Cricket - high schools, tapeball and in the park

16 October 2004

Kamon Lachmansingh has provided a report report about a high school cricket tournament in Guelph, Ontario, which shows that there are a good number of young people, even in a medium sized city like Guelph, who would like to participate in the more formal game if given the opportunity.

High School Cricket Tournament in Guelph

Three high schools in Guelph, Ontario recently competed in a tapeball cricket tournament.  It marked a new departure for cricket in a city that saw the first recorded match in Canada in 1835.

In the spring of 2004, teams from John F. Ross CVI, Centennial CVI and Guelph CVI were granted permission to play in a tapeball tournament during school hours. That first tournament took place on the playing fields at Centennial in May 2004.  The second competition was organized for October 1st, the venue being Margaret Green Park, the home of the Guelph Cricket Club.

The tournament consisted of three matches of 15 overs a side.  John F. Ross were the victors with a 2-0 record.  However, it did not really matter as it seems that everyone - the students, coaches, volunteers and the school administration were the winners.  From all accounts the exercise has been a great success.  It is to be hoped that more such events, which promote cricket as a sport at the High School level, can be arranged for next season.

Congratulations to all involved.

The Guelph Tribune published the following report.

Colin Mohammed provides some insights on the end of season tape ball cricket tournament held at King City, Ontario, which occupied three of the squares for the whole day.

"For those of you who are not familiar with the game, tape ball cricket is played with 8 players using a regular tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape. It is quite popular in Pakistan. The boundaries are shortened a bit and the bats used are designed specifically for this use. In terms of the laws of the game, there are no leg decisions i.e.: no LBWs or leg extras.

At the recently concluded Ahmaddiyya CC tape tennis tournament, I had a chance to speak to a number of very faithful players and onlookers, and was rebuked a bit for commenting that "I almost did not make it here, it was cold down in Mississauga" to which I got a chorus of replies..."This is King City, we don't stop for a little chill.." Serves me right I think. Anyway in my conversations I found out a number of adaptations that are certainly applicable to our lifestyle in Canada, for example the game is between 8-10 overs, relatively inexpensive to outfit a team, a pair of bats runs at about $20 and no other gear required, well except for a few tennis balls at the local dollar store and some electrical tape.

I asked one of the onlookers why he thinks this game is good for Canadian lifestyles. His reply was simply that "it is a short game and does not cost much to play...".  Seems like common sense to me.

As I understand it, there are many more of these kinds of tournaments around the province. I am also well aware that there are "windball" tournaments and several organized leagues within the Toronto area which provide cricket for local communities and religious institutions.  In one school yard during the spring, tennis ball cricket was found to be the game of preference and Urdu was the language of play. 

It feels like home to see this kind of cricket going on. In my own past, I grew up with the "windball" version of the game and it is now part of the social dynamism in Trinidad to have major windball tournaments that are heavily sponsored. To think though, that the King City tournament sprung out from cricket in the road and the beach tournaments, and ... it also came with cash prizes. Evolution is part of any growing society, so too is change and adaptation.

At the Bermuda game in Toronto there was family cricket played in a dozen or so locations throughout the park, as it is on most weekends in many of the parks in the city, and most especially where there are cricket fields. At the conclusion of many formal games in Toronto a shopping cart is moved onto the field to act as a wicket, and tennis ball cricket is enjoyed until dark. It is a public space and those cricketers have as much right to use the facilities as anyone else. The issue is, should we embrace these cricketers into the more traditional form of cricket? In an organisational sense there are three softball cricket leagues in the greater Toronto area, with over 40 teams.

In the Peel Region, (adjacent to the GTA), there is a lot of active friendly pickup high school games.  In terms of organized events, Peel has an indoor tournament in the fall/winter season based on the indoor "yellow" ball. Ryerson University has an active winter indoor cricket schedule and York University held its first indoor tournament last winter. It should also be noted that there are three other significant cricket leagues in the GTA, which have no affiliation with the national organisation. The number of teams in these leagues is approximately 100. In summary, Cricket in Canada is alive and well, at the grass roots level. (additional files by Jon Harris).

Tapeball cricket at King City

Cricket in the park, Sunnybrook