WWT20: Aussies bring on-field energy to Guyana outreach


By Akeem Greene

It was a day for big grins, affectionate hugs, a plethora of giggles and last, but certainly not least, some engaging Disc Jockey skills by the Australia women’s cricket team as they visited the East Ruimveldt Secondary School on Wednesday.

The visit was the final outreach programme as part of the ongoing Women’s World T20, which Guyana, St. Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda are hosting the first standalone event.

With visits already to President’s College, Diamond Secondary and West Demerara Secondary, the Mandela Avenue institution completed the list and it will be certainly one students hold to their hearts for a long time.

Beginning the proceedings was a variety of cultural activities which both displayed the heritage of the school and gave the women from Down Under a glimpse of Guyana’s folklore.

After the rousing displays it was time for the fun in the sun with a friendly match of cricket; both sides bashed and smashed the ball and then shuck hands afterwards.

Alyssa Healy (left) and Elyse Villani brought the vibes

There was one aspect remaining, which goes synonymous with Caribbean cricket, the ‘after party’.

Aussie wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy returned the favour with a display of her immaculate DJ skills which left her teammates, students and teachers all dropping their dance moves.  There was even some karaoke by the players and students. It was truly fun in the sun.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Senior Project Officer, KJ Singh told News Room Sport, the outreach programmes were a success.

“It has been great feedback from the children in the communities. It was very important for this tournament, being the first standalone tournament for the women and in our backyard. It is important for the kids to showcase and allow a synergy to display our culture which is critical.

He added, “It was important for teams to understand that we are strong people and our culture runs deep and we are rich with performing arts. I had some of the teams singing the songs so it is stuck in their heads. The programme has three components, one is cultural, the second is for local school teams to rub shoulders. It is important that girls can see a developmental pathway for themselves unto the international level.”

Captain Meghann Lanning collects a framed drawing of the school as a gift

With women’s cricket on the rise, the ultimate aim of these activities is to fuel interest among the young generation. The hope is that they will be players of international caliber within the mix.

“There is a big opportunity for girls in cricket and it is important [for] the girls [players] to rub-off some sort of inspiration to the young girls at the cricket teams at East Ruimveldt. As a legacy what the ICC has done and Cricket West Indies in the three territories, we have now started Under-17 programmes.”

“Next year we will be extending these programmes to the 17 member states and I think it is an important start going from kiddies cricket to senior cricket then West Indies senior cricket team and we need to bridge all those gaps and this is perfect catalyst to do such.”

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