Photo Credit: SA20 League
Betway SA20’s commitment to improve all aspects of the game in South Africa shattered new ceilings this past weekend with the inaugural Betway SA20 U19 Women’s camp held in Tshwane. The camp, in collaboration with Cricket South Africa, is a mentoring project designed to upskill and support emerging women’s cricket talent in South Africa.
Twenty-six young players were hand-picked to receive professional and mental conditioning coaching from some of the country’s top coaches, including Women’s National Academy head coach Dinesha Devnarain and Australian legend and double ICC Women’s World Cup winner, Julia Price.
The first camp, held at the Cricket South Africa Centre of Excellence, was an overwhelming success with the second intake scheduled for March 2024.
Betway SA20 League Commissioner, Graeme Smith, believes the camps are a significant strategic attempt to accelerate the growth of women’s cricket in South Africa in its bid to launch a first-ever Women’s Betway SA20 in the near future.
“Off the back of the success of the first season of Betway SA20, the long-term vision is to launch a fully-fledged women’s event in the future,” Smith explained.
“It was an exceptional year for women’s cricket, with the first-ever Women’s U19 World Cup here in South Africa, the Proteas Women reaching the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and the start of the CSA Professional Domestic Women’s League. We felt we wanted to target this under-19 group to upskill them so that when we launch a women’s League in a few years we have top class local talent to supplement the international players. We received great feedback from the players and coaches alike and can’t wait for the next camp planned for next year.”
Price, who is no stranger to South Africa, shared Smith’s enthusiasm and was equally excited about the talent on display over the four days.
“It’s really exciting to see what’s coming up in the future of South African women’s cricket. I was lucky enough to be at the first-ever Women’s Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, so I got a little bit of an insight into what’s happening here in South Africa,” Price said.
“The fact that they’ve got this talent camp happening is allowing the girls to really show their skill sets. To have a group of past players, male and female, coaching them and being able to be seen in this pathway allows them to aspire to be whatever they want to be in the future.”
South Africa U19 wicketkeeper/batter, Karabo Meso, was one the stars of the ICC U19 World Cup on home soil earlier this year, and now having benefited from being exposed to high-quality coaching from the camp, the 16-year-old is thrilled about all the potential opportunities in the future.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn from some of the best local and international coaches,” Meso said. “Learning from South Africans and Australians is a good combination, you are able to get the best of both worlds. If we were to have a Women’s T20 League it would help to promote women’s cricket and it would be a great opportunity for us youngsters coming up and something exciting to work towards.”
SA20 U19 WOMEN’S TRAINING CAMP SQUAD:
Tlotlo Bogatsu (Glencore North West Dragons), Iman Bonnasse (Eastern Province), Jemma Botha* (Western Province), Fay Cowling (DP World Lions), Jae-Leigh Filander (Western Province), Erika Gates (Recon Tactical Free State), Janicke Janse van Rensburg (Fidelity Titans), Alexia Kontopirakis (Western Province), Koketso Lesenyego (Glencore North West Dragons), Simone Lourens* (Fidelity Titans), Jenna-Lee Lubbe (DP World Lions), Mpumelelo Mashiloane (Eastern Storm), Karabo Meso* (DP World Lions), Shelfa Mkhari (Limpopo Impalas), Nomfundo Mthombeni (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Seshnie Naidu* (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Nthabiseng Nini* (Glencore North West Dragons). Leani Swanepoel (DP World Lions), Melissa van der Merwe (Boland), Mia-Lize van der Vyver (Boland), Diedre van Rensburg (Glencore North West Dragons), Mieke van Voorst (Eastern Storm), Ashleigh van Wyk (Eastern Storm), Jane Verhage (Fidelity Titans), Hannah-Leigh Warner (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Sinelethu Yaso (Western Province)
* Represented the SA U19s at the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 held in South Africa