The Yorkton Yorkers wrapped up their sophomore season in the Saskatchewan Cricket League last week with an unenviable record, but optimistic for the future.
Because of restructuring of the league to accommodate a record 23 teams—up from 16 last year—the Yorkers played a reduced schedule of 16 games, 9 in the One Day Provincial (ODP) format (40 overs) and seven in the T20 format (20 overs).
In T20 play the Yorkers finished with a 2-4-1 record, good enough for sixth place in the eight-team Regina-Yorkton-Estevan division and one win better than the team’s inaugural season in 2013.
The highlight of the season was a July 20 thrashing of the Queen City Cricket Club. The Yorkers batted first putting up a good total of 164 runs for six wickets. All-rounder Tinku Sharma led the Yorkton batters with 67 runs in the outing.
In the second innings, Yorkton bowlers dominated the Queen City batsmen taking all 10 of the Regina squad’s wickets in just 13.4 overs.
In the ODP competition, the Yorkers finished last out of the 12 teams with a record of 0-7-2.
While the record was disappointing, individual highlights included a century by team captain Mandeep Singh and a half-century by Sharma in an August 9 match versus Midway Cricket Club.
The biggest disappointment of the season happened off the field when Yorkton Cricket Association (YCA) founder Faisal Anwar announced he had taken a new position in Manitoba and would be leaving Yorkton.
Anwar, who led the Yorkers last season and was the province’s top bowler of 2013 in the T20 league stepped down as team captain in July and relinquished presidency of the association at the end of August.
Incoming YCA president Thom Barker said Anwar will be missed, but there are positives to be taken from the season.
“We lost some prominent players from last season, but were still able to field a team with new players and even managed to win a couple of matches,” he said. “Mandeep is doing a wonderful job with the guys and showing great leadership on and off the pitch.
“It bodes well for cricket in Yorkton that we will be able to carry on despite losing our guiding force in Faisal.”
Barker was also grateful for the community support the Yorkers have garnered.
“Three new sponsors, Crystal Clear Imprints, Domino’s Pizza and Royal Ford came forward and provided us with new jerseys,” he said. “It is wonderful that the community is embracing this new addition to Yorkton’s sports scene.”
Yorkton cricket also evolved this year as the association and the Yorkers became two separate entities.
The YCA will act as an umbrella organization for the Yorkers and any future area teams, liaise with the Saskatchewan Cricket Association (SCA), develop the sport in the Parkland, oversee junior cricket and winter cricket and manage shared resources such as a cricket ground, which Barker said he hopes the organization will be able to negotiate with the City for next season. The last two years, the Yorkers have had to play their home games in Regina.
The Yorkers Cricket Club will concentrate on building a winning cricket team under the tutelage of Singh.