Cricket in Alberta- moving forward

29 July 2004

The Calgary District Cricket League has recently made some innovative changes to its schedule. Instead of 2 one-day games, a 2-day Intercity game at the u25 level was played a couple of weeks ago. 

Mukul Ahuja wrote to that "The executive, players and umpires of the CDCL all welcomed the format and saw it as a positive step towards the betterment of cricket standards. There was good interest and it was definitely a different game for all players."

"I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate (in the 2-day game) so I can say from my experience and the feedback from my teammates that it was an exciting experience, a format we look forward to playing again next year at the u19 and u25 levels. The results, and the 'good interest' was justified when the teams and officials actually saw a fourth innings chase, or in Calgary's case, a desperate attempt to save the match, as the umpire's gave the additional hour of play. Edmonton prevailed with only one over of play left in the day. It's a positive bearing for future 2 and 3-day cricket in Alberta, as no one wants to see boring draws. If we are getting close games with results, and people fighting for 1st inning leads, and entertaining sporting declarations, then I guarantee you will see this become a regular feature in our league cricket very shortly.".  

"Currently in the CDCL there are 21 teams in 3 divisions of play. The Premier and First divisions play on the weekend. The Second Division is the social cricket division, or 'beer' league, where cricketers of all ages and abilities are welcomed to participate. This social cricket includes a few community teams, a couple of corporate teams, (including Mukal's company team which he brought in this year), and a couple of youth and oldies teams.".   

"Some of the other developments and innovations new to the CDCL this year have been the installation of artificial turf on both wickets at the Riley Park facilities, and the introduction of the 30-yard circle in all league and intercity play. There has also been the introduction of the "Calgary Colts" which is a league owned u21 side in the First Division.".

Mukul further advised that "previously this team used to play only in Division 2 evening cricket, an addition which hopefully brings us on par with existing u21 teams in Edmonton and Vancouver and Winnipeg. All our juniors groups have seen tremendous growth from previous years, at the u9, u11, u15 and u18 levels, with the most prominent growth in the u15 category - being more than 100%. We introduced u18 intercity (Calgary vs Edmonton) last year, which again was a big success with increased level of play and rivalry this year. Next year we will introduce an u15 intercity, and we are looking at introducing the Alberta Super League. This will be a provincial league with the top 2 or 3 clubs from each city playing a round robin format. This will probably include some two-day cricket, which automatically should increase the competition for the number 2 and 3 positions in both premier divisions, if a team is out of running for 1st place.".  

From Mukul's demonstrated enthusiasm it is obvious that there is a dynamic in Calgary from which Toronto could learn, for their outreach program into other areas of Alberta demonstrates that cricket is alive and well at the grass roots level north of Edmonton. The coaching development programme and the Alberta Cricket Academy are models which administrators at all levels east of the Prairies should consider examining. Audits would be a good starting point.

(Jon Harris).