Roy Sweeney Cricket Oval in Brooklyn New York for the annual staging of the Roy Sweeney Women Cricket Development Tournament, played over the Memorial Weekend, May 25th and 26th.
In the first game on the 25th the Tri State Women All Star, led by Onika Wallerson a member of USA women’s team that swept arch rivals and neighbors Canada Women in the recent ICC Americas World Cup qualifiers to advance to the global qualifiers, had a host of big name players to choose from.
The medium built Wallerson, called right at the coin toss and decided to take first strike against a vibrant set of youngsters who seems excited at the opportunity to go up against the ladies. Opening the batting for the Tri State Women All Stars were current Windward Island opening batter Swayline William out of St. Lucia and former Grenada and USA representative Joy Jones who is better known for her bowling.
The pair delighted the gathering with a ray of stroke plays, sharing in an 82 runs partnership for the first wicket before William (29) was well caught by Dyon Ravello off the bowling of Jayden Higgins. Jones was joined by her good friend in the form of Doris Francis. Francis who hails from the Island of Dominica and became the first Dominican woman to represent the West Indies and later went on to captain the USA Team in the ICC Women’s World Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh back in November 2011 is also better known for her medium pace bowling. They post 87 for the second wicket when Sahir Husain uprooted her middle stump to make it 169 for 2. Discarded USA representative Shinead Emerson didn’t last long and was LBW off the bowling of Husain for 1. Nadine George and Jones put on a batting clinic for the spectators on hand, with Jones being the more aggressor of the two striking Fifteen 4’s before she was adjudged LBW by former St Lucia, West Indies and USA player turned umpire Roslyn Emmanuel for a well played 99 off the bowling of the impressive medium fast Higgins.
On reaching 28 with one over to go, George the former West Indies Test player who has the distention of being the first West Indian woman cricketer to score a hundred in a Test match, along with captain Wallerson (19) retired out for the arrival of 8 year old Kyle Roye. Young Roye, the son of New York Metropolitan Cricket League President and renown cricket manager and current Women’s Coordinator for the New York Region in Cricket Hall Of Famer Venelda Wallace, walked out to thunderous cheers and everyone in the ground rolling out the cameras. The young aspiring cricketer playing his first competitive game didn’t disappoint, he looked like one for the future when he on-drive one though mid-on and the crowd went wild. At the end of the allotted 30 overs, the Women All Star closed on 245 for 8, Higgins finishing with 2 for 27 and Hussain 2 for 36 and Rahul Badnan 1 for 54.
In reply the S.O.N.Y. Y.C.A could only manage 97 all out, Naveer Ramsen unbeaten on 27 batting at number 3 and Higgins 16 the only batsmen to get into double figures. Francis 4 for 14, William 2 for 6 and Wallerson 2 for 21 were the main destroyers.
On the second day, a planed Twenty20 game between both teams ended after one inning due to time constraint. There was however time for the Ravello coached boys to muster 145 for 3, thanks to an unbeaten knock of 47 from Higgins including four 4’s and a maximum over long-on off the bowling of USA medium fast bowler Triholder Marshall. Coach Ravello playing with his boys was also unbeaten on 30 (5×4 and 1×6) at the end of 20 overs.
All in all it was two days of good advert for women’s cricket. As in most sports, women’s cricket has long being overshadowed by the men’s game, but there are signs that it is changing, especially here in the USA with all the work USA Cricket is doing to develop the game at all levels, age and gender wise.
On hand to help with the days’ proceedings were: former USA and West Indies Star player Joan Alexander, former MCL president and Hall Of Famer Mascelles Bailey, current President and Hall Of Famer Cliff Roye and another Hall Of Famer in Hugh Pitter along with coach Basil Butcher JR, Umpires Errol Gardner and Dewith Coleman who officiated the game. Also on hand to assist was one of USA finest wicket keeper, Vincentian Charles “Give Thanks” Walker.
Venelda Wallace and renowned coach Linden Fraser who is a great advocate for women’s cricket along with Roslyn Emmanuel were the organizers. Thanks to Glen Philps of Spice Island Cricket Club who provided lunch.