Parks and Recreation Committee approves cricket proposal

  • Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cricket enthusiasts were all smiles as they left the Summerville Parks and Recreation Committee meeting Wednesday.
The committee agreed to recommend funding for the upfront costs of helping establish the Summerville Cricket Club. Geoff Hawes, founder of the club, estimates $20,000 will cover the cost of transforming a practice field at the Jerry Blackwell Sports Complex at Gahagan Park into a cricket field as well as all the equipment the club will need in order to start hosting cricket games.
However, probably only $10,000 would be needed in cash to purchase equipment. Hawes included costs of preparing the field and maintenance in his estimate, but Parks Manager Doyle Best said the town already maintains the field so there would be little additional work it would need to do.
A motion to fund the startup costs will now be considered by the Town’s Finance Committee, which will decide whether or not to send the proposal to full council for final approval.
Hawes told committee members there are several cricket teams throughout the U.S. that his club could play. The Boston area, where he moved from, has approximately 17 cricket teams. Hawes says other than the U.S. Tigers professional cricket team based out of Charleston, which doesn’t have its own field and plays all its games on the road, there is no organized cricket in South Carolina. He anticipates members of that team will form an alliance with the Summerville club once it is fully up and running.
The Summerville Cricket Club already has 26 players, eight coaches and five umpires and is actively seeking other adults who have an interest in the sport.
“Cricket is different which is part of what makes it good,” Hawes said. “Summerville could be the first town in the area to really promote it and get a head start on anyone else that might be interested. It should be good for the town. Once we get established we can start playing teams from abroad and from different states and they will have to stay somewhere and eat somewhere so it should be good for the economy. It could quickly turn into something where you have a bunch of people buzzing around talking about cricket.”
The field the committee approved for the project is located in the back corner of the complex and there are a restroom facility and picnic shelters nearby.
The biggest expense involved in transforming the practice field into a cricket field would be the purchase of a wicket for approximately $6,500. Hawes said the wicket is made of material similar to a thick carpet and could be rolled up so the field could be used for other things when it isn’t being used for cricket.
Once the club is up and running it should be able to operate off sponsorships. Hawes says after adult teams are established the club would like to start youth programs and in the meantime any teenager interested in playing could try out for an adult team and play if he is skilled enough in the sport.
“Once we start showing people the game they will soon pick it up,” Hawes said.  “It is a fun game to play once you get into it.”
Anyone interested in the sport should contact him or Shanna at 375-2424 or Geoff@catfivehouses.com.
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or rlee@journalscene.com

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