Walsh tops 2013 class of inductees
When the Cricket Hall of Fame holds its induction ceremony this year, former West Indies captain and renowned fast bowler Courtney Walsh will top the class of inductees. He will be joined by another former West Indies player Desmond Lewis, wicket-keeper, batsman and five other local individuals, Alcious Watson of Hartford, Connecticut, Dr. Mohamed Ali, Roy Reid, Venelda Wallace of New York and Mavis Johnson of Georgia, who will be honored for making outstanding contributions to the sport in the U.S.
The ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, October 5, at the Hilton Hotel, downtown Hartford.
Walsh who represented the West Indies from 1984-2001, is best known for a remarkable opening bowling partnership with fellow West Indian Curtly Ambrose for several years and for holding the record of most Test wickets from 2000, after he broke the record of Kapil Dev. The record was later broken in 2004 by Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka.
Former West Indian wicket-keeper batsman, Lewis, who has distinguished himself in every facet of the game, has exemplified and continues to exemplify what it means to be a sportsman in general and a cricketer in particular. His contributions to the game and his impact on his contemporaries and various individuals especially in Atlanta where he now resides are legendary and self evident.
Watson, who began playing cricket in the U.S. in 1971, is one of the founders of the Connecticut Cricket League. The first secretary of the League, he played a major role in the establishment of a field in the city of New Britain, Connecticut.
One who has been described as one of the small giants in the grassroots level of the cricket fraternity, Dr. Mohamed Ali has made outstanding contributions to the development of the sport in the U.S. especially towards the youths.
Reid an entrepreneur, philanthropist and cricketer has devoted much of his youth and adult life to the game delighting fans and players alike. Originally from Jamaica, Reid who now lives in New York played a major role in the elevation of the sport in the Tri-state area by organizing competitive matches between teams from other states and outside the country.
A very respected ‘cricket manager that you don’t mess with,’ Wallace who was born in Brooklyn but grew up in Jamaica, got involved with the sport in 1998 and has since and has since gave a great amount of contributions to nearly all the cricket organizations in New York. A very instrumental and vital individual in the sport to the New York region, she was involved in the formation of the first women’s cricket team in the U.S.
Described as a female cricket administrator in a class by of her own, Johnson has served the game for over 35 years. She was the first woman to serve on any executive committee in the game of cricket in the U.S.
Old Mac Exchange Sports Club cricket team from Trinidad poses for a picture at Keney Park
Trinidadian cricketers pay tribute to the late Keith Carr Sr.
Members of the Trinidad & Tobago Old Mac Exchange Sports Club, who were invited to New York by the Melbourne New York Alliance Sports & Cultural Club to be the guest of honor at a celebration to mark the island’s 51st independence anniversary in Manhattan, New York, which was hosted by their Consul General on Saturday, August 31, paid a visit to Hartford on Thursday, August 29.
While here the visitors received an official welcome at City Hall from Councilman David MacDonald and President Shawn Wooden. The Council members posed for photos with the group, and presented them with a signed copy of a book on the city, along with "Hartford Has It" merchandise.
Following the reception at City Hall, they were taken on a tour of the city. At its conclusion, the group which also consisted of a youthful cricket team then journeyed to Keney Park where they took on a local team in a very exciting match. Before the start of the match, the two teams gathered for a moment of silence in tribute to the late Keith L. Carr Sr., who the coach of the Old Mac team Mulchan Lewis explained was instrumental in establishing an exchange program between the city and the club some years ago. This was the main reason why we were here, he said.
After the game they were taken to the Sportmen’s Athletic Club, where a brief reception and presentation was made in their honor. Each member of the club was presented with a citation from the City Council and a button from the Cricket Hall of Fame. At the conclusion they then paid a tour of the Hall of Fame which is located next door.
Before beginning their journey back to New York, Coach Lewis expressed his thanks for the hospitality and said that he is happy that Hartford has managed to keep their cricket program intact.
Connecticut Cricket League's 2013 champions Sportmen's Athletic Club
Records tumble as Sportmen’s retain cricket championship
Aided by a number of drop catches, Sportmen’s Athletic Club racked up the record score of 374 for four wickets then fought back strongly to stave off a determined bid by Bloomfield Caribbean to get the runs to return as champions of the Connecticut Cricket League.
The large crowd which showed up for the game that was played in Keney Park on Sunday, August 24, and covered by CP-TV Sports, was treated to an exciting display of power hitting from both teams as Bloomfield Caribbean in their reply made 322 runs.
Paving the way for Sportmen’s was opener Oneil “Popeye” Powell, who in his usual aggressive manner launched a blistering attack on Bloomfield Caribbean’s bowlers right from the start of the innings and ended up scoring a record 193 not out. Powell who hit 13 sixes and 14 fours, delighted the crowd with a spectacular display of hitting of the ball all over the field.
