community life It’s CRICKET in Calistoga The second most popular sport in the world finds its Napa Valley home There are plenty of things in the Napa Valley that you would expect – world class wines, Michelin star restaurants, incredible views and vibrant communities—and some that you might not expect— like cricket! Yes, you heard us correctly. Cricket. Take a stroll just north of Calistoga on a summer’s weekend and you’ll probably be greeted by the sight of the Napa Valley Cricket Club hosting one of the other Bay Area teams to a shortened format of the 5-day game. The club has made their home at the Calistoga Fairgrounds, and in 2012 played ten games in addition to their season opener, the World Series, where club members play each other in games for which the team lines are drawn on the members’ countries of birth. In 2012 America/Australia won the game handsomely against a Rest of the World team. Cricket, believe it or not, is the second most popular sport on the planet, after soccer, so it’s no surprise that a group of expats brought to the Napa Valley by the wine industry should end up playing the game that they love. With club members from Australia, New Zealand, India, England, Ireland and even America, the Napa Valley Cricket Club is just one example of the cosmopolitan and international nature of the Napa Valley. The club formed formally over the winter of 2011-2012 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity. They found a home in Calistoga thanks to the generosity of Carlene Moore and the Calistoga Fairgrounds. “In 2012 it was easy to get games arranged against other Bay Area teams,” says Andrew Healy, Irish-born club Vice President. “Who wouldn’t want to come to the Napa Valley to play a game of cricket in the shadow of Mt. Saint Helena? I think we have some of the most picturesque grounds in the country, and with our world-famous Napa Valley hospitality we look forward to welcoming everyone this coming season. We’re in discussions with a number of touring teams from the East Coast and also Australia, which would add a nice touch to our calendar for 2013.” To the uninitiated, cricket can at first seem confusing, but, says Jared Thatcher, the American-born club Treasurer, “There are many similarities with baseball. One of the big 46 www. n A PAVA L L E Y L I F Emagaz ine . com Photo Steven Harrison differences, however, is that cricket is played in the middle of the field, as opposed to the edge, and a batter can be out there, in the middle, for quite a while. We’re happy to have anyone who would love to come and see a game ask us as many questions as they want.” The season opener for 2013 takes place on Sunday, April 28th from 10:30 am. The club hopes to have Calistoga Mayor Chris Canning perform the “toss” at the beginning of the game, which decides which team bats and which teams bowls first. “We’re hoping for another great attendance in 2013 for our World Series game,” says Australian club president Phil Bourke. “In 2012 we had over 120 folks turn up to our season opener, and with a big BBQ going alongside some music and refreshments, I’m obviously hoping for a repeat of the result from last year when the America / Australia team triumphed!” Find out more about the Napa Valley Cricket Club at www.NapaCricket.com, where you’ll find their calendar for the year. And be careful north of Calistoga this summer of all those men dressed in white!
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