Cricket: Family Fun on Shelter Island

On Saturday, July 27, the Shelter Island Cricket Club will play its second annual match to benefit the Shelter Island Ambulance Corps. The Shelter Island Cricket Club was founded in 2012 to raise money for charity, promote cricket in America and encourage people to visit Shelter Island. Last year, over 200 visitors came to support the inaugural match and raised over $12,000 for the Ambulance Corps. The game will take place on the field next to the Island Boatyard; last year the game took place despite heavy rain, so expect the event to go on, rain or shine.

The Shelter Island Ambulance Corps was transferred from the Red Cross to Shelter Island Town in 2012. The corps, originally founded in 1931 under a charter by Herbert Hoover, is staffed entirely by volunteers and costs about $100,000 to manage each year. The cricket game received a warm reception last year, and match organizer David Shillingford couldn’t be happier. “[After] a successful inaugural event last year, we are committed to making this an annual event,” he said in a press release. Co-organizer Gareth Jones believes that the best part of the event is that it “allows full-time residents, part-time residents and visitors to the Island to come together to support a special and unique community.”

You know that cricket’s big in England, you know it’s a sport, but there’s a good chance you haven’t played (or seen, for that matter) a game. Cricket, at first glance, seems a lot like baseball. There are two bases on the field, called “creases” or “wickets,” that are 22 yards apart. The pitcher—or, as Brits call it, the “bowler”—throws the ball with a straight arm without stepping over the crease until the ball has been thrown. Six balls make up an “over,” after which a different bowler throws from the opposite end. The “batsman” has to hit the ball and is out if the ball is caught by a fielder or if the ball hits the strike zone, which is marked by three wooden sticks called “stumps.” But the difference between baseball and cricket is quite significant: two batsmen are up at a time, on each wicket. The two bat until one of them is “out,” then another replaces the batsman who strikes out. This goes on until 10 of the 11 batsmen are out. Because of this, cricket games have the potential to go on for a very long time, but the Shelter Island game will have a limit of 20 “overs” per team, with the game expected to last about four hours. Shillingford acknowledges that it’s a bit confusing at first but believes that anyone who comes to watch the game will understand it quickly. The event will also contain a junior cricket game and a “kids Olympics” game in the afternoon, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Event participant and helper Chaloner Chute notes that family is a big component of cricket. “In England, cricket is really a family day out,” he explains, noting that food and socializing are a big part of the culture surrounding the sport. Chaloner, a lifelong cricket aficionado, is excited for the event; his son, who has played at Lord’s Cricket Ground—“That’s basically the Yankee Stadium of cricket,” Chaloner says—will be participating.

 

The event is free, but donations are appreciated and there will be food vendors around throughout the day. SALT Waterfront Bar and Grill will be donating all profits to the charity. For more information on the event, go to sicricket.com or facebook.com/shelterislandcricketclub.

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