Atlanta, Georgia and the South East Region now have under their belts their first women’s T20 cricket tournament. As if that wasn’t enough, the match between eventual tournament winners, New Jersey Phoenix, and the Hollywood Rebels was the first female cricket match to be broadcast live on the internet courtesy yupp.tv complete with ball-by-ball commentary. But the list of firsts does not stop here as the organizer of this well-executed tournament is female – Petal Samuels, member of the Hollywood Rebels and secretary of the McNair Lions Social & Cricket Club based in Ellenwood, Georgia.
Samuels joined the Hollywood Rebels last October for the inaugural Women’s US Open Championship in Florida. After being bitten by the T20 bug and recognizing the need for more women cricket competitions, Samuels decided to take one step further than most, and walked the walk.
Photo Left: Petal Samuels
Samuels completed no easy feat hosting a women’s tournament in a male-dominant cricket community. After numerous discussions with local cricket organizations to support the initiative, the American Cricket Academy recognized Samuels’ enthusiasm to bring women’s cricket to Atlanta and did not hesitate to provide full support by becoming the title sponsor.
Lada Bedi, president of the American Cricket Academy, appeared to be smiling on the phone even three days after the tournament as he reflected on his gamble.
“I have a junior cricket program and a men’s program but I never thought about having a women’s cricket tournament. I want to congratulate Petal for taking the initiative. She said she wanted to host a tournament but needed help. I told her ‘You are helping me because I’m trying to promote cricket in Atlanta anyway!'”
The ladies won the hearts of Atlantans this past weekend in every way.
According to Denys Williams, former secretary of Georgia Supreme Cricket League and scorer of the tournament, “This was the first time I saw the women play live, and I was duly impressed. The spirit and standard of play was very good, and am looking forward to next year. It was very good to see current and past national players display their skills.
The action did not stop on the field as the Metropolitan Cricket Club hosted the women to a party tying into the club’s Memorial Weekend festivities.
Seeds are being planted throughout the country and women’s cricket is beginning to sprout!