WOMEN’S cricket in the province will receive a welcome shot in the arm following the launch of women’s club cricket at the Dan Qeqe Stadium in Zwide this Saturday.
Eight women’s teams will play friendly games throughout the day at the stadium.
The first two games will start at 10am with Old Grey taking on Heatherbank and Juniors facing Cowan.
At lunch there will be an equipment hand-over to the clubs by EP Cricket and an address by EP Cricket Board acting-president Vuyo Ntswahlana. There will also be a welcoming speech by EP Women’s Cricket Association president Joyce Msutwana.
One team that will relish this experience is the Motherwell- based Coega Titans.
With 12 members, the Titans have just enough women to put a team together. But this does not discourage them or spoil their love for the game.
They practise with dedication three times a week in barely acceptable conditions. The park in which they play has two flimsy cricket nets and a small, uneven field with hardly any grass.
Despite the conditions, Titans coach Michael Booi said they were coping.
“These women enjoy it and come from all over to practise. One comes from as far as the Walmer Township. Sometimes I have to give them money for transport.”
The players, some as young as 17, are from different townships but make the effort to travel to the little field in NU5.
“Most girls do not have an interest in cricket because they consider it a man’s game,” said Booi.
“It is difficult to get them to start playing.”
He said the girls who want to play do not get the same opportunity as the men. The men get preference when it comes to using the cricket pitches like the ones at the Dan Qeqe Stadium.
The women only get to play on a proper field once the men’s season is over, which means they do not get much pitch practice. The only game time they get is during matches.
Booi’s one gripe is the lack of quality facilities. He said the park is not good for fielding practice as it has no grass and it is covered in stones. He is also not happy with the state of the nets.
“I have been asking EP to carpet the nets for 15 years,” he said.
The Coega Titans play friendly games as often as possible against teams like Uitenhage, Zwide and New Brighton.
“Black townships did not have club cricket until recently,” said Booi.
“Women’s cricket is only starting to be taken seriously now.”
He said the launch of women’s club cricket on Saturday will have a big effect on the growth of the game among women.
“Girls see an opportunity to play for their province now.”
One of the Titans players who has big dreams of making it is Thuliswa Poswa.
The 19-year-old left-hander only started playing cricket a year ago, when she met other girls coming from cricket practice and asked to join them.
According to Booi, Thuliswa is a natural sportswoman and a fast learner, picking up the skills of the game fairly easily.
She grew up in a rural area where there was no cricket but watched games on TV.
“I love everything about it. I want to play for EP and then for South Africa one day. I am taking it seriously,” she said.