It’s always fun to be in at the start of something new and something that has the potential to grow and grow. Here in Orlando we are used to new beginnings and new stuff coming around to the theme parks every year. Last year we also had the start of Orlando City, a professional soccer team with aspirations to become the 20th team to join the MLS. We have followed their quest from day one and it’s been an exciting journey with the team taking the USLPRO championship.
This past weekend has been another of those occasions as international cricket came to Florida. Although it was in the Fort Lauderdale area rather than here in Central Florida we journeyed down the 200 miles of Florida’s Turnpike to follow the game and to see the action. For those that have never been to a cricket match before it is essentially a bat and ball game played between two teams of eleven players. The action takes place on the “wicket” which is a rectangular 22 yard long area at the center of the playing field.
The essence of the game is for the team that is batting to score as many runs as possible while their opponent bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and therefore, limit the amount of runs scored. A run is scored when the striking batsman hits the ball with his bat and runs to the opposite end of the wicket touching his bat on the “crease”…a white line placed in front of the three stumps known as “Wickets.”
The game is played until 10 of the batsmen are out or until the number of overs in a limited overs game has been reached. In professional cricket the length of a game ranges from 20 overs of six bowling deliveries to Test cricket played over five days.
Cricket is played all over the world but is particularly popular in England, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and the West Indies and it was the latter two teams who played at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill near Fort Lauderdale over the weekend.
It was the first time that the two countries had met in the United States and the two games were in the ever popular format of 20/20 meaning each team batted for 20 overs. Two games were played, one on Saturday and one on Sunday before the teams headed off to the West Indies to compete in further games.
Both games ended in convincing wins for the West Indies and they left New Zealand with much to reflect upon as they go to the Caribbean. The large crowd was mainly made up of fans of the West Indies, many of whom have moved to Florida from the Caribbean islands some years ago, and they were all able to enjoy some great entertainment thanks to a superb pitch prepared by Head Groundsman Samuel Plummer, who has been working on the facility for some two years prior to these two games.
After the games, I spoke to one of the men responsible for creating the $73 million facility and the only cricket stadium in the United States certified by the International Cricket Council, Dale Holness – Broward County Commissioner who said: “This is only the start of cricket in Florida and the USA. We hope to bring back cricket again in the future and to make games here at our facility a regular part of the West Indies tour. There is still some opposition from some of the Caribbean Islands to it as they think we’re taking away from them but we’re really not. We’re actually helping to spread the game and make it more popular which can only be to the good of everyone connected to cricket.”
Overall, it was a great occasion and we’ll continue to watch with interest how things develop in the future. More photos are at FloridaLeisurePhotography.com
For The Record:
Game One: West Indies 209 / 2 New Zealand 153 all out. West Indies won by 56 runs.
Game Two: West Indies 177 / 5 New Zealand 116 all out. West Indies won by 61 runs.