Yorkton’s first official cricket team, the Yorkers, formally introduced their team to the community just outside City Hall on Monday, May 13.
“We are really excited to officially launch this new sports team in Yorkton,” said Thom Barker, public relations manager and player for the Yorkers. “Since I’ve gotten familiar with cricket, I’ve really learned to love it. I hope the community will embrace the sport like I have.”
“We will be a competitive team and will try to make Yorkton proud,” added team captain Faisal Anwar. “We have a talented team and everyone is excited to get the season started.”
The Yorkers are the newest member of the Saskatchewan Cricket League. They are the only team outside of Regina and Saskatoon in the league.
For some Yorkton cricket players, having the opportunity to play in an official league was an unexpected pleasant surprise.
“I thought we’d just play for fun (when we first started playing cricket),” said vice-captain Raja Ramachandran. “I never thought we’d get to play in a league. But the city and the college have really helped us play in the league. And with all of the students wanting to play and the talent we have, we thought lets take a chance (and join the league). Then Faisal put in a lot of work to make this happen.”
At the introduction, the cricket club presented jerseys to William Litchfield, the director of advancement at Parkland College, Lisa Washington, community development manager, and Yorkton mayor Bob Maloney.
“Cricket is a global sport,” said Litchfield. “It’s second in the world only behind soccer. I have seen it grow in the community and we are proud to support the Yorkers.”
Maloney isn’t too familiar with the sport, but he plans on learning more about it with the community.
“I find the sport fascinating when I watch you guys play, but I’ve yet to figure it out,” said the mayor with a smile on his face. “I just know there is a ball and a bat and that’s pretty similar to a game a lot of us play in Saskatchewan – baseball. I’m looking forward to watching more of it.”
The uniforms are yellow in honour of Yorkton’s official flower, the sunflower.
The Yorkers are going to play both formats of cricket, T20 and ODP, in the Saskatchewan Cricket League. In T20 cricket, each team’s innings comprises a maximum of 20 overs. An over is six deliveries of the ball by a bowler. In ODP, also known as 40-over cricket, each team bats for a maximum of 40 overs.
The Yorkers will play all of their games in Regina because Yorkton doesn’t have a pitch, which is needed to host a game. Their traveling expenses could, however, be worse if it wasn’t for the league placing all of their games in the Queen City rather than splitting time between Regina and Saskatoon.
“We are very thankful the league helped cut down our traveling time by making all of our games in Regina,” said Barker. “They really helped us out and we appreciate it.”
The mayor hopes to bring a pitch to Yorkton in the future.
“Hopefully cricket will continue to grow and we can get a pitch in the future so they can one day play here,” Maloney noted.
The Yorkers kick off the cricket season on Sunday, May 19 in Regina-based Douglas Park. They play the Royals and Jaguars in T20 matches.