Cricket boost for girls

Kycia (left) and Kyshona Knight (right) with Jennifer Murray this morning.
Kycia (left) and Kyshona Knight (right) with Jennifer Murray this morning.

Women’s cricket development in the Caribbean got a major boost today, when the first two all-girls schools ever were welcomed into the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket programme.

Christ Church Girls School provided the backdrop for the launch of the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket Festival that also featured an official welcome to the programme for the all-girls Hindsbury Primary and the co-ed Wills Primary. The festival runs from May 18 to 20 at the Weymouth Playing Field†Scotiabank’s assistant general manager for branch banking, Jennifer Murray, an alumna of Christ Church Girls’, praised the two girls’ schools for their ground-breaking participation.

“In all of the 14 years that this programme has been running and in all of the more than 700 schools around the Caribbean that have Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket, we have never had an all-girls’ team – until now,” said Murray.

She added: “While we have had some girls participating in Kiddy Cricket for years now, they have been on teams made up mostly of boys. And of course, we have had quite a lot of all-boys teams. So we really hope that other all-girls’ schools around the Caribbean will follow your example and join Kiddy Cricket.”

The occasion was made extra special with the presence of the West Indies Women’s pair, twin sisters Kycia and Kyshona Knight.

They gave the girls at the school a glimpse into their potential future when they addressed the assembly of students.

Kycia, a national junior representative for Barbados in cricket, football and athletics, said the inclusion of two all-girls schools was a positive development for the women’s game in the region.

“It is good to know that the Windies Women’s team will have a strong future with more girls getting involved in cricket from a young age,” said the wicketkeeper/batsman.

“I’m also glad because both my sister Kyshona and I went to an all-girls’ school too – Springer Memorial Secondary School. One of the things that being at Springer taught us was how important sports was to becoming a well-rounded young lady.”

She added: “Girls aren’t always as encouraged to take part in sports as boys are, so we are grateful for the experience we had at Springer, and we’re so happy to see that your principal and physical education teachers are making sure that you learn that lesson too.

“Sports isn’t just about playing. I’ve learnt really important life lessons from sports. It teaches you about discipline for sure – the discipline to actually train and practise to excel at your sport and second, you have to be disciplined to balance sports and school.”

Kyshona, whose sports career was almost cut short by a severe knee injury that required reconstructive surgery at the age of 16, said attending the launch was really inspiring for her and Kycia because now they knew they were young girls looking to follow in their footsteps.

“I know it will definitely push me because we want to set a great legacy in women’s cricket for you to inherit,” she said.

“Playing sports has taught me some very profound lessons about the power of determination. . .For two years, my sporting career was at a complete standstill after I tore two ligaments in my knee.”

She said: “I was an active 16-year-old girl, I had always been involved in lots and lots of sports, I went to a sports-crazy school – and now I just had to stop. It was really and I will tell you it was a tough life lesson to go through, especially being so young.

“I was not willing to let my dream die however – so I had to put in a lot of work. . .I had to be determined and more importantly, I had to be patient.”

Robin Parris, the West Indies Cricket Board’s territorial development officer for Barbados, urged the schoolgirls to use the Knight twins as living proof that there was a future in the game for them.

“The Windies Women’s team has done really well in the last three years, culminating with them reaching the Final of the ICC Women’s World Cup earlier this year in India,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we were runners-up, but it proved that our women’s players were growing by leaps and bounds and I think they should be an inspiration for you and other girls around the Caribbean to play the game.” (windiescricket)††

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