Monday, July 20, 2009

Report from Girls Mini-tournamnent

This report of the Secondary Girls School mini-tournament comes courtesy of Dun Okinyo:

Defending champions Moi Girls Nairobi Girls successfully retained the Cricket Kenya Girls Secondary Schools championships after edging out former champions Kenya High School in a thrilling final on Saturday at Ngara Sports Club.

Batting first, Moi Girls scored 74 runs all out - a total that looked easy target for Kenya High before two quick wickets from Melvin Atieno changed the proceeding of the game for High to lose by three runs. At the time Atieno struck Kenya High looked poised to reach the target as the openers had put on 24 for the first wicket in four overs.

When Atieno bowled out Kenya High openers for five and ten runs respectively in the third over with the scores on 24, this made all the difference in the match as Kenya High never recovered as wickets continued to fall at regular intervals. However Whitney Musungi top scored with a slow 18 from 34 balls mainly because she lacked partners to help her out in pushing for the target.

Earlier Rachael Mwikandi had top scored with 24 for Moi Girls despite finding it hard to play Cecilia Ouko who was elected best bowler after taking three wickets. Mwikandi and Mercy Cherop put on a fourth wicket stand of 34 runs. Cherop scored 12 runs. Joan Nyaboke, Vanessa Ogega and Roselyn Maina bagged two wickets each. Moi won the last title when it was last held in 2007 by defeating Huruma Girls. Kenya High last won the event in 2006 and had hoped to win it for the second time but Moi had other plans

Moi's captain said the confidence and proper learning of the game is what made the difference in the match they had been ruled out even before the start. "Nobody gave us a chance to win. I don’t know why but we are happy we have defended our title and we look forward to continue working hard and get it going," she said. Her Kenya High counterpart said her team's failure to win the match was due to the inability to use the scoring opportunities that came their way. “We had many loose balls that we would have scored many runs but we wasted them. But that is a by gone and so we need to shift our attention to the coming event where we promise to do well,” Ogega said.
In the third and forth place play offs St. Teresa’s scored 66 runs with two balls to spare to edge out Kenya High second team which had set a target of 64 for the Eastleigh based school. Joan Kering who was elected the best player of the event scored a quick fire 23 for Kenya High but that was overshadowed by unbeaten 25 from Mildred Sambu. Sambu who won the best batter award had earlier bagged two wickets in Kenya High’s innings.

After the matches, Cricket Kenya boss Tom Tikolo, who watched all the matches, expressed confidence with the way the players had carried themselves on the pitch in the few months since they started playing the game in their schools.
He hoped that most of the players to play in the East and Central Africa under19 and 15 championships later in the year will come from those schools.

With Girls cricket taking shape in other provinces the game is likely to gain in popularity amongst them which will create a lot more competition. The presence of the national team players who umpired the match was a big motivation and it’s only a matter of time before the country has more than five girls teams taking part in their own league. Already a select team is taking part in the NPCA league where over 30 players are fighting for the limited space in the side.

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