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Domestic women’s cricket comes to Peru

  Posted on: May 9th, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015 could just go down as an understated watershed day for women’s cricket in Peru.

Certainly, the match that took place at Lima Cricket and Football Club between the newly minted, strictly unofficial ‘Blue Devils’ and ‘Las Blancas’ sides might only constitute the earliest, embryonic version of domestic cricket. Six-a-side and eight-a-side games have taken place in the past. And the ‘twelve over challenge’ format, with three runs given for wides and no balls was, to say the least, one of a kind.

But progress is nearly always a question of increment rather than revolution. And there is no known precedent for a full match between two women’s teams in the Andean nation. So progress this undoubtedly was.

The opposing sides were comprised of players from the Vicuñas national squad. Fourteen year-old fast bowling prodigy, Jade Rodriguez, was given the captain’s reins for the Blue Devils; and Sadie Rodea lead out Las Blancas.

Cricket Peru President, Harry Hildebrand, was on hand with a pre-game speech to mark the occasion. Proving himself the man for any occasion, he also assumed umpiring duties.

Las Blancas were in to bat first. Whilst none of their players truly got going, they reaped the benefits of some wayward bowling to finish the inning at 4/71. Claire Paybody’s 9 from as many balls made her the pick of Blancas’ batsmen. For the Devils, Sarita bucked the bowlers’ profligate trend with a stingy 1/10 from her three overs. She was ably backed by Caitlin Yarna with 2/10 from two.

With Blancas’ score respectable, if not imposing, a win for the Devils was far from out of the question at the break. But opening bowling duo Kate Rose and Giovanna Barca turned the screw on Devils. They gave up just 13 runs for the opening four overs – a miserly sum in any format. That had crawled up to just 23 by the halfway point of the inning. Only Sarita could reverse Devils’ fortunes with the willow. In at four, her unbeaten, calm and collected 17 from 16 balls was the batting display of the day. Combined with her earlier bowling efforts, Sarita’s would have been a strong claim for unofficial player of the match.

In the end, The Devils’ slow start, combined with a more observant approach to conceding sundries by Rodea’s side, was enough to see Las Blancas home. Blue Devils finished their 12 overs at 4/64.

Cue friendly handshakes and kind words all round – from opponents who are, of course, teammates first and foremost.

Whilst I would obviously never be so hackneyed, so trite, so Spirit Of The Game as vetted and approved by the ICC, as to suggest that ‘cricket was the winner’ on Sunday, you may catch me forgiving a lesser scribe who did. For this was a first – and a tight game with fine individual performances to boot.

Onwards and upwards to the 2015 South American Championships, and bigger and better things at home, for the Vicuñas.

Thomas Mortimer

1 May 2015