Curious about cricket? You can try it yourself this weekend

Radeev Radhakrishnan bats during a recent practice of the Sarnia Cricket Club. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

Sarnians love their hockey, soccer and baseball.

But a sport developed in 16th century England involving games that can last for days also has a small but dedicated following locally.

The 20-member Sarnia Cricket Club meets weekly at Mike Weir Park from May through September, and plays in a six-team Southern Ontario circuit called the United Friendly Cricket League.

Ashane Haynes demonstrates the equipment used by a cricket “batsmen.”
Troy Shantz

“In most of the Commonwealth countries it is popular. Canada is Commonwealth but Canada is more Americanized,” said club president Thiru Kannan.

“If you take any of the Commonwealth countries it will be typically popular — Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.”

The club team is assembled each spring. Anyone can join, men and women, and students receive a discount on the $150 registration fee.

“There aren’t any tryouts, we just hope you’re good and hope you’re happy,” long-time member Dan Ostojic said with a laugh.

Cricket features two 11-player teams and a large, circular field. In the centre is a 20-metre rectangle called the “pitch.” On either end are three wooden “wickets,” or sticks stuck in the ground that stand about three feet high, balancing two small spindles of wood called “bails.”

The offensive team has a batsmen on either ends of the pitch and in front of the wickets.

The defensive team has fielders and a “bowler” and a “wicketkeeper.” The bowler pitches the ball, trying to hit the wickets and dislodge the bails. If successful, the batsmen is out.

The batsmen’s goal is to hit the ball and protect the wicket.

On contact, the batsmen runs to the other end of the pitch, scoring a point each time they reach the opposite side. They can keep running until the ball is returned to the pitch.

Fielders don’t use gloves but batsmen wear pads and a helmet with cage.

“They kind of look like a hockey goalie from the 1950’s, with the pads,” said Ostojic.

With a single seam running along the circumference, a cricket ball is similar in size and desnsity to a regulation baseball. A neon pink version is used for night games.
Troy Shantz

The Cricket club, which is always looking for new players, is hosting a demonstration on Aug. 12.

Newcomers will have the rules explained and then given a chance to play a game of “tennis ball” cricket, with a tennis ball replacing the regulation hard ball.

For more on the club, visit www.sarniacricketclub.ca

 

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Cricket demonstration at the Sarnia Cricket Club

WHEN: Aug. 12, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

WHERE: Mike Weir Park (east end).