The 2013 Memorial Day Weekend Atlanta Women’s T20 tournament was heralded as a huge success for women’s cricket in the USA. Organized by the Georgia Women Cricket Association (GWCA) for the third consecutive year, this year’s tournament featured American Cricket Federation (ACF) as the tournament’s title sponsor.
The tournament included teams from the Atlantic Region, Cayman Islands, Atlantis Cricket Club of New York, and host team Atlanta Pearls. Atlantis romped during the six-match tourney, successfully defending its 2012 championship title, defeating the Lady Eagles of the Atlantic Region, by eight wickets, and remains undefeated in two successive tournaments.
However, the highlight of the tournament was the final day’s power-hitting by West Indies women’s batting superstar Stafanie Taylor, who put on an awesome display of shot selection, stroke play, and running between the wickets. Making the one-time appearance in the tournament and wearing the colors of Atlantis Cricket Club – NY, Stafanie Taylor strode to the middle to delight the crowd gathered at McNair Field in Forest Park, Georgia on a bright and equally hot Sunday afternoon.
Ms. Taylor’s phenomenal appearance earned the respect and admiration of male cricketers as well as her lady cricket peers. She joined US national player Nadia Gruny in a fourth-wicket stand, with Atlantis chasing a total of 123 for 5 in 20 overs posted by the Atlantic Region’s Lady Eagles. The International Cricket Council’s 2012 One-Day International Cricketer of the Year – Stafanie Taylor did not disappoint those who braved the Georgia heat to see her bat. She would go on to score an unbeaten and chanceless 64 off 36 deliveries including 2 sixes, 6 fours, while partnered by Atlantis’ skipper Nadia Gruny, 33 (3 fours). It was Gruny hitting a boundary off of the Lady Eagles’ Vanessa Hayles that took the defending champions Atlantis CC over the top to 125 for the loss of two wickets in 14.1 overs, and the 2013 championship trophy.
The Atlantic Region’s Lady Eagles and Atlantis met in the tournament’s finals for the second time in as many years, resulting in Atlantis wrestling the championship trophy away from a formidable Lady Eagles squad. The Lady Eagles was bolstered this year by the inclusion of Onika Wallison who scored 73 (7 fours) off an equal number of deliveries, in an opening appearance for the Atlantic Region. Wallison enjoyed a few chances along the way, but was none the less the backbone of the Lady Eagles’ innings. The only other player to reach double figures for the Lady Eagles was skipper Sinead Emerson, 11.
Final scores: Atlantic Region Lady Eagles: 123 for 5 off 20 overs. O. Wallison, 73, S. Emerson, 11, V. Hayles, 8, A. Barry, 8. Atlantis’s bowling: N. Gruny 4-0-25-2, N. Anand and S. Ramautar one wicket each for 23 and 24 runs respectively. Atlantis’s batting: S. Taylor, 64, N. Gruny, 33, J. Alexander-Serrano, 8. Bowling for Lady Eagles: M. Prime and S. Emerson one wicket each for 20 and 34 runs respectively.
Earlier in the tournament, Atlantis defeated Atlanta Pearls by 99 runs and Cayman Islands by 8 wickets, while the Atlantic Region Lady Eagles defeated Atlanta Pearls by 6 wickets in a 15 over affair, and Cayman Islands by 20 runs. Top scorer for the Lady Eagles was S. Emerson with 48 (5x4s). She would later enjoy bowling figures of 3-1-6-2.
In the battle for third-place, Cayman Islands defeated Atlanta Pearls.
Stafanie Taylor, one of the leading women cricketers in the world, was the West Indies Cricket Board’s Women’s Cricket Ambassador to the tournament. And a worthy Ambassador she was, as she graciously signed autographs, posed for pictures and generally mixed with all of the women players and spectators. The 22-year old athlete conducted herself in a manner worthy of sports diplomacy accolades. Her quiet demeanor, winsome smile and down-to-earth cool attitude endeared her to all she came into contact with during the tournament, and other social engagements.
Title sponsor ACF, in acknowledging Ms. Taylor’s presence at the tournament, hopes that her role of Ambassador opens the door for other international women players to visit the United States and help sustain the interest shown by the small cadre of female players currently participating in the sport in this country.
Durga Das, the ACF’s Women’s Cricket Committee Chairperson stated, “ACF is delighted at the presence of someone of Ms. Taylor’s stature and what she brings to the sport of women’s cricket in the USA. We are delighted that she participated in the Atlanta tournament and we wish her all the very best ahead in her exciting cricket career.”
The following awards were distributed at the conclusion of the tournament. The ACF 2012 Spirit of Cricket Award was presented to Ms. Brenda Cordner, a member of the Atlanta Pearls XI who suffered a stroke two weeks prior to the tournament and defied all odds by participating in the tournament.
MVP – Nadia Gruny
Best Batswoman – Onika Wallison
Best Bowler – Nadia Gruny
Most Wickets – Mandy Prime
Best Fielder – Joy Jones
Best Wicketkeeper – Roselyn Emanuel
Most Promising Player – Tarika Khattar
ACF Spirit of Cricket Award – Brenda Cordner
Acknowledgement Awards – Stafanie Taylor, Vanessa Cameron, Beulah Pidakala, Judith Dyer, Debbie Ann Maxwell
The GWCA wishes to acknowledge its sponsors – American Cricket Federation, Atlanta Georgia Cricket Conference, ACE Orthodontists, Atlanta Param Veers, Caribbean International Shipping Services, Greenline Solutions, LADI Financial Services, Metals & Materials Engineers, SA Sports, Springlake Animal Hospital, Raina Brothers, Royal Caribbean Bakery, Rula Brown Radio Network, and the United States of America Cricket Umpires Association, as well as the generous contributions of numerous friends and family members.