Wednesday, February 6, 2008

ICE cricket, the brilliant game!

ICE Cricket... The brilliant game!

Ice cricket, this phenomenon offshoot of cricket more commonly known has been around for several millennia (well as early as the Ice Age Years). Little is known about the origins of Ice Cricket, however Russian Palaeontologist Boris Owzatovski made some important discoveries, which perhaps describes the origins of Ice Cricket (and the main non-ice version of cricket we commonly know of today). He managed to conclude from the discoveries made by Russian scientists that the game of Cricket didn’t originate from the lush pastures of Hampshire but instead the barren and far out north of the Soviet Union (now known as Russia). In the findings made by the Russian Scientists, a frozen male body covered in white was discovered in the Arctic Circle north of the settlement of Murmansk. This deeply frozen man of the North was holding a club-like implement and an object shaped similar to a cricket ball. This “ball” was made of a baby mammoths bladder stuffed with rolled buckwheat, and three wooden sticks (supposedly similar to the stumps used in cricket today) were found to this body. Unofficial reports claim that in his other hand he was holding a scorecard for an innings of Geoff Boycott....

It was said that in World War One during 1914 to 1917 that a British naval ship became trapped in the notorious ice floes of these frozen northerly waters and to cure their boredom they escaped their metaphorical tomb of boredom and played a game of cricket on the frozen ice, as any Englishman would do!

The game of Ice Cricket probably took an important step in evolution when in 1961 an eccentric group of slightly tipsy cricket enthusiasts decided to play a game of cricket on the ice, and this group was led by a Mr Tony Gill. From the huge success of this game the Jack Frost CC was formed, and they were then labelled the true traditionalists and innovators for the game.

In 1988 the origins of the St. Mortiz Cricket Tournament began, with British Expats playing the game against some students from Lyceum Boarding School on the local frozen lake. In this exclusive tournament 4 teams of XI play against each other for the right to be champion of this annual tournament. Also in 1996 an exhibition match is played in Stockholm on a frozen river. On this occasion matting on compacted ice was used.

It was in January of 2005 that the first Ice Cricket was launched, courtesy of Baltic Adventures and Estonian Cricket. This tournament was actually played ON ice. Angus Bell’s brilliant travelogue across Eastern Europe has some excellent and memorable coverage, to see this click HERE. This article is titled “Slogging the Slavs”. Due to unseasonal weather at the time the first tournament was played on an ice-rink housed by a former Soviet Missile Factory and the champions of that tournament were the Kelletino Warriors of St Albans.

In February of the same year the tournament hit the headlines when finalists Wolfson college from Cambridge University recreated their amazing feat for B.B.C T.V at Peterborough Ice Rink. Two weeks later a bunch of more teams from Australia, South Africa, U.K, New Zealand and Estonia arrived to play on the frozen lake in which the wicket was carved into the ice. The outfield had a fresh coating of powdered snow. In this tournament the Drunken Dragons of Wales were the winners!
In March 2006 saw the first ever Ice Cricket world Cup, and the Chelsea Arts Club were the triumphant champions. Reuters, BBC, Sky, CNN and other various medium’s covered this brilliant and intriguing tournament from across the globe. Come and see the coverage of this tournament by clicking HERE. The other winners that season were Shed’s Sledgers and St. Catharines of Cambridge. The first ever Ice Cricket game in the U.K was brought together by British Airways and Porter Novelli, courtesy of Baltic Adventures, at the historic Natural History Museum during the same time the 3rd Ashes Test was in Perth. Participants that came along were the BA Cricket Team, Mike Bushell of the BBC and guest spectator the brilliant Mark “Ice Bat Breaker” Butcher!

February of 2007 saw the first ever Snow Cricket Tournament. The circumstances that lead to this tournament were due to a warm spell in February and a deluge of slush, and the social tournament was switched to the Old Town. This closely fought final was won by Brasted & Sundridge Exiles CC. In a hilarious first, scenes from Monty Python were reminiscent as the tournament was interrupted by the Medieval Battle Re- enactment Society, try and picture that in your head...

A month later saw another first (I suppose global warming has something to do with this). The cricket was played on ice in Riga’s massive Song Festival Site which is likened to a giant amphitheatre with a capacity for 11,000 spectators. The cricket was played here because the ice on the lake wasn’t thick enough. The final was ultimately fought by two experienced Ice Cricket sides, Trailfinders CC and Jack Frost CC. After two innings that had something called a “Balzam Break” between each innings and in the end it was Trailfinders CC that came out on top, and their victory was celebrated in fine fashion in the Latvian capital which preceded an indoor cricket tournament against the Latvian National side, with the Latvians taking out the spoils of that game.

Ice Cricket is an entertaining sport with adrenaline rushed thrills and one that is socially exiting and generates comraderie between players and sides taking part. If your curiosity does kill the cat, more info about this version of the brilliant game can be found HERE.
Also if anyone knows of any Ice Cricket events in New Zealand please keep me informed! Would definitly be keen to check out this freezing exiting version of the game us cricket enthusiasts love and live for!

Jack Frost XI

Chelsea Team

Slogging Slavs