The sport of cricket is alive and well with a club having formed on Shelter Island, of all places.
The Shelter Island Cricket Club will play its annual charity match to benefit the Shelter Island Ambulance Corps. this Saturday, July 27, on the sprawling lawn of the Island Boatyard.
Two games will be played, with the first beginning at 11 a.m. with players who are mostly ex-patriots from England or Australia, many of who live on Shelter Island either full or part time. A junior cricket game and “kids’ Olympics” will take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. There is no admission fee, but donations are encouraged. Food and spirits will be provided by Salt restaurant, which is located at the boatyard.
“After much conversation over the years amongst the ex-pat community about a game of cricket on the island and a successful inaugural event last year we are committed to making this an annual event,” said David Shillingford, the event organizer who moved to the United States in 1998 and has spent summers on Shelter Island since 2002.
More than 200 people came out for the inaugural match last year and helped raise over $12,000 for the local corps, which has an annual budget of about $100,000, according to organizers of Saturday’s event.
“This year the goal is $20,000,” said Chal Chute, a former cricket player who will umpire Saturday’s games. “A lot of these guys played a very high standard in university or at the county level. Their careers sent them to New York City or Connecticut or Long Island, but there’s some very good players.”
Chute said the game of cricket is not difficult to understand, especially since baseball, America’s treasured pastime, has its roots in cricket.
“Baseball came out of cricket,” Chute said. “In baseball if a batsman gets two or three hits a game, he’s doing really well. In cricket, what you call hits are called runs, and a batsman will score 25 or 40, sometimes even 100, runs. There’s a lot more action than baseball in many ways.”
For more information on Saturday’s event or to learn more about the Shelter Island Cricket Club, visit www.SIcricket.com.
“It’s great fun to do this,” said co-organizer Gareth Jones, “But the best part is to have an event that allows full-time residents, part-time residents and visitors to the island to come together to support a special and unique community.”