Sask. women's cricket team excited about opportunity for national exposure
Fundraising a potential obstacle to participating in upcoming Canada Day Cup in Calgary
Saskatchewan's first women's cricket team has been given a chance to get some national exposure — if the women can raise enough money.
The Regina-based Titans Divas are Saskatchewan's only women's cricket team.
The Divas started in 2017 with just a few women. That number grew quickly to include newcomers to the sport once word spread of their existence.
In 2018, the Divas split themselves into teams for mini-tournaments against each other.
The upcoming Canada Day Cup women's cricket tournament from June 29 to July 1 in Calgary's Riley Park will feature their first matches against other competition.
The event is being hosted by the Alberta Women's Cricket League and will feature teams from Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.
Fundraising a potential obstacle
The Divas need to raise $5,000 by June 20 to finalize their spot in the tournament.
A GoFundMe page started several weeks ago had only raised $125 as of Monday morning.
Divas player Amily Aziz says they will still go if they can raise at least $3,500, but will stay in cheaper lodging and forego purchasing better equipment and new uniforms.
Aziz says each of the 10 women who have committed to take part are being asked to come up with the money to make up part of the funding shortfall.
"I believe in my team, and I believe in the women, that they're capable to do anything," she said. "And they're positive, they're faithful. They're passionate about the cricket."
She said they don't have much money so there is only so much they can come up with themselves.
"So at the moment it comes down to fundraising," she said. "We don't even have enough funds to get there. So each of the girls are still trying their best."
Huge opportunity for players
One of the team's founders says the tournament could provide unprecedented exposure for their best players.
Salman Khan said more established teams across the country might recruit some of the Divas.
Some of the women who played in the first edition of the Canada Day Cup last year in Toronto were invited to play at nationals.
"And you can only imagine the opportunity that lies in front of us for these women, or these girls, to play," he said. "That exposure. One thing is once you get on the national level, if you're a great player, you have an opportunity to get on the national team."
There are also leagues across the country that women could be invited to play in.
Khan said Canada's cricket community has already taken note of the Divas.
"Saskatchewan has never had a team," he said. "I have got to know a good 60 more people than I knew across across the national set-up in Canada just because I'm attached to this team. So that's just me."
Determined to find a way
Aziz said the Divas are aware of the opportunity in front of them.
"They're really, really, really excited to go," she said. "And they already said, 'Yes, we'd like to face this adventure. We'd like to face these challenges and then it'll be a new adventure for us.' "
She said her teammates are committed to doing everything possible to make the trip happen.
"So they're really excited and they're hoping for the best and they haven't given up yet," she said. "They said, 'We should not give up. We should try our best until the 20th. Let's see what happens.'"
With files from Madeline Kotzer and Alex Soloducha