Rashad Banna (New Age)
The Ireland men's cricket team might be out of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 but all is not lost for the Irish fans at the moment.
They can now look forward to the Ireland women's cricket team who begin their campaign against New Zealand at Sylhet Divisional Stadium on Tuesday.
The Irish men's side made an agonising exit from the tournament after suffering a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Netherlands three days ago at the same venue. But the fans can console themselves knowing that the Ireland women's side are all set to begin their adventure in an ICC T20 competition for the very first time.
They qualified for the event in Bangladesh after defeating Netherlands, of all sides, in a thrilling play-off tie last year in July. And skipper Isobel Joyce on Sunday said that they will target wins in all of their games, something that the men's team were unable to do.
'We are targeting winning every match. We will obviously need to start well from day one and you also need a little bit of luck. We will hopefully be able to do that,' Isobel told New Age after practice at Sylhet District Stadium.
Isobel, often referred to as Izzy, is the captain of her side. A right-handed batsman and left-arm medium pacer by trade, Isobel made her debut when she was just 15 years old. She has gone on to take part in more than 100 matches for the Irish women's national team and she admitted that it was a great honour.
'It's obviously a great honour. I am pretty chuffed that I am in the Ireland national team. I didn't even think about it when I started. And the number of matches just increased over the years,' said Isobel, who also retains an interest in hockey and sub-editing.
'We played against India I remember , didn't get a wicket. It wasn't the greatest memory but when you're 15 you don't have any fear. You don't worry too much about the outcome. I played with freedom,' said the 31-year old skipper.
Cecelia Joyce, Isobel's twin sister, is also an integral member of the women's side. When she remarked that a team can be drafted from the Joyce clan, she wasn't too far off.
Jimmy and Maureen Joyce have five sons and twin daughters who play – Cecelia and Isobel – and all of them went to play cricket domestically and in the international level.
While Johnny and Damian featured for different Irish clubs, Ed, Gus and Dominick established themselves as Ireland internationals with Ed still playing for the national side.
Cecelia, a right-handed batsman and a legbreak bowler, counted herself lucky to have such a family who took pride in their cricket connection.
'I think we are really lucky to have such a big family. We can pretty much get a team in. We used to have an annual match but we had to stuff that out because we are actually quite busy. We just have great fun,' recalled Cecelia.
'It is good fun but you always have to do so much practice. Sometimes you want to sit inside and read a book but you're not allowed to do that when you have a twin sister.
'We have five brothers and two of them didn't play for Ireland but did play club cricket. We were pretty nerdy about each other's techniques. Used to play a lot in our backyard,' she said.
Cecelia though admitted that the Joyce family is going through a bit of a rough time right now owing to Ed and the team's departure from the tournament. 'I talked with Ed. He said Netherlands played well and beat them on the day so obviously the guys are a bit disappointed. They played better than us so yeah, he was a bit disappointed,' said Cecelia.
'I'm sure they did not field as well as they would have liked to. When you play international sports sometimes you get beaten on a day when the other side plays a really good game so you take that in the locker and move on.
'Obviously we are all a bit disappointed and for the boys in general. My mom just said to Ed that you need to get back to your babies. And that's what said as well,' she said