The Region of Peel Secondary Schools Athletic Association (ROPSSAA) indoor cricket championships dropped off the map this school year due to school closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. But back in May 2008 most of the leading teams from the eight team ROPSSAA Girls indoor cricket championships ventured outdoors, many for their first experience of outdoor cricket.
Mississauga Ramblers hosted the inaugural Hazel McCallion Trophy Cricket Tournament for Girls on Thursday, May 22, 2008 at what proved to be a notably cold and windy Iceland Cricket Oval. Not the best of days, but three of the top four schools from the ROPSAA girls indoor cricket competition turned up to play. ROPSSAA Girls indoor champs Father Michael Goetz Secondary School, did not participate in the outdoor event. The Girls losing indoor finalists, Rick Hansen Secondary School played, as did the two losing semifinalists: Port Credit Secondary School and St Joseph’s Secondary School.
The original plan for this outdoor cricketing venture involved a round-robin phase followed by a playoff between the top two. But with nowhere to hide from the persistent wind on a cold day, the playoff game was dropped from the schedule. As it happened, a separate final would have been a repeat of the third match of the round robin and was likely to take place in even colder conditions.
St Joseph’s began the day with a win against Port Credit after some welcoming speeches launched the tournament. Rick Hansen scored 48/1 but, according to my original report, only just edged home by 1 run against Port Credit. This meant the third round robin game between St Joseph’s Credit and Rick Hansen would decide first place in the standings.
St Joseph’s scored 46 runs for the loss of 2 wickets from 8 overs and went on to win the game by 19 runs and capture the Mayor McCallion trophy. Rick Hansen ended with 27 runs, losing 7 wickets in 8 overs.
My original report for the Canada Cricket Online website concluded “Congratulations and thanks must go to the organizers, the players and coaches for making this first event possible. It was a tough day for playing outside. ‘The Great White North’ was green, but it was pretty
cold with the persistent wind.”
The Need for Power On and Off the Field
One useful feature of the outdoor Girls tournament was the presence of a generator which supported announcements about the state of each game and allowed some to make use of laptops. It was a pity that when the outdoor cricket tournament for Boys took place a week or so later the generator was missing. There were more participating teams, some playing at the original Ramblers home ground while the other group was played at Iceland, which also hosted the playoffs. .
Net Run Rate calculations were needed to decide which schools qualified for the playoffs and battery power for laptop computers was not as advanced in 2008 as it is (or can be, if your battery is charged up or reasonably charged) in 2020. The chance of gaining publicity in the Toronto Star dropped off the map in the absence of power supplies; there was no chance of filing a report by the required deadline for school sports news. But that’s something only known by only a few people at that time.
The Boys championship proved to be the day I learned that the battery for my camera would last about 12 hours, so capturing photos of the winning team proved a challenge at the end of the day. The setting sun on the western horizon was a mere trifle given the lack of battery power. A day when you realize the need for a backup battery; a day I must have left the alternate still photos camera at home.
Mayor McCallion commented about the absence of Girls teams when the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Mayor’s cricket moved beyond the boundaries of the City of Toronto a year or so later to Mississauga’s Iceland Cricket oval. The answer was that the Girls would be playing on Friday, which managed to attract some bad weather. There did not seem to be any evidence of players or play when I ventured to the ground on the Friday afternoon for the Girls event.
A more substantive issue raised by Mayor McCallion was the absence of a club house, or a pavilion as club houses are known in the cricket world. Now that’s an interesting issue in this pandemic year with frequent adverts about the need to wash your hands. How many cricket fields in the Greater Toronto Area have proper toilets, washing and shower facilities?
Surely, the absence of such facilities are something of a barrier to broadening participation in cricket by female players of all ages. Possibly a bigger barrier than only getting a chance to play the game outdoors on a cold day in May. Parts of footpaths were used for bowling and batting warm-ups before the teams and officials gathered for the opening speeches back of that outdoor Girls cricket championship on 22 May 2008 at the Iceland Oval.
Mississauga Ramblers Cricket, Sports and Cultural Club hosted this inaugural outdoor competition in partnership with the Region of Peel Secondary Schools Athletic Association, the City of Mississauga and the Mississauga Sports Council. Representatives from these organizations were present for some of the play and the closing presentations.
Eddie Norfolk Toronto, 22 May 2020.