ECC/MCC Spirit of Cricket Weekend
SWITZERLAND (John McKillop)
Several local schoolchildren plus some from outside the district who came along with interested supporters and parents, played in an improvised Kwik cricket tournament with points for runs, wickets and catches. The 'practical' was followed by a 'theory' session in which the best two in each of the above categories (runs, wickets, catches) had to answer three questions (in French) on their particular talent.
Examples of the questions are as follows:
- A young batsgirl was informed that she had scored points for running, these are called 'runs' in English but how do we say that in French? (aller-et-retours).
- A young bowler was asked to name three ways of getting a man out.
The top catchers were asked to name two Swiss-born players (bit of a trick as they were really being called upon to remember the names of the Cossonay players who had coached them at the schools session the previous October - they remembered!)
Awards were given as follows:
- Top with the bat: Mlle. Rosanne Milиs
- Most wickets: Stйphane Kreuzer
- Most catches: Damien Wenger
The Kwik Cricket Tournament was followed by the match Cossonay v Winterthur, but most of the kids kept on playing!
CYPRUS (Steve Carr)
On 24th May 2004, the Episkopi Hockey Pitch was the venue for the Cyprus Youth Cricket Festival. Young cricketers from Episkopi and Akrotiri competed with local young cricketers from Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos.
The under 12’s played Kwik Cricket with brightly coloured plastic equipment. Everybody got to bat and bowl and instead of being out the batter loses five runs. Eight 7 a side teams were split into two divisions and all teams played at least three games.
The hockey pitch was divided into quarters to enable an active two hour session with all the children on the pitch together playing four matches simultaneously. The top two teams in each division played in the Semi Finals. In an exciting Final with lots of support for both teams The Elements narrowly beat Superstars. Match officials noted several outstanding performances and awards were made to several young cricketers.
In a separate competition the under 16’s played in a pairs competition and awards were made including Christos Markides who was given the player of the competition award. Sixteen year old Christos, a fast bowler who lives in Larnaca, has just returned from the ECC Youth Coaching Camp at Bradfield College in England. The Coaching Camp is provided by the European Cricket Council who give the best coaching available to a small select group of leading European Youth Cricketers.
As well as trophies the Young Cricketers were presented with their Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Certificates which had been earned during the previous two months by attending a weekly coaching course at Happy Valley. Cricket Coaching Certificates were also presented to the Coaches who had participated in an ECC Introductory Coaching Course in February.
The Chairman of The Cyprus Cricket Association, Steve Carr, who presented the awards, thanked the Coaches for dedicating their time and efforts towards teaching the young cricketers new skills. It is hoped that some of the youngsters will one day take part in the Cyprus Cricket League which now has eight teams. For more information on playing cricket in Cyprus see the website : www.cypruscricket.com or email : firstname.lastname@example.org
AUSTRIA (Michael Bailey)
Sunday 2nd May 2004, saw Vienna CC's season opening party combined with Spirit of Cricket Day. The purpose of the event was to introduce cricket to the friends and families of players, and to promote a day out at the cricket as something for everyone, to re-activate VCC’s growing number of Veteranen (former players who no longer play an active role on the pitch) ahead of the club’s impending 30th anniversary, to introduce the game to children as a fun sport, and to have a sociable day out. In short the purpose of the day was to mirror some of the aims of the European Development Program - Spreading the Field, Widening the Market and Participation.
The day was made up of several events – with the first event a children's Kwik Cricket session – a mixed group of 20 children from 5-10 played Kwik Cricket games and catching games, soon coming to grips with some of the rudimentary cricket skills – stopping and throwing the ball in, batting and catching. They duly carried on playing after the end of the session, whilst several older children were able to enjoy improvised soft ball games on the ground.
For “friends” – a mixture of girlfriends, partners, siblings and those who just wanted to see what Cricket was all about, a pairs game was played - with mixed pairs batting and bowling to each other, with some of the Veteranen, including Vienna CC’s first ever captain, Walter Wiesmьller, joining in. Each pair faced a couple of overs, and everyone bowled an over too.
A wide selection of photos were on display in the pavilion, along with brochures from previous tournaments, indoors and outdoors, as well as copies of "Cricket in Цsterreich" - a brief German guide to cricketing activities - which was originally used at last year's Tag des Sports. Club merchandise was also on sale – embroidered club caps and ties available.
Whilst children and friends enjoyed the barbecue, salad bar and drinks, Vienna Cricket Club took on United Nations Cricket Club in a friendly match, with Tim Hind, former Austrian National Team captain umpiring. Trevor Clayton was the mainstay of UNCC’s batting performance – scoring 68 out of 158 all out. VCC won the game by 8 wickets, with Andrew Simpson-Parker top-scoring with 61 retired, and Tim Simpson batting through for an unbeaten 44.
After the match there was live music from Helmuth (Vienna CC and one of Austria’s international umpires) and Georg from Masalamo playing several numbers on didgeridoo, percussion and iMac. Following presentations of commemorative certificates to everyone who had taken part in the day’s events, with darkness descending over Seebarn, a firework display rounded off the day.
