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Filipina cricketeers set to claim league crown

29 May 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao
Divas team captain and 2-time MVP Josie Arimas packs a big wallop
 The first Filipino women’s cricket team comprising domestic workers in Hong Kong is well on its way to becoming the champion of this season’s Cricket Hong Kong Women’s Development League.

The SCC Divas, comprising 25 players, are already the sure winners even as they still have to play their last two games of the season this coming Sunday, June 3, at Po Kong Village Road Park in Tsz Wan Shan.

After a clean sweep of all their seven games in the past four Sundays, the Divas can lose both games and still emerge the league winners.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       “Sa June 3, two games left, win or lose champion na kami. Pero sabi ng coach talunin pa rin sila para ma-satisfy siya,” team captain Josie Arimas said, after back-to-back wins on May 27.  The Divas beat Hong Kong Cricket Club by 49 runs in the morning match, and nailed a 53-run victory over Craigengower Cricket Club in the afternoon.

At the end of the day, the scorecard was HKCC 76/4 and SCC Divas 125/5 for the first game. It was 157/2 for SCC Divas and 104/1 for CCC in the second game.
The Divas, mostly ex-league players in baseball and softball, with their manager Animesh Kulkarni 

Arimas was picked the most valuable player of the day, a repeat of her May 6 feat when she was chosen as MVP in the Divas’ first game in the league.

This is the Filipina team’s first-ever participation in the league since it was formed in May last year by Arimas, a Palarong Pambansa baseball star who began playing for HKCC in January 2015.

The Divas made their presence felt in Hong Kong cricket on May 6 when Arimas led the team to an 85-run win over CCC, scoring 28/2 to take the MVP of the day plum. The Divas were 122/3 in 16 overs against CCC, which finished with 37/8.

Team manager Animesh Kulkarni, an officer of The Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (Hong Kong, China), told The SUN the Filipinas are strong players.

“They practice only once a week on their day off but they play like veterans and beat their younger rivals,” he said.

After his wards’ triumph on May 27, Kulkarni said he would upgrade them to the T20 League from the Development division, the league for 16-over matches for newcomers, Arimas said. She said T20 is a bracket where the game is played in 20 overs. 

It was Kulkarni who encouraged Arimas to form the SCC Divas last year in preparation for this year’s league. With patient training by coach Najeeb Amar and British head coach Ricky Waite of Hong Kong’s national team, the Divas honed up their skills in a relatively short time.
Divas get free coaching from Ricky Waite of the HK National team

This flexibility was attributed by both Arimas and Waite to the women’s previous sports, baseball and softball, where they played for Philippine Sluggers and Fate, respectively, before wading into cricket.

“Their skill level is very high,” Waite told The SUN after the maiden match on May 6. “They’re simply fantastic. They played naturally,” Waite said, noting their eye coordination when they throw the ball.

Arimas said Waite told the Divas they are amazingly strong whackers, but that they still need to train on how to stop a strong bowl.

Kulkarni and Waite said they wanted the team to be recognized by the Philippine Cricket Club so that the Divas could play friendly matches with their Manila counterparts.  

The victory trail:
May 6 Game 1 – SCC Divas won on Lantau Team no show
Game 2 – SCC Divas 122/3 beat CCC 37/8 by 85 runs
May 13 – SCC Divas beat USRC by 90 runs
May 20 Game 2 – SCC Divas 169 beat USRC 128 by 41 runs
Game 4– SCC Divas 126 beat CCC 109 by 17 runs
May 27 Game 1 –SCC Divas 125/5 beat HKCC 76/4 by 49 runs
Game 2 – SCC Divas 157/2 beat CCC 104/1 by 53 run.

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