One-down batsman Dave Wallace, who was involved in a partnership with Powell of 173 runs, shared in the exciting spectacle by scoring 82 runs.
Other Sportmen’s batsmen to score in double figures were Dennis Evans 32, Rohan Alexander 20 and Bruce Blackwood 15.
Taking the wickets for Bloomfield Caribbean were Sean Edwards 1 for 26, captain Everton Nelson 1for 56, Chevon McLean 1 for 57 and Rawl Carryl 1 for 62.
With such a huge score on the board most fans were of the opinion that this would have been an easy win for Sportmen’s. However, the Bloomfield Caribbean’s batsmen came out with a very determined attitude and taking advantage of Sportmen’s fielders who followed the same pattern as Bloomfield Caribbean by also dropping a number of catches, raced to 76 runs before losing their first wicket, Kevin Baugh for 36.
In came skipper Nelson, who started out quietly, then shared in the spotlight by launching an attack just like Powell, hitting the bowlers that he faced all over the field and raced to 92 off 62 balls, which included eight sixes and four fours. He got out caught near the boundary as he went for another big hit. Nelson got good assistance from opener Nick Hay, who played a very steady innings scoring a very enterprising 74 runs, before he fell to an easy catch after he developed cramps which kept him from moving to the ball in the correct manner.
At one time, Bloomfield Caribbean was well ahead of the scoring rate that caused many to think that they were going to come out as the winners. This did not happen however. With the exception of Jonathan Bonner, who scored a very spirited 71, all the other batsmen failed to either spend some reasonable time at the wicket or produce any good amount of runs. The only other batsman to reach double figures was Dwayne Henry 10.
Leading wicket takers for Sportmen’s were Dennis Evans 4 for 42 and Dave Wallace 3 for 60. Blackwood took 1 for 45 and Delroy Nelson 1 for 49.
At the end of the game, most of the fans in attendance expressed their satisfaction of having the opportunity to witness the exciting and historical game. Many left congratulating Sportmen’s for retaining the championship but said that the real winner of the day was the sport of cricket.
CRICKET IN AMERICA! WHAT A ‘SILLY POINT’?
By JAY PATEL
That is the first thing that comes to mind when one speaks of Cricket and America in the same breath, more like an oxymoron. What many are blissfully unaware of (including me) is that the English game arrived here early on with the settlers. Jamestown, Virginia which was settled in 1607 reported ball games as early as 1609, and the first recorded reference comes from Governor Bradford of Plymouth, Massachusetts who took away ‘implements’ from new recruits who were recent arrivals to the colonies in 1622, as they were found playing, ‘stool ball and other such sports’, Cricket maybe?
The earliest reference to a possible game of Cricket was found in 1656 in New Netherlands (Manhattan Island) which was as the name suggest was a Dutch settlement (Hartford, Connecticut was also first settled by the Dutch and a fort was built here called ‘House of Hope’) and here a strict Sabbath Law was passed that fined one pound Flemish for, “playing ball, cricket, tennis, ninepins, dancing, drinking” etc. The next Cricket reference comes from the James River Plantation in Virginia in 1709 where William Byrd (founder of Richmond) who kept a dairy makes the following note, “I rose at 6 o'clock and read a chapter in Hebrew. About 10 o'clock Dr. Blair, and Major and Captain Harrison came to see us. After I had given them a glass of sack we played cricket. I ate boiled beef for my dinner. Then we played at shooting with arrows and went to cricket again till dark."
Wherever the British went Cricket followed, so it should have been no surprise to find that America has a very old and rich Cricket history, and the first ever ‘International’ match between two countries started in 1844, and who would be that other country – Canada! No its’ not the English and the Australians, but the US and Canadian series which predates it by more than 30 years.1859 saw the first English team set sail for Canada and America to play matches with teams in Philadelphia and New York. Philadelphia was to become the cradle of American Cricket which produced one of the greatest American Cricketer in John Barton King at the turn of the century. He has the distinction of taking the wicket of Ranjitsinhji in the very first delivery and that was the only time when he was bowled out in the first ball. After the English came the Australians followed by the Irish Cricketers and the first West Indian team to travel overseas was in 1886, and teams from Philadelphia and Canada also made trips to Ireland and England, though not a single trip was made to Australia.
Cricket and Baseball went side by side before the Civil War
Before the civil war in 1861 Cricket and Baseball went side by side but after the war, Baseball took hold and gradually became the American ball game. But here is the sixer, or a home run in this context – Baseball is also an English game! Albert Spalding the player and businessman in his patriotic zeal, wanted to prove that baseball was an American invention and set up a commission to do so, and came up with Abner Doubleday as the inventor of Baseball. Henry Chadwick who is now known as the Father of Baseball and Spalding’s friend commented that as a kid growing up in England he had played rounders which was similar to baseball. A recent find discovered by David Block, has come to light in the form of a physical fitness book from 1796 describing the ‘English game of Baseball” and of all things, it is a German book, “Spiele zur Uebung und Erholung”.
