Several Surrey cricket teams participated in the British Columbia Mainland Cricket League‘s pre-season Twenty20 tournament this past weekend. The Surrey United, Surrey Hawks and Newton Surrey cricket clubs each sent two teams to the tournament, which was held at cricket pitches in West Vancouver, Richmond and South Surrey. Twenty20 is a faster version of the game in which each team bats for a maximum of 20 overs (which consists of six balls pitched, or ‘bowled’).
I headed to Hugo Ray Park in West Vancouver on Sunday to film some of the games for a video project I was working on. While I was there I watched Surrey United face off against Abbotsford. The Abbotsford team had the advantage of having Jimmy Hansra, captain of Canada’s national cricket team, playing for them.
I spoke to Hansra after the game, and he told me he began playing cricket with the Abbotsford team, and continues to play with them when he is not busy touring with the Canadian team. I thought it was neat that he still plays with his hometown team and hasn’t forgotten his roots.
If you didn’t think there was much of a cricket scene in B.C., you’d be mistaken. There are 37 teams from all over the Lower Mainland participating in the tournament, and there are a total of 73 teams in eight divisions that play during the regular season.
I spoke to Alex Turko, president of the BCMCL, who told me that the cricket scene in B.C. has grown rapidly in recent years.
“Twenty years ago there were probably about 20, 25 teams playing…we have well over 70 teams playing in the league and that’s because of the recent immigration from Southeast Asia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka…and cricket is the game in that part of the world.”
The Surrey school district also has a cricket club, as does the Vancouver school district. The school cricket season runs for six to eight weeks after spring break.
“That’s one of our goals, to try and grow the sport at the school level,” Turko said.
The Twenty20 tournament will continue over the following three weekends, with finals taking place on April 13, 19 and 20. The full schedule of events is available here.
Here is a video I made about the cricket scene in BC: