Cricket has for a long time been one of the most popular sports in the world. It has only more recently started to catch on in the United States. “The U.S. has a team…it is getting there,” the co-captain of the Evanston Cricket Club (ECC), Donieke Perrin, told the RoundTable. “There is a lot of work being put in by the ICC [International Cricket Council], so it is getting there.”
The ECC, a group of Evanston residents primarily of Jamaican descent, has also been helping the sport of cricket grow. Mr. Perrin, when asked about why it is good to spread the game, said, “Well, to be honest, sport is good for everyone, so it is like a form of working out for the kids. It is always good to teach them new stuff.”
This club has been playing cricket in Evanston for more than 30 years. Originally founded as The Evanston & Skokie Cricket Club, a non-profit organization, in 1976, it changed into what it is known as today, Evanston Cricket Club, Ltd. in 1985.
“[The club] has grown some and [stood] still some [and] grown some. It is not constant.” said vice president and team manager Magnus Huggins regarding the growth of the program. “People come in. New people, they come in. They join in…We always try to get new ideas from people. How to expand.”
Cricket is played with 11 players on each team, with a 12th player in case of injury. The fielding team tries to get 10 of the opposing batters out. The batting team is looking to score runs to increase their score. Everyone from the team that the RoundTable interviewed said, “The closest sport to it is baseball.”
There are multiple ways to play cricket. The ECC competes in a league that plays twenty20 cricket with a leather ball. This means that one inning is played and each team has twenty overs (120 pitches) to score as many runs as possible without getting 10 outs. Treasurer Perry Warburton said twenty20 has, “more excitement.” than other forms. Mr. Huggins added, “It is also faster.”
The ECC is currently competing in the “Div. 2 3030 2019” division of the Midwest Cricket Conference. The team roster has 25 players. Evanston currently with two wins, four losses and four no results (due to rain or ties). In the standings, this puts them in eighth place out of 13 teams.
All home matches are played in James Park, at the intersection of Dodge Avenue and Mulford Street. To set up the match, the team needs wickets, marks, paint, a border, mowed grass, a permit from the park and a pitch, among other things. The club wants to get a batting net.
The Midwest Cricket conference is also helping expand the game. As Mr. Perrin said, “They just recently did a stadium in Hanover Park. So they are putting in more facilities to accommodate the sport.”
Cricket is not the only focus for the ECC. The club also put a focus on giving back to the community and volunteering. Primarily, the club gives back to the community in Jamaica.
The club helps sponsor students at the Comfort Hall School in Manchester, Jamaica. They have donated school supplies and also helped set up a computer lab with computers and printers.
Club president Mildred Louis said, “We try to share with them. Books, pencils...We try to help them so they get the equipment and materials.”
On top of this, one of the biggest events of the year for the club is the annual ECC Friends and Family Day celebration in honor of Jamaica’s Independence Day. This year the celebration was held on Aug. 4 in James Park.
“Our events are open to everyone. It is not just [restricted] to our members and our family,” said Renne Stone, who is in charge of community relations.
The executive board, including secretary Enid Crosswell and others mentioned in this article, plus 2nd Ward Alderman Peter Braithwaite, play a big role in making these events a success.
Evanston has four more regular-season games before the season comes to a close. Two of these games will be held at James Park, on Aug. 18 and 25, at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. respectively.