The Napa Valley Cricket Club (NVCC) will host its sixth annual “World Series of Cricket” match this coming Sunday from 10am at the Napa Valley Expo in downtown Napa. The match marks the halfway point in the clubs 2017 season, their first playing matches in Napa having moved from their previous ground at The Fairgrounds in Calistoga over the winter. As ever the game will be hotly contested as the Rest of the World (RoW) team of members look to retain the trophy they won in 2016 against a strong American & Australian (AA) team who lead the annual contest 3-2 having won last in 2015.
With cricket being the second most popular sport in the world, after soccer, the NVCC uses their annual World Series match to showcase the game and encourages locals and visitors alike to come watch, and learn about, the game. Cricket is played in over 100 countries worldwide and close to home the game has a strong and passionate following in the South Bay.
“Our World Series match has become the big match of the season for our members” said NVCC president Rob Bolch, an Australian, “and with almost all of our playing members available for the match it means the cricket will be of a very good quality from both teams who this year are looking pretty balanced. The addition of a number of new members with our move to Napa has added even more diversity to our ranks in particular with the Afghan born Safdari brothers, Mustafa and Mujtaba, joining in 2017. So when we add all of the players together we’ll have players from Australia, America, Ireland, the UK, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan playing the World Series match. And when we add in non-playing members we can also add Brazil and Jamaica which I’m guessing makes us one the most internationally diverse organizations in the Napa Valley.” continued Bolch “It’s a fun day out for the family with supervised activities for the kids, food from Compadres and beverages from our sponsors Clos du Val and Anchor Steam Brewing.”
New Zealand born Yountville resident Bernie Peacock captains the RoW team for the 2017 match and he has a wealth of talent at his disposal. In addition to the Safdari brothers, league cricketer and long-standing NVCC member Amritpal Bhatal has made himself available for the match. “It’s going to be a great day, both on and off the field.” says Peacock “As the holders of the trophy we go into the match feeling confident but need to make sure that we make the right decisions with both bat and ball, as the AA team have some strong match-winning players in their ranks. If we can get those players unsettled, or even better, take them out of the equation, I think we’ll see a good contest that we hope to win. Off the field I’m excited to be playing the match at the Expo in downtown Napa as a number of family and friends will be coming along for the day to enjoy the spectacle.”
Australian all-rounder John Leake will be captaining the AA team in 2017 and he’s looking forward to the challenge of taking back the trophy. “The World Series is always a great day out for family and friends and having it in Napa this season will mean we can probably expect a larger crowd than in previous seasons.” says Leake “The team we’ll be putting out this year is strong in all departments, but particularly in the fielding department with our American fielders Pete Cameron and Jared Thatcher and their “baseball arms” being singularly effective at keeping the run scoring down. That, in tandem with a decent bowling line up and a strong batting line up means that we’re pretty confident of taking the trophy back from the RoW side.”
The toss for the game, to decide who bats or bowls first, will take place at 10.15am with Napa Mayor Jill Techel performing the task. Commentary on the game will be provided by American born NVCC member Jamie Johnson who played cricket in the UK for 24 years. During the innings lunch break and during drinks breaks, explanations of the game and its rules will take place at the “pitch” area in the middle of the ground.
Admission is free for the day with food from club sponsor Compadres Rio Grille and refreshments from Clos du Val and Anchor Brewing on sale. An instant cellar drawing with wine worth in excess of $2000 will take place at the end of proceedings to raise money for the club. Tickets will be on sale on the day for $5 each or $20 for five.