Hawks soar over Flamingos in girl's cricket

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Aug 29, 2021
  • Rift Hawks are the new national junior cricket champions. They beat Flamingos in the final. (Photo Courtesy)

  • Quinter Aoko has been one of the outstanding players in the championship. She was the player of the tournament. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

With six current and former under-19 players in their starting eleven, Flamingos were favorites to win last year’s National Junior Girls Championships but fell in the first round.

This year, the squad was solid and with their experienced players in their ranks, they were the favorites to win the title once again.

They began their title ambition with a win over defending champions Rift Hawks. After beating Nairobi’s sides Falcons and Eves, the two Nakuru sides met again. Flamingos beat the champions and booked a place in the finals for the first time.

A win for Hawks over Falcons in their second meeting ensured that Flamingos and Hawks will meet for the third time this year.

And after the performance of Flamingos in their first two meetings, and all their top players like Mary Wambui, Daisy Wairimu, Monica Ndhambi and Esther Wangare on form, Hawks had a slim chance of retaining the title.

But when the two sides met at Sikh Union for the final of the four-day event. Flamingos side boasting such an array of talent were choked by a rejuvenated Hawks to extend their title wait by at least a year.

Flamingo’s total of 79 never looked likely to be enough to trouble Hawks and they timed their chase to perfection, winning by seven wickets with five overs to spare thanks to Veronica Abuga’s swashbuckling display with the bat.

Captain Quinter Aoko and Jane Kanini laid the foundations for the run chase with a stand of 23 runs for the first wicket before Abuga applied the finishing touches with a classy, unbeaten 33 in a fourth wicket of 44 runs with Laura Atieno, taking Hawks past the target with three consecutive boundaries to finish off the match in style.

"I always believed we've got some match-winners in our side," said Aoko, who was named player of the tournament for her 195 runs and 11 catches. "When it mattered in the final, every one of them fired, especially the bowling unit.

‘Vero’ then finished it off brilliantly. We managed to stick on the wicket and build crucial partnerships. The experience in the middle really helped us as well."

Aoko impressed by improved fielders

Aoko praised her bowlers, led by Emily Wambui who took four wickets, for paving the way for victory and was pleased with the improvements in his team's fielding. "The bowlers have been through the mill in the preliminary matches, but all credit for them because they never lost faith.

They have tried really hard and although we could have been a little tighter in the middle in this game, it's great to win",” Aoko said.

Flamingo didn’t have a good show with the bat as only Wambui and Ndambi got double figures as Hawks bowlers ran riot. They lost Wangare in the third over before Wambui and Ndambi added on 32 to get them to 39 for 2 by the time Ndambi was caught off Teresia Wairimu on 12 with the last ball of the 13th over.

Wambui added only one run with Jackline Adhiambo to leave them at 40 for 3 before skipper Daisy Wairimu and Wambui added on 23 for the fourth wicket.

After the dismissal of Wairimu on seven by Emily Wambui, Flamingos lost Mary Aluso and Judith Adhiambo in consecutive balls to remain at 64 for 6 before Mary Wambui saw them past 70 with Nora Awinja and then to 79 in an unbeaten stand with Leah Njeri.

In reply, Aoko scored 15 off 10 balls in a stand of 23 runs with Jane Kanini (6) before Kanini was stumped off Njeri off the last ball of the fourth over. Aoko was was caught and bowled by Daisy Wairimu in the fifth over with the board on 31.

They then lost Charity Tiara on two before Abuga came in and finished the work for her team in style with 33 off 33 balls