An insight into Polish cricket
When people think of cricket playing countries then chances are Poland is probably not in their thoughts at all. There are however a few teams hoping to change; one of which is Krakow Cricket Club who are striving to improve Polish cricket. Formed in 2010, the club struggled to attract members for the first few years and it has only been in recent times that the popularity of the sport has started to increase, with the club even hosting the first ever Krakow Cricket Cup which was played in June 2015, and will now become an annual event.
The early days of this Polish cricket club
The club was formed five years ago by Vijay Sharma who moved here from India, and like any avid sports fan as soon as he arrived he decided to take a look to see if there was a group he could join to play cricket. At first he was surprised that there was no club at all, but that didn’t stop him and he decided to form his own team, so Krakow Cricket Club was born. He recalls “the first thing I did was set up the club’s Facebook page, however for a good two years I was the only member!” It was not until Vijay met a friend, Richard Brewster, who was a fellow ex-pat living in Krakow that things changed. “When I met Richard he said he knew a number of British and Irish players who were looking for a place to play. Once they started to join the Facebook group then more and more signed up and we eventually had enough for a few games in 2012.”
The Warsaw Cricket Cup
With some players now signed up it meant it was possible for Krakow Cricket Club to enter tournaments, and they took part in the Warsaw Cricket Cup for the first time in 2013 as well as joining for the following year as well. It was this year that they held their own tournament for the first time, the Krakow Cricket Cup, where they played two other teams from Warsaw in a round-robin tournament, eventually running out winners. This tournament will now become an annual event.
Despite the growing popularity of Polish cricket teams still face a number of hurdles each year, most notably finding suitable venues to play, with Vijay explaining “at the moment we play on a football pitch next to Wawel Castle where we can play social cricket with a semi-hard ball, but we can’t play competitive hard ball cricket due to safety reasons as it’s too close to the road. At the end of the day this is all we’ve got at the moment, however we are currently looking for a venue to set up a proper pitch in or around the city. We certainly have the manpower to maintain such a facility, we just need the venue first of all to set it up.”
So what about the future of cricket in Krakow? Vijay thinks there are exciting times ahead, explaining “during the winter when people have less social activities we are looking to register Krakow Cricket Club as an official club. Once this is done there will be enough clubs in Poland to set up a Polish Cricket Federation which will mean we can do a lot more things, such as coaching in schools or setting up a Polish national team.”
Something the cricket club is also very keen on is the social side of the games as well, with teams often having a BBQ and few beers together after the game. If you decide to come to Krakow for your cricket tour then Krakow Cricket Club can not only guarantee you a competitive match, but also first class hospitality as well.
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