UMPIRE MARIA ABBOTT @ Georgia Women’s T10 Tournament
Vincentian female cricket umpire Maria Abbott was part of the historic introduction of the first women’s version of the Caribbean Premier League(CPL). The inauguration of the Women’s Caribbean Premier League(WCPL) tournament took place in St. Kitts, August 31 to September 4, 2022. Umpire Abbott made history recently when she did duties in the USA, in Atlanta Georgia, where she umpired in the GEORGIA’S WOMENS T20 MEMORIAL DAY WEEK-END TOURNAMENT. Tournament organizer Hall of Famer Petal Samuels reported the tournament was a huge success. Umpire Abbot was delighted and please that she participated in the tournament and announced to the Cricket Hall of Fame Zoom Program, that she would be back to help Ms. Samuels in 2024.
The Georgia Women’s T20 Tournament, Memorial Day Week-end 2023.
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Five clubs – Warwick Workmen’s, St George’s, Cleveland County, Western Stars and St David’s – are the confirmed participants with the Bermuda Cricket Board expected to announce the venues for the matches in the coming days. Seven women travelled, all members of Warwick Workmen’s Club, from the island for the tournament, where they were joined by five guest players. The team played four matches, winning one and losing three, with their victory coming by five wickets against Belizean Royal Strikers on Sunday. Ashley Borges top scored in that match with 61 off 43 deliveries.
Kellie Smith, the BCB chairperson of the development program for youth, women and girls, spoke of how the women were so eager to be part of the action in Atlanta that they paid for themselves, with the BCB assisting only with the kit and the entry fee.
“This is just one of the tournaments that we have been invited to” Smith said.
“The ladies really wanted to participate and because it was short notice, they paid for airfares and accommodation. The BCB provided playing kit and the tournament fee. They thoroughly enjoyed the tournament and they met great people,’’ she said.
Chantal Oosthuizen, the captain of the Bermuda Triangle Gems, said it was a wonderful tournament with some members of the team playing cricket with a hard ball for the first time.
“It was a great experience,” Oosthuizen said.
“We had three teams in total and we each played four matches, two on each day. From Bermuda we had seven people and we had five from the US on our team. This was the first time playing together as a team and the first time playing a match with a hard ball for some of the ladies.
“It was a great experience for us to play in a well-organized tournament. We will definitely be back next year and improve on our performance..
Bermuda Triangle Gems won the True Sportsman and Team Spirit award at the tournament.
Smith is also looking forward to Bermuda’s new league to play with the format expected to be a round of matches before a knockout phase but that could change depending on the input of players.
“We will play one round then we will have a knockout competition and see how it goes. We will get feedback from the players if they wish to continue with another round then we take it from there, we will see what happens,’’ she said.
Officiating in the tournament is more than rewarding for Abbott.
A delighted Abbott told SEARCHLIGHT that her ascension is a dream come true, as it will be the highest level attained in her more than 20 years of umpiring.
“I am just happy for the opportunity to umpire at this level, and I am truly grateful,” Abbott said with a sense of elation.
Abbott, a former St Vincent and the Grenadines cricketer, is especially delighted that she will have another chance to work with Jamaican umpire Jacqueline Williams.
Abbott and Williams are the only two females selected for the WCPL.
“I have a lot of respect for Williams and she has taught me a few things, so it will be a pleasure working with her,” Abbott highlighted.
Williams is emerging on the world stage, as she was the first woman to officiate as a third umpire in an international cricket match for men. That was between the West Indies and Ireland in January, 2020.
But Abbott is making good of her timeline, relishing her stint in Trinidad and Tobago last month.
There, she got her initiation in regional officiating, as she was an on-field umpire in seven matches of the inaugural Cricket West Indies Women’s Under-19 tournament and was third umpire in three matches.
Reflecting on her first taste on the regional scene, Abbott assessed: “I was not daunted in any way by the occasion… I felt comfortable, I was not nervous, but gathered a lot of tips that would help me in the WCPL”.
Abbott thus credited former International Umpire Peter Nero, for his “guidance and continuous assistance”.
Looking forward to her WCPL assignments, Abbott said that she is mentally and physically preparing, as she wants to give her best, and represent St Vincent and the Grenadines well.
INTERESTING TO NOTE: PETER NERO WILL BE INDUCTED, OCTOBEr 7, 2023, INTO THE WORLD’S FIRST CRICKET HALL OF FAME IN HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, USA.
The Executive Director of The World’s First Cricket Hall of Fame, announced that the Hall has asked Umpire Abbott to organize and lead a Mind Power Training Program in St. Vincent.