January 18 2013
Icy Wickets at the Snow Cricket World Cup
Montreal has a pre-eminent cricket guy, and his name is Angus Bell. The Scottish expat, who moved here in 2003 to pursue a Québécoise he was smitten with, has done his best since arriving to educate us bad Commonwealthers on his other true love. For the last six years, he and his squad, the Pirates of the St. Lawrence, have hosted the Snow Cricket World Cup.
Because it swaps a nice, finely manicured wicket/pitch with a snowy one, the snow cricket format is actually the best way for curious non-cricket players to introduce themselves to the sport. Bell, of course, has become quite adept at making cricket seem like the easiest thing in the world to get into.
“You can break it down to see ball, hit ball,” he says. “The most important thing with snow cricket is you have to dress like a ninja on the Scottish ski slopes — warm and all over — so that restricts your movements. We also use tennis balls instead of hard leather balls.”
They currently have about 60 players and six teams (Canada, England, Australia/New Zealand, Asian Bloc, African Alliance and the Celts, equal parts born-and-bred Montrealers and expats) signed up to compete in the World Cup this Sunday, although the rules are pretty loose and anyone who shows up in warm attire will be allowed to play. Visibility and accessibility are key in promoting the sport in Montreal, says Bell, who in the early days assembled a small group of cricket players by practicing on Mount Royal (next to tam-tams) and collecting email addresses from strangers who approached him.
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