Over the weekend, cricketers from across the globe joined the Maasai Cricket Warriors and Nairobi’s Obuya Academy for a two day tournament in one of Africa’s greatest wildlife conservation areas to raise awareness of the plight of the near extinct Northern White Rhino.
Established in 2015, the Last Male Standing Rhino Cup saw 12 teams play a total of 22 short format matches, surrounded by wildlife and shadowed by the the snow-capped Mount Kenya to support the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy and Rhino protection campaigns globally.
“There has been a dramatic escalation in rhino poaching in recent years with over 6000 rhinos killed since 2008 across Africa and shockingly there are only three Northern White Rhinos left on the planet.
“The Last Male Standing Rhino Cup is about drawing on the global love for the game of cricket to help combat poaching of the Rhino and help raise much needed funds for Ol Pejeta’s work to pursue stem cell opportunities to save the Northern White Rhino.” – Tournament Director and founder of the Rhino Cup, Rob Stevenson
Along with the Maasai and the two-time winners of the Last Male Standing Rhino Cup, the Obuya Academy (led by Kenyan cricket legend David Obuya), the tournament featured teams from Kenya, the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK), the Australian High Commission and a number of international teams made up of players from cricket clubs from England, South Africa, Australia compete, all supported by the Australian High Commission.
In their first match, the BATUK Pangas were narrowly defeated by the East Africa Cricket Foundation by 3 runs. The For Rangers team then beat them by 6 runs, but they stormed back to victory against the Maasai Cricket Warriors, winning by 60 runs. However, their final game against the Honey Badgers ended in a 1 run defeat.
The British Army (Kenya) team got off to an impressive start with a 90-70 win against the Maasai Cricket Warriors. However, in their second match against Crease Lightning they were 30 runs short of victory. In their final match, Obuya Cricket Academy recorded a narrow 8 run victory over the Army team.
In the final competition table, the BATUK Pangas and the British Army (Kenya) teams finished 7th and 8th respectively with the East Africa Cricket Foundation overall winners.
The CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Richard Vigne, said he welcomed seeing cricketers from all corners of the world take over an area usually frequented by wildlife for a weekend to shine a spotlight on the conservancy.
“The plight that currently faces the northern white rhinos is a signal to the impact that humankind is having on many thousands of other species across the planet.
“Ultimately, our aim is to reintroduce a viable population of northern white rhino back into the wild, which is where their true value will be realised, and the Rhino Cup is a great initiative to support this.”
– CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Richard Vigne
The event organisers’ fundraising target is $15,000 (Ksh 1million) to support Ol Pejeta and The East Africa Cricket & Education Foundation, which helps transforms the lives of thousands of disadvantaged young Africans through sport and education.
All money raised from the event including player entry fees and public donations will be shared between the two organisations and donations can be still be made via the Rhino Cup’s GoFundMe page.