Bermuda women’s T20 League to begin next month
In a huge development for cricket on the island, the first T20 women’s cricket league is expected to start early next month.
Bermuda Cricket Board executive director Calvin Blankendal expects the league to comprise about six teams with a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at the Police Recreation Club to discuss the competition.
“The Bermuda Cricket Board is going to be launching its inaugural Women’s T20 League,” Blankendal said.
“At the moment, we are looking to have anywhere between four to six teams from a diverse group of clubs from across the island and we are going to have a meeting to discuss the style of the league on, May 23.
Four clubs — Western Stars, Warwick Workmen’s, St David's and Cleveland County — have so far come forward with the required number of players, which has delighted Kellie Smith, the BCB vice-president.
Smith is chair of the development programme for youth, women and girls and is delighted that the clubs are already embarking on training as they eagerly await the start of the league
“Its very exciting, the good thing is we had a lot of clubs come forward and have women’s teams,” Smith said.
“Last year, they played rubber-ball T10 cricket and this year they are playing T20 with the hard ball. We had some great progress and a lot of interest from ladies who want to play, so we will have at least four teams competing in the Women’s T20 League.’’
A women’s T20 league is an ICC requirement before national teams are allowed to compete in sanctioned tournaments at both senior and under-19 level.
“There are requirements to have at least four women’s teams and four under-19 teams to be able to compete in the ICC competitions,” Smith said.
“We now have the four women’s teams and we just have to get the under-19s going. We have some young players who have been training with the hard ball and they will play in the women’s league as we don't yet have enough players to make up the under-19 teams.”
Former BCB president Reginald Pearman previously oversaw the Bermuda women’s cricket team but there has never been a domestic league for women and the BCB is looking to come up with a sustainable league which can lead to the formation of a national squad.
“Bermuda initially participated in an ICC women’s tournament based on the work done by Reggie Pearman,” Blankendal said.
“He attended a meeting overseas, came back and started a women’s team, but that was only international competition. According to my records there has not been a women’s league, so that was a one-off event.’’
The BCB has sounded out some cricket clubs to see if they can host the matches, with the responses encouraging.
“There has been a minor setback in trying to launch the league, but we are looking to start in early June,” Blankendal said.
“We've reached out to a few venues to see if they can accommodate us and the feedback thus far has been positive. Once we can finalise the venues and the starting times, we will be looking to start in June but we want to meet with the women first so that we can discuss the playing format, conditions, rules and regulations.’’
National coach Niraj Odedra has been working with female cricketers at grassroots level and a group of nine women, with the assistance of the BCB, will be heading out to represent Bermuda at an annual tournament to be held in Atlanta next month.
The women have funded most of the cost of the trip themselves and the BCB expects the experience gained could lead to an opportunity to send a Bermuda national team in future when the local T20 league is established.
For more details on the league, any club, official, player or potential player is invited to the BCB T20 women’s league meeting on Tuesday at Police Recreation Club
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