Thanks in particular must go to Heinz Pru_nik-Dragosits and Tanja Pru_nik and the various helpers during the day for organising the event, which was a resounding success.
LATVIA (Safdar Alam)
Latvian Cricket Club had been looking to re-start indoor games and when the club learned about the ‘MCC Spirit of Cricket Weekend’ from the ECC’s website, they decided to celebrate this event in order to raise awareness of the game and introduce it to a wider community.
The event coincided with the 1st May celebrations as Latvia joined the EU. The indoor event at Zelta Indoor Complex was a success not only because of the participation and immense interest of young cricketers from the International School of Riga and other local schools but also their parents & teachers. After handing over an introductory text about cricket to each of the participants the event started with a short lecture/seminar by Sumit Chakravarty of LCC to the children explaining to them the basics of the game. It was then followed by the Kwik Cricket video which was watched with great interest by the kids. Soon after the video, a short session of questions and answers followed. Later on, the kids were equally divided into 2 teams of equal strength and a game of 10 overs was played between them. Latvian Cricket Club members were there to help with bowling, batting and fielding in the correct way. The winning team was awarded the Kwik Cricket video, kit and teaching cricket manuals and posters were distributed to the other team. After the game, refreshments were offered to the participants and an invitation was accepted by the club to visit their schools for a demonstration of the game at a later date.
The outdoor event that was supposed to be held on the 2nd of May was rescheduled. Unfortunately, it had to be rescheduled to the 8th of May as it was raining & VEF stadium wasn’t ready on that day. This untimely delay though luckily gave the club a chance to mobilize themselves & organize a mini tournament among 4 teams of expatriates from the subcontinent. They were:
Latvian Cricket Club, Pakistani XI, Sri Lanka A and Sri Lanka B.
The final was a Sri Lankan derby as the two teams have met before and know each other’s game. Sri Lanka A won the toss and batted first scoring 92 runs in 12 overs. Their opponents gave a hard time in the middle but were eventually bowled out for just 4 short of the target. Sri Lanka A deservedly won the final game and got the applause of the cricket fans who gathered to cheer the winning team. After the final, all teams had refreshments and a positive chat and it is hoped that in future such events will take place on a regular basis.
This is the first time cricket in Latvia has seen such a boom and interest in recent times. We are now preparing for the game on the 5th of June with a visiting side from the UK. With the support of ECC, Latvian Cricket Club will do what it takes to make another successful event and get one step closer towards our objective of making cricket a popular sport here in Latvia and the Baltics.
SLOVAKIA (Anna Vachutova)
The European Cricket Day in Slovakia took place on Saturday, 1st of May in Hajske, Nitra County. It seems to be a tradition that the weather is good in early May. After days of preparations they started at 10am with contests and activities for schoolchildren. They divided kids into groups by their age and skills and thus had plenty of work until 2 pm when the main match started. Kids were rewarded with sweets, T-shirts and other gifts. Again this year they had a barbecue so no one returned home hungry.
A few weeks before the event an interview took place on the breakfast show of TV JOJ and also an article about Slovak Cricket Club in the Slovak Spectator newspaper was published which attracted the attention of new people who called and turned up for Cricket day. This year they had foreign guests and players from England, Scotland, South Africa, Holland and India. The biggest honour was that the Ambassador of India, M.K. Lokesh, came to watch the game that is so popular in his country. He stayed with the club for a dinner and he was very interested to hear their plans for the future.
The main match started at 2pm. Apart from the fact that the wicket on the football ground was far from perfect the club found no black points to the day at all. Players enjoyed the game and many of them got to play cricket after years of living in Slovakia. The result of the match was not important at all. Whoever came, they won. It was another perfect cricket day with lots of fun, new friendships and fair play spirit.
The day would not have been possible without the help of the many people and sponsors involved. Thanks to Jan Popelka, Marian Sloboda, the Football club and Obecny urad Hajske.
Last year the club believed that the popularity of cricket in Slovakia would grow but now it is a reality.
POLAND (Simon Haines)
Magdalena Pospieszna and Marcin Pospieszny of the Polish Cricket Association organised and ran a one day 'Introduction to Cricket' event in the town of Skwierzyna in the west of Poland on May 1st 2004. This event, like the similar event in Gorzow held a day later, was part of the ICC European Development Program’s Spirit of Cricket Weekend initiative, and was aimed at introducing cricket to children in Poland. The event in Skwierzyna was attended by around 30 children between the ages of 10 and 13. The day began with a brief talk on the history and general idea of the game by Magdalena Pospieszna (the Vice President of the PCA), and was followed by a number of cricket related activities, a drinks break and ended with a series of kwik-cricket matches. All participants were rewarded with a surprise present of a cricket t-shirt, kindly provided by the ECC. The school, in which the children are pupils, has been given on permanent loan a set of kwik-cricket equipment so the children can continue the game during their normal school sports lessons.