Fi­nally, a woman close to the top

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

FOR SOME time now, cricket has been a man’s game, and it has been so since at least the start of the Test game 140 years ago.

Although women have been in­volved as sup­port­ers of the game for such a long time, their in­volve­ment was con­fined to ‘bowl­ing’, un­der-arm style, to their younger broth­ers in the back­yard or as mem­bers of the tea brigade,

When it came to women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tion, how­ever, the game was con­sid­ered for­eign to their na­ture and, there­fore, out of bounds to them.

Grad­u­ally, how­ever, women around the world, in places like Eng­land and Aus­tralia, but ex­cept­ing one like Pak­istan, be­gan to play the game, and like most things, it spread like wild fire un­til it got to other places such as In­dia and South Africa.

In Ja­maica and the West Indies, how­ever, it took its own sweet time, and it was not un­til around the 1970s that women took to the field.

Be­fore then, Ms Vera Wright be­came a mem­ber and com­mit­tee mem­ber of Lu­cas Cricket Club, Lu­cas be­came pop­u­lar for their tea-time re­fresh­ments, and Ms Wright be­came known as ‘Aun­tie V’ to Lu­cas mem­bers and their friends.

She set the pace for oth­ers to fol­low, and those who fol­lowed in­cluded Mar­garet Cooke – hon­orary sec­re­tary at Lu­cas, Dorothy Hob­son – com­mit­tee mem­ber and now man­ager at Mel­bourne, Mon­ica Ho­sue (Wil­liams) – com­mit­tee mem­ber at Mel­bourne, Carol Bryan – hon­orary sec­re­tary at Mel­bourne, Caro­line Kelly – com­mit­tee mem­ber at Mel­bourne, and Pat Gillings – com­mit­tee mem­ber at Mel­bourne.

Oth­ers who fol­lowed in­cluded Novelette Rickets – com­mit­tee mem­ber of Manch­ester Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion and the first woman mem­ber of the Ja­maica Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion (JCA), Pauline An­der­son-White – hon­orary sec­re­tary of the Trelawny Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion, Rose Bryan – com­mit­tee mem­ber of the St Mary Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion, and Diann Camp­bell – com­mit­tee mem­ber of Mel­bourne and the first woman hon­orary sec­re­tary of the JCA.

Also in ac­tion are women like Amanda Baker – com­mit­tee mem­ber of the St El­iz­a­beth Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion, Pollyana Mitchell –hon­orary sec­re­tary of Lu­cas, and Sonji Wat­son – com­mit­tee mem­ber of Kens­ing­ton Cricket Club.

PLAY­ERS IM­POR­TANT

As ded­i­cated as these women may be, how­ever, play­ers are the most im­por­tant part in the de­vel­op­ment of the game, and the 1970s also saw the start of the drive in the real growth of women’s cricket in Ja­maica.

Led by Mon­ica Tay­lor and Sally Kennedy, women’s cricket took off al­most from the word, ‘go’, with teams like Kens­ing­ton, Lu­cas, Di­a­monds, and Water­well, fol­lowed by Mel­bourne play­ing com­pet­i­tively and fairly reg­u­larly and put­ting out play­ers like Rhona McLean, Kay Os­bourne, and Joyce Miller, to Vi­va­lyn Latty-Scott, Jean Cado­gan, Yolande Ged­des, Peggy Fair­weather, Hob­son, and Grace Wil­liams-Al­ston, down to oth­ers like Mar­lene Need­ham, Jen­nifer Ster­ling, and Jac­que­line Robin­son.

Ja­maica, and Trinidad and Tobago, in fact, ven­tured out into in­ter­na­tional play be­fore the West Indies.

Those, how­ever, were lovely days, days of reg­u­lar and ex­cit­ing com­pe­ti­tion among Ja­maica, Bar­ba­dos, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and St Lu­cia, bring­ing to­gether play­ers like Louise Browne, Ann Browne, and Stacey Ann King from around the re­gion, and those were the days when the West Indies hosted Eng­land and Aus­tralia, toured Eng­land and In­dia, and, in the process, de­feated one or two along the way.

In terms of par­tic­i­pa­tion and com­pe­ti­tion, women’s cricket, es­pe­cially in Ja­maica, fell away for a while, but it has re­cently hinted of a come­back, and with Ja­maicans like Stafanie Tay­lor, Shanel Da­ley, and Chedean Na­tion, and with West In­di­ans such as De­an­dra Dot­tin, Anisa Mo­hammed, Marisa Aguil­era, Hay­ley Matthews, Brit­ney Cooper, Sher­maine Camp­bell, and Shaquana Quin­tyne, the fu­ture seems bright and rosy.

On the field, there is also Jac­que­line Wil­liams, a good fe­male um­pire who had the dis­tinc­tion of stand­ing in the re­gional men’s four-day com­pe­ti­tion at Sabina Park re­cently and, by her pres­ence, her de­port­ment, and her skill, she has set a pace for oth­ers of her gen­der to fol­low.

PROMIS­ING HIS­TORY

West Indies women are the T20 champions of the world, and once they step up the par­tic­i­pa­tion and the com­pe­ti­tion all around the re­gion, es­pe­cially af­ter such a promis­ing his­tory, noth­ing, it seems, can stop them in the fu­ture, and par­tic­u­larly now that West Indies Cricket has ap­pointed a woman as its chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer.

Ver­lyn Faustin, the com­pany’s sec­re­tary, is now also the chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer (COO) re­spon­si­ble for the day-to-day op­er­a­tions, and mainly for con­trol, ad­min­is­tra­tive, and re­port­ing pro­ce­dures aimed at ef­fec­tive man­age­ment on and off the field.

All who love West Indies cricket ap­plaud Faustin’s el­e­va­tion and wish her well in this her added re­spon­si­bil­ity, es­pe­cially as from all re­ports, she is more than ca­pa­ble.

Her rise to close to the top is a good move for cricket and for women’s cricket in par­tic­u­lar. It has given them a voice at the top where it mat­ters most, and on top of that, she has joined other women around the world of cricket, in­clud­ing In­grid Cronin-Knight and Liz Daw­son, who are mem­bers of the nine-mem­ber New Zealand Cricket board, and Deb­bie Hock­ley, who is pres­i­dent of the board and one who call the shots for all New Zealand’s cricket.

With Jimmy Adams as the new di­rec­tor of cricket, with Jason Holder as the cap­tain of the men’s team, with Tay­lor as the cap­tain of the women’s team, and with Faustin as the COO, West Indies cricket, men and women, is in good hands, or so it seems.

Her rise to close to the top is a good move for cricket, and for wom­ens’ cricket in par­tic­u­lar. It has given them a voice at the top where it mat­ters most

Ver­lyn Faustin

Tony Becca

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