The K. A. Auty Cup between the men’s teams of Canada and the USA is being revived.
The rivalry dates all the way back to 1844, when the Canadians visited New York for a two-day match which, in front of an estimated 20,000 spectators, became the first-ever international sporting fixture. With a 23-run Canadian victory in the first encounter, and a 65-run triumph in the rematch at Montreal a year later, cricket so captured the imagination of the Canadian public that by 1867, the first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald declared it the national sport. A trophy was donated by Chicago cricket enthusiast Karl André Auty, and for over 150 years since, the North American rivalry has been known as the Auty Cup.
The modern incarnation of the trophy has been a slightly more sporadic affair, with the last edition being 2017’s triumph for the USA, so the news of its return is a welcome development on both sides of the 49th Parallel. Currently set to be held in Canada between July 26-30, the series will fit in after the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier, which is scheduled for the 17-23rd of July.
With neither team having played any international cricket for over a year due to the ongoing global pandemic, the three-match 50-over series will serve as preparation in the one-day format for the two sides’ planned August fixtures: the USA hosting Scotland and the UAE in a tri-series for the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2, and Canada hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League Group A. The Auty Cup and subsequent tournaments are all, as ever, subject to approval by the relevant government and health authorities.
🏏The oldest international sporting rivalry between any two countries, in any sport, is BACK!🔥— USA Cricket (@usacricket) March 9, 2021
Canada🇨🇦 vs USA🇺🇸 in the Auty Cup, which dates back to the very first ever international cricket match in 1844, will return from July 26-30 in Canada🙌
MORE➡️ https://t.co/w1UZRWgMEr pic.twitter.com/79lxJSx6vz
Germany and France announce five match T20 international series
Across the Atlantic, and another famous sporting rivalry is set to play out on the cricket field, with Germany’s DCB announcing a five-match women’s T20I series against France in July.
It will be the first time that the Golden Eagles meet the Dames de France in an official T20I, and it will also be an early test of the DCB’s new national performance centre in the Northwestern city of Krefeld.
Completed late last year, the centre boasts upgraded outdoor facilities and indoor training capabilities, which has allowed the DCB to host more international matches within Europe.
The series against France will also serve as preparation for both sides ahead of the European qualifiers in August within the ICC event pathway to the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup. The series is expected to be hotly contested, with the teams just five places apart on the MRF Tyres ICC Rankings table - Germany at 25 and France at 30.
Nigeria continues forward momentum
Moving to Africa, and this week has seen a flurry of activity in Nigeria, with the governing body (NCF) announcing staff changes, domestic tournament dates and new development efforts.
Thursday saw the commencement of a kit distribution project around the country, with the NCF having received a shipment of children’s cricket sets donated from Australia earlier in the year. The project, as part of the NCF’s Accelerated Growth Programme, aims to introduce the sport to 200,000 children around the country each year, and sees the NCF start handing out the donated starter kits to grassroots organisations in each of the nation’s six geopolitical regions.
On Saturday, the NCF welcomed Seye Olympio onto the support team as the fitness and conditioning for the national men’s team. A former Yellow-Green himself, Olympio represented Nigeria 68 times in a decade-long career between 2008 and 2018, as well as making numerous appearances at underage level, and he played as an allrounder, batting in the middle order and contributing some useful seam bowling.
And later on Sunday the NCF also confirmed the dates for its planned National Championships in men’s and women’s cricket, with the events being rearranged over recent months due to the COVID-19 situation in Nigeria. Hosted in the southern state of Edo, the men’s event will run from the 19th until the 31st of March, with 8 state-based teams playing matches across both T20 and 50-over formats. The women’s event is currently planned for the 16th-19th of April, with 6 teams playing exclusively T20 cricket.
Nigeria employs fitness and conditioning coach— Nigeria Cricket Federation (@cricket_nigeria) March 12, 2021
SEYE OLYMPIO, a former Nigeria International with an illustrious career of over 10 years with the Yellow Greens, have been engaged with the Federation on a full time bases as Fitness and Conditioning coach for the National Team. pic.twitter.com/bleaYdJLga
Vanuatu appoints Cutler as new CEO
Finally, the Vanuatu Cricket Association announced some exciting news for Emerging Cricket, with founder Tim Cutler revealed as the VCA’s new CEO over the weekend. Cutler’s appointment comes amidst a series of shuffles at the Pacific nation, where new coach Jeremy Bray is currently in hotel quarantine and previous CEO Shane Dietz has recently left for the Netherlands (where he takes on the role of women’s coach).
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