It may be the middle of the winter but it is time to dig out your bats and balls. On February 15, Annapolis Royal will host the inaugural Nova Scotia Snow Cricket Championships at the Annapolis West Education Centre field. “I've played cricket on the green swathes of England, the dust of Sri Lanka, and the sand of Caribbean beaches - so it'll be fun to add Canadian snow to my repertoire,” said Simon Bonnington, president of the Annapolis County Cricket Club. "Hopefully we can shake off some winter sloth and have great fun at the same time. I expect the wicket to be more than a little sticky - a hefty slog rather than exquisite stroke-play will probably be the order of the day."
Usually considered a summer sport, there have actually been winter cricket matches recorded as far back as the 1820s.
“I have seen an interesting etching of Captain William Perry’s crew playing cricket during the winter of 1822-23,” said Annapolis County Cricket Club member and Annapolis Heritage Society curator Ryan Scranton. “They were on an island three degrees north of the Arctic Circle but the stumps and batsman were clearly evident. I have also read some accounts from the early 1900s of cricket played on skates.”
Today, Canada continues to hold a prominent place in the world of snow cricket. Since 2009 the World Championships have been held in Montreal.
“We have been in contact with Angus Bell, the founder of the World Championships,” said Scranton. “They are thrilled to have another competition taking place in Canada.”
With the exception of the obvious difference of winter conditions, snow cricket does have some different laws than its summer counterpart. Teams are made up of six players rather than 11. Matches last a mere six overs (a total of 72 balls bowled) so they can wrap up within an hour and allow players get back to the hot chocolate. To get a bounce in the winter conditions, a tennis ball is bowled onto a plywood platform where the batsman stands. Other than that, the laws are the same.
Since the historical recreation matches at Fort Anne in the summer of 2013, Annapolis Royal has seen an impressive rebirth of cricket. Now an officially registered entity, the Annapolis County Cricket Club, is dedicated to the growth and promotion of cricket as a recreational and competitive activity. Events like the Nova Scotia Snow Cricket Championships allow new audiences to learn the sport of cricket in a fun and relaxed environment.
Tournament registration is limited to eight teams. There is a $50 entry fee per team. If you are interested in playing but do not have a team, please contact the organizers as there is the potential of putting some teams together. There will be a short workshop on the morning of the event to explain the laws and give some assistance to novice cricketers. To register or for further information, please email the Annapolis County Cricket Club at firstname.lastname@example.org.