For the second consecutive year Alberta’s cricket community converged on Red Deer for the 2015 Red Deer Cricket Cup.
While games were scheduled for Saturday, weather saw the cancellation of games until Sunday where Red Deer took on the Calgary Cricket Club in their first game of the Cup while Edmonton took on Fort McMurray.
Red Deer and Fort McMurray both won their respective games in the first round – leaving Red Deer to play Edmonton in the next round as Fort McMurray battled it out against Calgary.
Again both Red Deer and Fort McMurray landed themselves a win on the board, meaning the two teams would face off in the final match of the Cup.
Despite a hard fought game, Red Deer fell short in the final leaving Fort McMurray as the 2015 Red Deer Cricket Cup champions with a final score of 111-107.
“We were very close to winning the title but Fort Mac ending up winning the tournament,” explained Red Deer’s team captain, Samit Shah. “They had a strong team – they have more than 100 players to pick their team from where as we have around 30.
“We are a very young team but we still made it to the finals and it was a close game – I think the weekend really showed the power of Red Deer.”
Shah explained no other city in Alberta currently has their own Cup.
“We asked Alberta Cricket to send more opportunities our way and they gave us the cup – there is no Calgary Cup or Edmonton Cup, only the Red Deer Cricket Cup.”
Prior to 2013 cricket had seemingly dwindled in Red Deer, with Shah explaining a few key board members of the Central Alberta Cricket Association are responsible for the return of the sport to the area.
He added a lot of hard work went into ensuring the success of the Cup in Red Deer, including gaining access to designated cricket fields at both the Collicutt Centre and the G.H. Dawe Community Centre as well as obtaining sponsorships.
Shah explained he hopes to see the sport continue to grow in the area as it has over the last few years, adding while cricket is huge in the rest of the world it still has ground to gain in Canada.
“Cricket is like a religion in India,” said Shah who added he has been playing since around the age of four in his home country. “If you go to India and ask a three-year-old who the Prime Minister is he won’t tell you – if you ask if who your cricket captain is he can write a 10-page paper on him.
“It’s very passionate and you need skill, strategy, planning – it’s not about just hitting the ball and scoring, it’s about technique and you need to know the game to love the game.”
For more information on the Red Deer Cricket Club and the Central Alberta Cricket Association, visit www.cricketalberta.ca.