Cricket in the Ocean State

Expats are at bat in Saint Columba's Cricket Club.
Photograph by Mike Braca.

On a quiet field in a corner of Middletown, men clad in white bring a British pastime to Rhode Island soil. Voices float through the air as a small crowd lounges under a white tent, watching the action in front of them. Crack! The sound of ball-against-bat rips across the field as shouts let loose and two men run back and forth, tapping their bats over a line in front of three sticks stuck in the ground. This is a cricket match, and the home team, Saint Columba’s Cricket Club, is on the defense. Today they are playing the Boston Warriors, a fellow member of the Massachusetts State Cricket League and one of the many regional teams they compete against. SCCC was birthed in 1993 at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Middletown by a British expat, and grew throughout the years. It attracts locals and players from as far as India, Australia and Trinidad, a melting pot of culture united by a common love of cricket. Players bring food to fuel the long matches, showcasing their diverse backgrounds. “We have food and drink for the visiting team. It’s not just cricket,” says president of the club, Amitabh Sheth. An audience of families, friends and passersby ebbs and flows as the day goes on, joining resting players as they gorge on biryani and watermelon, guzzle Rolling Rock lager and feast on grilled lamb, chicken and fried fish. This is SCCC, a club that not only gathers around sport but also community, creating the true spirit of the game. Sheth says, “The spirit of cricket comes before the laws, it is a preamble to the laws. If you play with the spirit of cricket, that is the best.”