Vienna report

Report by Veena Mampilly

Veena Mampilly reports on the Swiss Womens' club Zurich Sapphires success in Vienna.

Last November women’s cricket in Zurich began with an indoor session for women and girls to try their hand at Cricket. Today we have completed our first international women’s cricket tournament in Vienna, an important chapter in the history of Women’s Cricket in Switzerland.

Zurich Sapphires Cricket Club was coined to support and encourage women to participate and play Cricket. Being the sole Women’s cricket club in Switzerland, Vienna Tournament that was organized by the Austrian Cricket Association, was very much an awaited event by all of us. The Vienna tournament constituted teams from Belgium, Norway, Austria and two teams from Zurich Sapphires.

The Austrian Cricket Association (ACA) put up a spectacular tournament, be it the organization of the activities on and off the field or the hospitality and warmth with which they welcomed all the visiting clubs. It was simply delightful to see the teams encouraging each other, celebrating a wicket and congratulating the winning teams. The first day evening ended with dinner hosted by the ACA where we had the chance to bond with the other team players. It was a great opportunity for me to exchange words with other women development officers and ACA organizers to learn their cricket journey and spark a thought of collaborating in future, an idea that was instantly welcomed.
The tournament concluded on day two with some great Cricket. The two Zurich Sapphires teams made it to the knockout rounds, leaving Belgium and Austria to play it out on the finals, with the unbeaten Belgium taking home the victory. At the prize distribution event, all the players were given a medallion as a token of appreciation and a reminder that participation in tournaments is important to grow as a club.
It was a learning for all of us. If professionalism is what we learned from Belgium team, then Austria showed us true sportsmanship by lending their players when Zurich Sapphires were short of 2 players and Norway taught us how to be supportive of each other and play the game in good spirits.

On behalf of Cricket Switzerland and Zurich Sapphires CC, I would like to extend my gratitude and congratulate Austrian Cricket Association for staging an excellent tournament, especially the tournament chairman Mr. Muhammad Ashfaq and competition manager Mr. Lakvir Hira. I would also like to personally thank all the players of Zurich Sapphires for paving way for other women and proving that it is never too late to learn a new sport.
Yes we may not have made it to the finals or lifted the trophy, but when I was standing behind the stumps to wicket-keep and face the last ball of the tournament, all I said to myself was I need to knock the bails off the stumps. And it is these moments that each individual player goes through that makes it a success on its own. And I did knock the bails off the stumps on the last ball .-)