Talent scouts and selectors will be out in full force looking to identify future women’s cricket stars when 16 regional teams participate in the 2012 CSA Under-19 Girls Week in Oudtshoorn, from 15-19 December.
The Girls U19 Week is the only platform that schoolgirls have to showcase their talents and to make a name for themselves.
The aim of the Week is to give the girls exposure to a competitive cricketing environment, and to allow them to work on their batting, fielding and bowling skills.
It is at this Week where many current Proteas women’s cricketers were discovered, including national captain Mignon du Preez and star leg spinner Danè van Niekerk.
Tournament director Sandy Flanagan told gsport that this Week is important for the development of the sport.
“There are selectors, as well as scouts, who come to identify talent. This Week also gives the girls a purpose to play cricket, as they all stand a chance of making the SA Under-19 team. Many of these players go on to play for the Proteas women’s cricket team.”
The format of the Week includes two days of time cricket, two T20 games and two days limited overs matches. Fixtures are set out for the first two days, and tournament organisers will finalise fixtures as the Week progresses, gauging the strength of the teams.
The SA Under-19 team will be chosen at the conclusion of the Week, and will take on their first assignment the very next day, facing up to SWD in a limited overs game on 20 December.
“Each year the level of cricket improves, and it is very exciting for me to see how the level of cricket is improving within the regions,” said Flanagan. “I cannot say who the strong teams will be at the week, because there is always a pleasant surprise. I am expecting another wonderful week of cricket”.
Flanagan says the highlight of the Week is seeing the emerging talent, and having a chance to meet with managers and coaches who also have a passion for girls’ cricket.
“My advice to the girls is to go out and play the game. To remember firstly, that it is a team sport, but to push themselves to achieve their personal goals that they have set for themselves this tournament,” she concluded.
Girl’s cricket in South Africa has steadily gained moment in awareness and backing since around 1995, which was when it officially started, and the Week is unparalleled in providing a breeding ground for the future of Proteas women’s cricket.
Day 1 Fixtures for Saturday, 15 December: South Western Districts v Western Province Boland v Northerns Eastern Province v Gauteng Mpumalanga v KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Limpopo v Griquas North West v Kei KwaZulu-Natal Inland v Easterns Free State v Border Day 2 Fixtures for Sunday, 16 December: Kei v KwaZulu-Natal Inland Gauteng v Western Province Boland v Border Limpopo v North West KwaZulu-Natal Coastal v SWD Mpumalanga v Northerns KwaZulu-Natal Inland v Eastern Province Griquas v Free State