Encore for a Letter: “GT20 Finals: Great show…but for some irritants”

Eddie Norfolk provides some edited excerpts about a published letter from Oxfordshire and some of his own thoughts about the 2019 GT20 Canada.
A letter in the September 4, 2019 issue of Indo-Caribbean World about the GT20 finals caught my eye. I struggled to access the online copy and the pages I kept from the printed newspaper were “lost”, tangled various other newspaper excerpts in whatever boxes and containers waiting for a rainy, snowy or sunny day on which to re-surface. But resurface it did and it is well worth sharing and expanding upon some of the issues raised, on the path to improved marketing and showcasing of cricket in Canada, in the letter written by someone who was here from Bicester in Oxfordshire (Oxon), UK visiting relatives.
Mr David Eastwood of Bicester (Oxon) liked the newspaper’s report about Winnipeg Hawks winning the title (August 21, 2019 issue). “Congratulations to the organisers who gave us the opportunity to see so many world class players in action on the excellent turf wicket and outfield. It ws an afternoon to remember with a wonderful atmosphere and the spectators in full party mode.”
Mr. Eastwood then outlined “some things that might have been organized just that little bit better to make a very, very good afternoon perfect.”
Parking Facilities
Important information about parking facilities was not included on the tickets, according to Mr. Eastwood who turned up at the ground at 1.45pm “only to be told there was no parking there.” He went on to mention the need to park at the International Centre and take a shuttle bus to the ground, which he found later to be “buried in the website FAQs.”
There was an apparent lack of signage about where to find the shuttle bus to the cricket after Eastwood had parked at the International Centre but he did make it back to the grounds to see cricket.
I, Eddie Norfolk, must admit I wondered whether an advert about parking at the International Centre that popped up on screen when checking the tournament website was due to viral intercept by some computer hacker or hackers. I tended to check on-the-day when I might pop along to a game or two, depending on the weather (not too hot, not much chance of rain, etc), the mix of teams playing and various things I needed to do.
But someone who booked well in advance, such as Mr. Eastwood, might not be doing a day-of- game website check, so would not have seen what turned out to be a warning about event parking arrangements.
Back at the Ground
The two tier security check proved rather slow as the second security person strayed from the entrance booth around the time Mr Eastwood, family and friends had returned to the CAA grounds on a shuttle bus and were trying to enter the spectator area.
But Mr. Richards was soon a happy camper, his letter revealing: “the cricket was fantastic, as was the music from a fine DJ whose exhortations that we jump up and put our hands in the air were followed vigorously”.
Mr. Eastwood outlined how he has been to Cricket World Cup games in Guyana and the UK as well as the London Olympics and World Paralympics before noting some deficiencies in announcements about who was batting or bowling as well as the limited display range of the main scoreboard that catered for the VIP areas but was not well positioned to serve those in the silver stands and, he adduced, some of the other general public stands. He also mentioned there was only the “one big screen” on which action replays could be seen that was similarly orientated towards the VIP areas.
The 2019 Canada GT20: Some of My Thoughts
I, Eddie Norfolk, did notice, having sat in two or three of the general public stands for some games that there was a small scoreboard beyond the pavilion that those with superb eyesight or some form of long range viewfinder might have been able to read. But for the average person in the public stands who could see that scoreboard it would hard to read, while the pavilion would have hidden the scoreboard from view for those in parts of the public stands.
One notable feature, based on crowd reactions about players that I heard while sitting in the stands, was that little was known by many in the crowd about the Canadian players who were playing. Later you will find Mr. Eastwood’s comments indicate many in the public stands did not realize a potential hero was at the crease clubbing runs in the Final as some chanted for the player to come out and bat.
I would have seen the tournament as an opportunity for Cricket Canada, potentially working hand-in-hand with Cricket Ontario (Cricket Council of Ontario) to have shown a presence in the general public areas with a tent or two plus handouts about the existence and history of cricket in Canada.
Could the gap between Canada playing in the men’s 2011 ICC World Cup in India and the more barren recent years for Canada in the men’s international game was a factor in not making much effort to raise the Canadian cricketing flag in the public areas?
But that kind of thinking neglects the relative success of Canada in the men’s Under-19 ICC Americas World Cup Qualifiers and in actual ICC U19 Cricket World Cup tournaments.
Yashi Sports was waving the flag for the local cricketing scene but those who have attended some recent home international games for the Canadian men’s and Under-19 teams might have noticed the low key pre-event publicity and the lack of facilities or welcome extended to any strays who stumble along to such events and games.
There were some fireside chats on social media around the time Canada hosted the 2017 ICC Americas Under-19 championship but there seemed to be silence about how many overs Canada would need to hit a winning total in the last innings of that tournament in order to jump ahead of the USA U19s and capture the ICC Americas U19 berth in the 2018 ICC U19 CWC.
Someone from the inner sanctum of the Canadian cricket leadership for that event did ask if I could provide a Canadian team photo from the post-event presentations. I was asked some time after the presentations had taken place and had half an idea that someone else had already been asked.
My inner thoughts would have been along the lines that you want a pretty picture but the trophy presentation ended up with a blend of officials, players and spectators in a crowded space. Perhaps you might think and plan things a bit better in future.
I was able to confirm my core “bit late” message had already been given in short form by someone else who had been already asked and declined to provide free gift photos from presentations that could and should have been better organized. It can be useful to include and be able to recognize all the players in a winning squad as some or many may someday appear for Canada in the closing stages of an ICC ODI or T20 World Cup.
My thoughts strayed back in 2017 to ponder the potential market for mid-summer fireside cricket discussions in the Greater Toronto Area. Blazing sun, outdoor temperatures around or above +30C with a couple of people sitting, relaxed inside a great room on glorious armchairs with their feet up, talking cricket. A grand fire is blazing away in the background fireplace dedicated to the Ghost of Past Canadian cricketers. Hot stuff, indeed.
A 2019 Final Finale from the Letter Writer
Mr. Eastwood’s comments peak in the passage: “Such was the lack of information that sections of spectators were at one time chanting ‘We want Russell’ even as Mr. Russell was lashing the Winnipeg bowlers out of the park.”
The final was the only game where the recovering from injury West Indies international Andre Russell bowled. He took 4 wickets for 29 runs as Winnipeg Hawks tallied 192/8 from 20 overs, then struck 46* from 20 balls for Vancouver Knights after arriving at the crease with 54 runs needed from 19 balls.
There’s nothing too unusual about not knowing who is playing if you watch some seemingly important games live in the Ontario heartland of Canadian cricket. But that’s where, sooner or, as if often the case, later if you have enough reasonable quality still photos of the game action, including some with both front and back views of the players, hopefully with numbers on their backs, you can compare a ball-by-ball scorecard (if there is one) to the pictures and all become clear or clearer.
Let’s leave the closing thoughts to Mr David Eastwood, with thanks to him for writing the letter, and thanks to Indo-Carribean World for publishing the letter. There’s always another day when I might translate some current thoughts about the lack of presentation of the game and participating players in some international games and provincial representative events games into words.
Mr Eastwood’s closing thoughts included:
“There is talk of a permanent home for the GT20 being established at Brampton. This would be well deserved as the support was wonderful from the knowledgeable and enthusiastic spectators at the game, but please pay heed to some of the observations in this missive.”
“The irritants did not detract from our enjoyment of the cricket and the occasion in general but not having to put up with them would have made a great afternoon even greater.”

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