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Fairbreak Invitational

Barmy Army proud to play its part in pioneering event

The Barmy Army is proud to have played a major part in the launch of FairBreak Global in 2022 and to see the impact that the initiative has already had on women’s cricket.

FairBreak Global’s mission is to “progress gender equality and equity on a truly global scale, using cricket as our primary vehicle” and that “in doing so, we aim to create opportunities across sport, health, business, media, arts and education to empower women to pursue success in their chosen endeavour”. They hosted their first invitational tournament earlier this year in Dubai and our Barmy Army sponsored team was one of six who took part.

The tournament was the first of its kind to include players from around the world, across both full status ICC nations and associate nations. Paul Burnham, the Barmy Army founder, said “ FairBreak and the Barmy Army are a tremendous fit and working with Shaun and his team has been truly eye opening. As an organisation, we are really excited about being involved with our first branded team and helping promote the world’s best sport globally and, obviously, winning the tournament off the field and on it!”.

The Barmy Army sponsored a squad that had 15 players from 14 different countries, a dynamic that was reflected in the other teams - there were 90 players in total, representing 38 different countries. England legend Lydia Greenway was appointed the Barmy Army coach, and our team included international players Deandra Dottin, Laura Wolvaardt and Fatima Sana was led by World Cup winner and England captain Heather Knight.

Team Barmy Army got off to a winning start, winning our first game by 50 runs. It included a moment that perfectly summed up the spirit of FairBreak, when 19 year old Henriette Ishimwe from Rwanda clean bowled Nicola Carey, the World Cup winner from Australia, a team that is ranked 31 places higher than Rwanda.

The wicket sparked joyful celebrations and was the perfect display of the positive impact of associate nations playing alongside full member nations. Rubina Chhetry, a Barmy Army player from Nepal further echoed that point, saying “A country like Nepal playing here on a big stage is very important, especially for the girls watching back at home. All the girls playing cricket in Nepal now have goals to aim for, looking ahead, and all this is because of FairBreak”.

We unfortunately fell short in the second game despite a magnificent 80* from Deandra Dottin, and our third game was again won convincingly. Although we were pushed right till the end by Team South Coast Sapphires in game number four, we held our nerve to claim victory by 6 runs. Our final group game ended in defeat, but we had done enough to qualify for the semi-finals.

Team Tornadoes were our opponents in the first semi-final, and despite a magnificent bowling spell from Rumuna Ahmed, who returned bowling figures of 3/23, we lost by 4 wickets, ending our bid to become the first ever winners of the FairBreak Invitational.

Team Tornadoes went on to win it, bringing the wonderful tournament where countless memories had been made and new stars found to a close. As Heather Knight said, “I think it is such a unique tournament. I think one of the goals of  FairBreak tournament is to grow the game globally and I think you only do that by bringing up associate nations that don’t usually get the opportunities that some of the top nations do. It’s such a unique mix of players, such a unique tournament, there’s nothing like it in men’s or women’s cricket.”

For the Barmy Army, it was an honour to be involved in a tournament like no other which was a massive step forward for women’s cricket globally, and we can’t wait to be back sponsoring another team in the April 2023 tournament which will take place in Hong Kong!

Find out more about the Fairbreak Invitational 2023 here.

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