Saskatoon

Sask. women's cricket team excited about opportunity for national exposure

The Regina-based Titans Divas women's cricket team, which has only been in existence for two years, has been invited to play in the Canada Day Cup in Calgary at the end of the month, but raising the necessary funds for the trip has become an issue.

Fundraising a potential obstacle to participating in upcoming Canada Day Cup in Calgary

The Regina-based Titans Divas women's cricket team has held split-squad tournaments in the past. It now has an opportunity to face out-of-province competition for the first time since the team was formed in 2017. (Titans Sports and Social Club)

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."

Titans Divas player Amily Aziz says her teammates are 'really, really, really excited' for the opportunity to play in the upcoming Canada Day Cup in Calgary. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)

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.'"

About the Author

Kelly Provost is a newsreader and reporter with CBC News in Saskatoon. Email him at kelly.provost@cbc.ca.

With files from Madeline Kotzer and Alex Soloducha

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