A Sunday morning thunderstorm followed by drizzling rain washed out the final day of the United States of America women’s nationals’ tournament in New York, but it did not stop the coronation of the powerful Tri-State Lynx was one of two teams representing the New York region in this year’s tournament.
The other was the New York Warriors.
The tournament, hosted by the New York region, also included representative teams from the North West (Rockstars and Phoenix) and South West (Rebels) regions, as well as a US Development XI comprising players from several regions.
The Lynx was awarded the championship trophy after posting the best net run rate, when officials canceled the third day’s play just before the awards ceremony in Queens. The North West Phoenix was second.
Coached by Linden Fraser and led by Candacy Atkins the Lynx was a cut above the other five teams in the three-day tournament and were never threatened to keep their unbeaten record of about 20 games intact since the team was formed three years ago.
Fraser said after the tournament that no other team has “got close” to the Lynx and only the New York Warriors have caused “any trouble” to his side. “They seem to rise to the occasion when they play us,” he told USACA.org.
When USACA names the women’s squad of 18 or 20 in about a week, Fraser said he would not be surprised if up to eight or nine players from the Lynx were in the squad, and if it is that many, then Atkins probably will get the captain’s job because so many of her teammates will be in the touring party for the World Cup qualifier in Bangladesh later this year.
The Lynx’s all-rounder Indomatie Goordial-John, who scored an unbeaten 102 against the North West Rockstars on the opening day and followed up with 52 the next day against the Hollywood Rebels was awarded the trophy for scoring the most runs in the tournament.
But it was Doris Francis, also an all-rounder and captain of North West Phoenix, who was voted the MVP of the tournament with 115 not out against the New York Warriors on the first day and grabbing seven wickets in two games.
She also collected the trophy for taking the most wickets. Four centuries by Francis, Atkins (100 not out), Goordial-John and the Lynx’s Nadia Gruny’s 110, which included 13 fours and a six on Saturday against the Rebels were highlights of the tournament.
The Lynx overall strength was put on show on Saturday when they piled on a women’s cricket record-breaking 552/7 off 50 overs against an injury weakened Hollywood. In arguably the most lopsided contest ever played in US women’s cricket, Sandra Ibarra, one of the leaders of the Rebels, said three players were unavailable through injury.
The Lynx amassed 93 extras, which were made up of 87 wides, three no balls, two byes and one leg bye. Scorers said they had never seen this many extras in one inning at any level of cricket.
On Saturday against the Rebels, Fraser decided to bat Goordial-John at number six and Atkins did not bat at all to allow others to try to impress selectors. The Rebels struggled to make 43 off just 17.2 overs.
The Tri-State Lynx are clearly the best women’s side in the US and it oozes in professionalism and talent, yet the players are not confident or arrogant.
Fraser said this team is the culmination of three years hard work. “We have players from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, California and Maryland,” he said.
“I try to coach and train the team at a high standard. Every player trains twice a week and some train as much as four times a week. It is the best women’s team that I have been associated with and I have coached teams in the United Kingdom.
“They work together as one unit and their average age is 24. The players’ work ethic is very good and they want to do this.”
He estimated the Lynx won about 20 games in three national tournaments, a T20 and tri-state tournaments.
While the Lynx dominate in the US, Atkins and Goordial said they could “compete and handle ourselves against club sides in the West Indies competition.”
Asked about their long winning streak, Atkins smiled and said: “You like winning, everyone likes to win. There is joy in winning.” Goordial-John added: “I enjoy winning.
“There are young players coming in and they are taking the game seriously. We will improve even more. Everyone is trying to get better and stronger.”
Atkins added: “We are learning every day.”
Even Ibarra, who is trying to build a strong foundation for the women’s game in California, conceded that the Lynx were the strongest team in the US. When questioned about the overall improvement in women’s cricket, Goordial-John says that when she began playing in the US three years ago “we barely could get two teams together. Now we have six.”
She represented the West Indies women’s team for three years and played in a World Cup qualifier in Holland, toured India and Pakistan and played in the 2005 World Cup in South Africa.
Fraser said: “For this tournament three years ago we had two teams and now we have 110 players this year.” He said the Rockstars had improved dramatically by as much as “80 percent, particularly their fielding.”
Atkins, who also represented the West Indies, but missed the 2005 World Cup because of injury, said the overall standard of US women’s cricket had improved between 80 and 85 percent over the past three years.
Ground conditions and facilities still needed to improve in the US to reach world standards. And it is fair to say that the world’s top cricket playing countries would not even consider playing on some of the fields that are used in the US.
Asked about the facilities, Atkins said: “We take the good with the bad.”
John Warburg, a venture capitalist in Connecticut, was honored at the awards ceremony with a trophy after the Apple Pickers Foundation, which he describes as a small family foundation, had made several generous donations to women’s cricket.
John Aaron, the secretary of USACA, made a point of thanking Warburg for his donations at the awards ceremony and helping women’s cricket grow in the US.