Crouch End join cricketing and cultural exchange programme

Tonya Martin has joined Crouch End CC

Tonya Martin has joined Crouch End CC - Credit: Crouch End CC

These are exciting times at Crouch End Cricket Club, with the addition of Tonya Martin, a young fast bowler from Antigua.

Tonya, after being given the all clear from quarantine, has joined the club as part of an annual reciprocal cricketing and cultural exchange programme that has been set up between cricket clubs in the UK, the Antiguan High Commission in London, and Ministry of Sport in Antigua.

The aim is for young people aged 21 and under to play cricket and experience the different cultures, and hopefully make lifelong friends in both countries. 

Crouch End CC are the first London club to be involved in the programme, and Tonya, the first young women to benefit.

Antiguan high commissioner Karen-Mae Hill said: “The minister of sports, Hon Daryll Matthew, and I are delighted to support this exchange programme and eager to build an annual relationship with Crouch End CC.

"We are particularly thrilled that a female player has been given the opportunity this year. Only one Antiguan and Barbudan female has played for West Indies and we hope that Tonya might be the second.

"Antigua and Barbuda has a long and proud tradition in cricket having knighted four of our cricketing greats – Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Anderson Roberts, Sir Curtly Ambrose and Sir Richie Richardson.

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"We are a small nation but have made our mark in cricket. We hope to also welcome cricketers and teams from Crouch End to Antigua and Barbuda.”

Following, an initial link made by CECC first-team coach Simon Jackson and developed by director of cricket Omar Khan, with work by Keith Williams at Keyworth CC in Nottinghamshire, Tonya arrived into Covid quarantine in late April.

She joined first-team training this week, following successful early release tests, and had hoped to play her first game on Saturday, though the weather sadly intervened.

Tonya who has Shai Hope, Jimmy Anderson and Ben Stokes as her cricketing heroes, was able to play in Crouch End Women’s (CrEW) historic first ever league outing in the inaugural round of games of the Derick Morgan Women’s T20 league at the Park Road ground.

CrEW captain Monika Temple said: “It was a really good game with some amazing individual performances that helped the team to perform at its best.

"Tonya was an inspirational presence helping our players to believe in themselves. She’s a high-class player with a personality to match.” 

Crouch End chairman Ritesh Patel said: “It’s an honour to be involved in this programme and to welcome Tonya to the club, especially as our women and girl’s section goes from strength to strength.

"Their first league game for the club is a historic step forward for the club, and it is great for us to further extend our teams with a talented young cricketer from Antigua and Barbuda.

"The diversity of CECC is what makes this club special, and we want Tonya to feel a part of the Crouch End family and local community supporting our young women players particularly.

"It’s a great time to be a member of CECC and we’re sure we’re going to see some great things across the club this season."

Tonya didn’t disappoint, taking 2 for 25, getting a run out, and scoring 40 in a win for the CrEW against a strong Stoke Newington side who scored 124 for 8 in their innings.

Crouch End chased this down in 19 overs scoring 125 for 4, with Tejal Shah carrying her bat for 15 not out.

That result completed a great weekend for Crouch End who opened their league account with three victories in the games to survive the early morning downpours.

Crouch End 1st XI saw off a strong Shepherds Bush team by three runs after posting 163ao in their allotted 29 overs.

Jalpesh Vijay starting the season strongly, with 57, supported by a quickfire 26 from Viren Patel on his league debut.

Shepherds Bush could only reach 160 for 9, with Sejil Ramniclal claiming 4 for 21 as Crouch End prevailed in a nail-biting finish. 

The 2nd XI saw off Acton who posted 192 for 5 in their scheduled 37 overs, which Crouch End chased down in 35.2 overs scoring 195 with Rishi Batra scoring 68 and the returning Neel Gandhi scoring an unbeaten 85* bringing the N8 side home by 6 wickets. 

The 3rd XI completed the wins for Crouch End in their visit to Harrow Town after posting 201 for 8 in their 42 overs thanks to a sparkling 58 not out by Shreeraj Chauhan.

They bowled out the Harrow side for 163 in 36 overs with Krupesh Bala taking 4 for 26 and skipper Ollie Day finishing with 4 for 45 to bring a 37 runs win. 

The 4ths, 5ths, and 6ths games all fell victim to the weather.