A delegation from the Maple Cricket Club appeared before Maple Ridge city council on Tuesday, Feb. 28, asking for a dedicated cricket ground.
Dr. Nageswara Rao Kolla, a family physician, led the discussion about the potential to develop a home field for the club developed, so they could compete in the British Columbia Mainland Cricket League (BCMCL).
Kolla said the club was established club in 2021, played two tournaments last year, and the players felt they have the potential to be a competitive club. However, their home pitch at Selvey Park isn’t going to meet the league standards.
“What we found is that we are unable to participate in BCMCL games, which is is the main Lower Mainland cricket league, mainly because the ground facilities are not up to the standards to be able to participate,” said Kolla.
The BCMCL lists 37 cricket clubs, and has teams from Abbotsford to West Vancouver.
The club has about 60 registered members, operates as a non-profit, and wants to promote the sport at all levels in the community. With a home field, they would look at hiring a professional coach to train its members, and teach children and women the sport.
Kolla said cricket is “deeply ingrained” in the culture of commonwealth countries, and there would be a lot of families interested in participating in the sport.
They need a dedicated cricket pitch for Saturday and Sunday games, and the matches generally take six or seven hours to complete. They would also need weeknight practice times, and would use it from April to October. The fields are larger than a soccer pitch, and they would also like to eventually have changerooms, storage facilities and viewing stands on site. The club has identified fields at the Albion Sports Complex, and Garibaldi secondary.
Kolla noted Selvey park, located near Whonnock Lake on 272nd Street, is made available to the club on Fridays and Saturdays from 4-9 p.m., but is not suitable for league play.
Mayor Dan Ruimy noted there is a second cricket club in the city, and heard an estimate that there are about 100 players locally.
Coun. Onyeka Dozie said there is a shortage of facilities in the city, and suggested the clubs work together to make the best use of the facilities that we have.
“Unless we share the little we have, we will not be able to make the best use of it,” said Dozie.
Kolla said they would be willing to share their facilities, soccer and other groups could use the same pitch, and he noted other clubs around the Lower Mainland have multiple cricket fields and clubhouse facilities that are accessed by other groups.
There was no commitment made by city council at the meeting.
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