Ave Mogan made history in 1980 as a 17-year-old by becoming the first female player to participate in the Toronto & District Cricket Association (TDCA) competitions.
Three decades later, she will captain the first ever women’s team to compete in the league.
Kaisoca Ladies Cricket Club will play its first match on May 15 in the fourth division competition.
“This is quite a landmark achievement,” said Mogan who has been at the forefront of promoting women’s cricket for the last 30 years. “Our women cricketers need to play regularly and in a league with a consistent schedule. Playing against the men will certainly help us achieve that goal, and be competitive against the rest of the women teams in the world.”
Canada hosts the United States in a three-match tournament in July with the winner advancing to the World Cup qualifying competition next year.
“The majority of the players selected for that series will be competing in the league, so this will give them an opportunity to hone their skills and be ready for the Americans,” said Mogan who attempted to get a women’s team in the TDCA league two years ago.
That attempt was thwarted when Mogan deemed the Dufferin Reservoir venue — allocated to the side to play its matches — unacceptable.
“It was not accessible for most of the girls and the washrooms were totally undesirable,” she said.
George Maharaj, Mogan’s brother-in-law, revived the idea for the women’s participation in the league.
“This is something that we wanted to do, but the main stumbling block was finding a venue with proper washroom facilities for the ladies,” he said. “The league has settled for Kaisoca to play all of its matches at Sunnybrook Park which has the amenities we were looking for and we are quite happy with that and ready to play ball.”
Maharaj said most of the players have been training for the past eight months under national coach George Codrington. A total of eight players have been on the national team.
“There is great potential in ladies cricket that has not been tapped into,” suggested Maharaj. “They can play, but they need a lot of match practice.”
Former national player Desmond Chumney is the team’s batting and bowling coach while ex-Caribbean Limers gloveman Randy Haynes will assist with the wicketkeeping duties.
“Some of the things the coaches have been working on is the running between wickets, catching, throwing under arm and the elimination of wides and no balls,” added Maharaj. “This is part of an overall strategy to ensure that the girls are competitive and that they finish the season.”
Nominated for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Best Women’s Cricket Initiative award five years ago for promoting the game beyond its traditional borders, Mogan is one of three women players with TDCA league experience. The others are all-rounder Monali Persaud who plays for Spartan Superstars in the third division and middle-order batsman Monali Patel who has spent the past two seasons with Tranzac in the second and fourth divisions.
Mogan, who turns 47 in October, represented Caribbean Limers for 15 seasons in the TDCA league, winning four straight bowling titles. She also spent a decade with Pegasus, playing alongside former West Indies player and Canadian coach Larry Gomes and Canadian players Sunil Dhaniram and Austin Codrington.
Prior to coming to Canada, Mogan turned out for Guyana as a 14-year-old in the 1977 West Indies competition.
She will be at the captain’s roundtable tonight for the release of this season’s schedule. The meeting takes place at the Sports Alliance of Ontario complex, starting at 7 p.m.