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North Bay cricket with a bright future despite finals loss

Members of the Thunder Bay Warriors celebrate after winning the first ever Northern Ontario cricket tournament at Amelia Park in North Bay Sunday. Photo by Mark Pare.
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Members of the Thunder Bay Warriors celebrate after winning the first ever Northern Ontario cricket tournament at Amelia Park in North Bay Sunday. Photo by Mark Pare.

While some were rocking out and taking rides at the midway carnival as part of this year’s Summer in the Park festivities, history was being made down Memorial Drive.

The first ever cricket tournament in Northern Ontario took place this past Saturday and Sunday at Amelia Park, hosted by the North Bay Multicultural Cricket Club.

In the end, it was the Thunder Bay Warriors that took the championship, defeating North Bay 62-61 in the final.

“The biggest thing about cricket is if you have the batting side up (first), you have to put up a lot of runs and that’s where we fell short,” said North Bay cricket team member Vikas Poni, pointing out the tournament’s one inning format.

“They didn’t have a really big target to make and we had to field really well, bowl really well, which we did but they put up a good fight and they came back. We had them halfway through the game but they really recovered as a team and came back and beat us.”

Teams from Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie also took part. Poni says he knew with all the experience coming in from the larger cities, the tournament was going to be a fight from the start.

“They’re playing daily. (Toronto) actually went back and they’re playing in a tournament in Toronto (Monday), so we knew that we had to fight from the beginning and that’s what we did. We lost a few players to injuries leading up to (the finals), so that set us a little bit back but I think all the teams played really well and there was a good dynamic of different players from all around so good cricket overall and good weather.”

North Bay Mayor Al McDonald and the executive director of the North Bay Multicultural Centre Don Curry were on hand Sunday evening, as well as sponsors for the event.

McDonald handed out 1st and 2nd place prizes to the players at the closing ceremonies and said he feels proud that this first ever event took place in the Gateway City.

Curry told the crowd that he feels this sport is going to take off.

“I’m sure we’ll soon have a Northern Ontario cricket league,” he said, “They will have more teams in North Bay so you won’t have to travel so far to get in a game and I can just see it growing and growing and I’m sure as we get more players out, the city will continue to support us and nothing but a bright future ahead for cricket.”

Poni feels the same way.

“It’s probably going to get a lot busier and more people are going to get involved, I hope,” he said, “It’s picking up and with the support of the Multicultural Centre, it just makes it easier because they communicate with the Northern communities, maybe a lot better than if we just had a recreational league. It’s more professional and it’s organized so I see it growing.”

The Centre is also advertising on the cricket section of their website that players can learn to play for free three days a week (weather permitting).

Click this link for more information.
http://www.nbdmc.ca/events.htm


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