ICC web site article..
The sixth unofficial Snow Cricket ‘World Cup’ will be in action in downtown Montreal this Sunday. More than 60 players from six continents will be gathering in the French Canadian city to battle it out in sub-zero temperatures for the Ice Ashes.
This year’s tournament pits Canada vs England vs Australia-NZ vs African Alliance vs Asian Bloc vs The Celts. Each team, made up of players from Pirates of the St Lawrence Cricket Club, will play each other in a Super Six group, using frozen tennis balls on plywood sheets. Wind chill is expected to drop as low as -17 C, with more than 15 cm of snow expected in 24 hours.
“The challenge is as much about not losing fingers as maintaining line and length,” said tournament organiser and founder of the Pirates, Angus Bell, 32.
Bell, originally from the Scottish Borders, developed the idea after playing cricket on ice inside a former Soviet missile factory in Estonia while researching his book, Batting on the Bosphorus: A Skoda-Powered Cricket Tour Through Eastern Europe, in 2005. The tour gave rise to Pirates of the St Lawrence – the largest cricket club in Quebec.
“To date, we’ve had men, women and children of 62 nationalities,” says Bell. “That should rise to 64 on Sunday with the participation of a Kyrgyz lady and (possibly) the world’s first Andorran cricketer – they should feel right at home in the snow on the side of Mount Royal.”
“The key is making cricket as visible, accessible and fun as possible, and that’s exactly what snow cricket does. We have six months of Arctic winter to get through, and come January, we all need our cricket fix.”
The previous two tournaments have been won by England, who claimed the 2012 title after a thrilling bowl-out against Canada and Australia-New Zealand. Bell believes host nation Canada could be this year’s favourites.
“All the men have been growing beards to protect their faces from the cold, so I know they’re taking it seriously,” he says.
For more information about Pirates of the St Lawrence, visit their website, www.piratesofthestlawrence.com. Score and photo updates from the event will be posted throughout Sunday on www.facebook.com/PiratesOfTheStLawrenceCricketClub.