Last updated: June 14, 2012 10:29 pm
Anyone for cricket? Canada's other national sport
WINDSOR (CUP) — It’s Canada’s other national sport.
Cricket was given that distinction by none other than Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, in 1867.
At that time, it was quite a popular sport in the Dominion, with the first recorded game played nearly 100 years earlier, in 1785, at Ile-Ste-Helene in Montreal.
The Toronto Cricket Club was founded in 1827 and, arguably, the first modern-era international sports competition was a cricket match between Canada and the U.S. played from September 24-26, 1844.
The sport lost favour with the advent of baseball, but it’s never been decommissioned as a national sport. And while it’s popularity is currently on a low ebb locally, it is still enjoys success in the Toronto area.
The Windsor cricket scene isn’t what it used to be according to Curtis Springer, former captain and current president of the Windsor Cavaliers Cricket Club of the Southern Ontario Cricket Association.
There are currently seven teams in the league, but when Springer arrived from the Barbados in 1996 there were roughly 16-17 teams vying for the championship.
“Most of the cricket in this area is played in Toronto and the price of gas now — expensive travel,” Springer said. “Also, they started a league four years ago in Detroit that is drawing players from here. Most of the players [in Detroit] can’t come [to Canada] due to the effects of 9/11. It’s tougher to cross the border.”
In a waning period, perhaps, but the sport in Windsor was enough of a draw for first-year University of Windsor student Kudzaishe Matare. Matare, a fast bowler in his second year with the Cavaliers, hails from Zimbabwe where he played at a professional level.
He would love to see the game grow in Windsor. So much so, that he and other Cavaliers/University of Windsor students are trying to drum up interest in establishing a Lancers cricket team.
It’s just in the talking stage, but the group of hopefuls envision getting a team together for the 2013 season of the Canadian Inter-Universities and College Cricket League.
“We’re just talking about it and hoping people respond possibility to it and have something for next year … something competitive. We hear there is a lot of competition in the league.”
Okay, so what is cricket, you say? It’s known as little more than a strange form of baseball to most Canadians.
“Cricket is similar to baseball,” explained Springer. “Baseball originated from cricket. There are a lot rules and rules are added every year to keep it competitive.”
One of the senior members of the team, Oswald Ward, has been with the Cavaliers for the past 35 years. He feels the simplest way to learn the game is to simply watch it in action.
“The first step is to come on out,” Ward said. “We have a lot of guys here that are willing to help. We have practice nets here — we have pretty good facilities here at Jackson Park. And anyone that is interested, we always have guys here like myself, a lot of senior guys that are willing to help out.”