Former Virden resident Jeanine Allers has recently been a part of Manitoba cricketing history – and she aspires to do more.
Dona and Norman Barrate’s daughter coached the first all-female team to compete in the Manitoba Cricket Association’s High School Jamboree. The team was formed at Crocus Plains Regional High School in Brandon and faced primarily male competitors.
“During the tournament they were always positive and gave their all,” said Rivers resident Allers. “It was really amazing to watch, and I was very proud of their growth and their love for the game.”
The Crocus Plains players hope to continue developing their cricketing skills with a new women’s development team for Manitoba through the Westman Cricket Association. Allers was approached last summer by MCA’s Ron Dipchand to start a women’s program in the Westman area.
“We kick off in a few weeks when our equipment arrives from MCA,” Allers said. “He is welcome to all and would love to accommodate all women of any skill level.”
The Crocus Plains team grew out of the enrollment of 11 female student-athletes in high school cricket at the school. Allers’ partner Paul Ziesmann had coached cricket at Crocus Plains in the past. Jeff Kasprick, who runs the school’s cricket program, told her that many girls were interested.
“When I heard about the interest from Team Crocus, it was natural to work with these ladies and grow as a team,” Allers said, noting that she immediately knew she wanted to be a part of the team. program.
Kasprick told her that when the girls learned there would be a female coach, “interest grew because it can be very intimidating to play on a boys’ team.” At first, a curtain was used in the gymnasium to separate boys and girls in training. The skills and confidence of their women’s team have grown.
“Their growth in a few months has been really amazing,” Allers said. “We started with tennis balls, indoor balls and moved on to hard balls. They knew that to be part of this tournament they had to grow fast and they rose to the challenge. At the end of May, we started to slowly mix with the men’s teams for half of training to give them a chance to see what they would be up against in the tournament. Soon, the idea of facing the men’s teams did not faze them.
She said, “We had a cheer we were going to do, which was ‘Chak De’, which means ‘we can do it’ (in Hindi)”
Allers grew up playing cricket in the program that his father, a longtime educator at Virden Collegiate Institute, founded. In middle school and high school, she played “kanga ball”, a variation that uses soft plastic balls, plastic wickets, and bats. She later played the hardball version of the sport for the Virden/Westman team. Allers and his sister, Maryse Catagas, represented their country at an international tournament in Grenada in 2002.
His father founded the Westman Cricket Association in 1994. He had also pushed MCA to involve VCI students in regulation cricket, rather than kanga ball. Finally, a pitch was developed.
Allers has long given back to cricket. In high school, she coached a Virden Junior High team. Allers then coached women’s cricket in Winnipeg with her sister.
Anyone interested in the development of the Westman women’s team can check out the WCA Facebook page for more information or contact Allers at [email protected] All ages are encouraged to register.