As this reporter made his way to the Smith Road Oval with an eye on capturing footage in lieu of the cancellation of the Boys Under-19 International Cricket Council’s Division Two tournament, one question came to mind:
Where in the world has Women’s Cricket gone in Cayman?
A valid question that Women’s National Cricket captain Yvonne Forbes ponder herself.
“There’s a lot of questions from women that still have interest. They want to know why they aren’t hosting any league and so forth but there’s no answers.”
Cayman’s Women’s National team haven’t played internationally since the women won the Legacy International T20 Tournament in 2016. With no domestic league action since, the long delays have caused female athletes to go elsewhere.
“The women have no interest anymore. They’ve gone to play other sports. You still have a few women who would be interested, but the association isn’t doing anything and there’s no way around hosting any cricket other than going through the association.”
Cricket President Abali Hoilett recognizes these challenges.
“We do struggle in that area, but the hopes are for next year we can bring back the women who were instrumental who were bringing back cricket in Cayman, and have them form a mentoring and nurturing role with younger girls.”
Forbes says national women’s players are willing to do just that. She says, however, leadership isn’t just about instruction.
“We used to have school kids join the women league and they play, but if nothing going on you wont get the interest of the school girls to play either. I don’t know what their interest lies, if it’s just with the men? I don’t see them doing anything.”
Hoilett adds with all initiatives come obstacles.
“We would love to see senior women’s coming back. The thing that I would say with that and all other countries are faced with that challenge right now. The ICC sets down particular criteria right now, they’d like to see a shift to having the foundation at the Primary schools and making sure there’s adequate skill levels.”
With an eye on the future of the sport in Cayman, Hoilett asks for patience from its female cricketers.
“As with everything, it takes a while to rebuild and find your way. The good thing is, that’s something Cayman Cricket is devoting too .”
Department of Sports Women’s Director Merta Day, the former Secretary of Cayman Cricket of 15 years, and former Chairperson of the Youth Cricket Development, says the sport has reached an all-time low.
“It is not in a good state. It is really sad to see that it died. In 2010, we had the first hardball tournament. In 2011, we brought in Stafanie Taylor, who was World number one for T20. Cayman was hosting the ICC Americas Regional Development Championships. We brought in Shanel Daley, who was a fast bowler, to ignite the women’s team and give them a pump-up, with a series of sessions to get them ready for the tournament. Coming from that, and to be where we are at today is a bit disappointing, Nevertheless, we must be positive and move on.”
Day adds she recently liaised with Cricket Senior Development Officer Connor Patterson to further organize a ‘Cricket Carnival’ for female players in the Primary schools. It was received with mixed results.
“I don’t think that went over very well. I think they only had four school, then two, and it didn’t work out.”
In her role with the Department of Sports, however, Day says the women’s cricket community respond positively for an event in March’s International Women’s Day.
“We had a great turn out, a lot of the senior women turned up. With the help of Coach Cuffy, Coach Andy, two female Coaches Cherry and Mollyann, who also captained the National Women’s team, and had a team in the league. We will try and build on that, and that is something the Department of Sports will be looking to put in place come January, and we hope it grows from there.”