There were more than 400 clubs at one time in America, and they were all over from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Virginia, Georgia and as far as New Orleans. Detroit, Chicago, St Louis, Washington State then down the coast to California. The demise of Cricket in America is attributed to a number of reasons, a few being that it took 2 days to complete a game whereas a baseball game was over in less than 4 hours with results and the pace was more suited to the American psyche. The Cricket matches would not start till noon and the players would also be late in commencing a game and too much time was spent in taking breaks etc. The ‘English eliteness’ also contributed to its decline and till the turn of the century, there was lot of detailed press coverage which gradually tapered off in the early 1900s which basically made it, ‘out of sight out of mind’.
A variation to Cricket existed mainly in Connecticut called Wicket which lasted for almost 300 years and the peak period was around the Civil War and the most watched rivalry was between Bristol and New Britain! Wicket had 30 players on each team, the bat was tubular at the bottom and a softball size ball was rolled along the ground on the pitch that was referred to as the ‘alley’ and the player had to defend the wicket which was just 3 or 4 inches off the ground and about 6 feet wide. Windsor Historical Society has a Wicket bat and ball on display along with a few pictures. A Cambridge educated English clergyman who came to America in the 1850’s claimed that Wicket was the ancient form of Cricket that was played during the reign of King Charles the First in 1600! The last time a game of Wicket was played, was in Newington in the 1950s.
I started writing on American Cricket history after acquiring a great collection and it has been a wonderful journey and it has taken me 3 years of non-stop writing/research to finish my book, “Flannels on the Sward, History of Cricket in Americas,” which should be out by October on Amazon in B&W, Color and eBook.
CRICKET HALL OF FAME/MAQ
SET FOR SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2013
AT KENEY PARK, HARTFORD, CT
SAME DAY AS THE INDUCTION CEREMONY
CRICKET HALL OF FAME
HAS NEW PHONE NUMBER
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL OUR
DIRECTOR MICHAEL CHAMBERS AT (860) 250- 2796
OR STAN WALKER, PR DIRECTOR AT (860) 243-5314
Click here to see the interview with NBC for the Cricket Hall of Fame.
Cricketers say thanks for renovations of Keney Park field
Members of the Connecticut Cricket League, Inc., and the Cricket Hall of Fame took time out on Thursday, July 25, to thank Hartford’s Mayor Pedro Segarra, Department of Public Works Superintendent Kevin Burnham and all the other officials who had a role in the renovations of the south cricket field in Keney Park. In the earlier years, the field was looked upon as the best one in the country
At the brief ceremony which was held in the park, George Steir, Coordinator of the Keney Park Cricket Liaison Committee, told the mayor that words cannot express how the cricketers feel about the present condition of the field. “We now have a wonderful facility to play the game. It was job well done,” he said.
Mayor Segarra in responding said that he was happy that they are pleased with what has been done to the field. “If people come together we can get things done,” he said. “I would like to keep the sport growing in the community. Any good thing in the park needs to be grounded in the community,” he added, and promised that he will work towards developing all the parks in the city and will make sure that they are safe for our youths.
In offering his thanks to all the people who are involved with what is taking place in the city’s parks, Segarra promised to continue to maintain and build more fields in the city that will be able to accommodate the people who live in the communities. “I am approachable, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any help,” he said.
“We are appreciative of the mayor stepping up to get the work done in the park,” Friends of Keney Vice President Henry Hester, said. “We are looking forward to bring more activity into the park and will work to make the younger generation understand the process in which the parks operate. Young people are different, but they are all the same,” he said.
Director of the Cricket Hall of Fame Michael Chambers in expressing how pleased he was about the renovations of the field said that because of this effort he has been able to obtain sponsorship of over $10,000 to hold a T20 Tournament in the park in October. “I am positive that the tournament from which a team will be selected to participate in a $100,000 tournament in Florida, will draw fans from not just other parts of the state but out of state as a team from Massachusetts will be taking part.
“Though many may not be aware, the sport is very beneficial to the economy of the city,” he said. “Each year teams from out of state, some as far away as Canada, come here by the bus loads, stay in area hotels, and spend cash in the clubs and local businesses in the city.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony they moved onto the field where Mayor Segarra and Councilman Kenneth Kennedy cut the ribbon to officially open the newly renovated pitch. Segarra also got dressed in cricket outfit and took a strike at a ball that was bowled to him by Burnham.
Cricket is kept alive in the city by immigrants from Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia, India and Pakistan, all former British colonies where the sport which is very popular has become a part of their culture.