The International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body for cricket, paid a visit to the Napa Valley recently to meet with Napa Valley Cricket Club (NVCC) board members and discuss facilities. Ben Kavenagh (ICC Regional Development Manager – Americas) and Tom Evans (ICC Cricket Manager – Americas) were in California as part of a series of regional combines across America to un-earth cricketing talent and took time out of their busy schedule to see the progress made by NVCC in their short history.
The combines took place in Los Angeles at Woodley Park and in the South Bay at a number of facilities. There were Napa Valley representatives at each of the combines with Amritpal Bhatal invited to the men’s combine in LA while Napa High School sophomore Jesse Healy was invited to the women’s combine in San Jose. Both Bhatal and Healy were tested under the BAM (Basic Athletic Measurement) system in five areas – Power Core – 60 Meter Shuttle – Agility – 20 Meter Sprint – Vertical Jump – and were awarded weighted scores based on their age, height and weight. In addition to that both were tested in the nets at batting and bowling and then played a number of games where their ‘on-field’ skills and attitude were analyzed by the ICC coaching staff with all of the games being recorded for further analysis afterwards.
“It was a great experience to see where I stacked up in terms of my cricketing skills” said Healy who practices with the NVCC and plays each summer at Merrion Cricket Club in Ireland, “and I really liked how the ICC have brought science into the testing area. My results in the BAM were good and my bowling and fielding were too. I’m planning on working on my batting in Dublin soon as I know that now-a-days everyone on a team has to contribute with the bat right down to number 11”
The NVCC have been working hard over the last couple of years with both the City of Napa Parks & Rec department and the Napa Expo to have top class cricket facilities included in both of their respective master plans. As a result of a series of workshops and meetings at the city council chambers since 2014 Parks & Rec had their draft Kennedy Park Master Plan (KPMP) formally adopted by the city council in December of 2015. The next phase is to look at revenue generation for the ambitious new Kennedy Park with Parks & Rec looking to present their ideas on this important area of the new parks sustainability by the end of 2016. The approved KPMP draft plan has a cricket field and pitch as part of much bigger multi-use area turf area that would also accommodate soccer, rugby, and lacrosse in addition to being used a community venue for concerts and potentially being the start / finish lines for road and bike races.
“Realistically we’re looking at 7 to 10 years before cricket at Kennedy Park is a reality” said Phil Bourke NVCC President “but in the meantime the Expo in downtown Napa is looking to revamp their facilities in the aftermath of the 2014 earthquake and we’ve presented to them the idea of being the home ground for the NVCC. “
The NVCC took Kavenagh and Evans to meet with the Joe Anderson CEO of the Napa Expo and Laura Lafler of LSA Associates Inc., the consulting firm working on a new master plan for the Napa Expo. LSA Associates Inc. plans to unveil their draft master plan for the whole Napa Expo site at a public meeting in early June.
In addition to the meeting with the Napa Expo Kavenagh and Evans also met with John Coates and his team from Napa Parks & Rec where both parties outlined their plans for the future – Kavenagh of the ICC’s for cricket in America with Coates sharing the vision for Kennedy Park as a community centric park.
“It was great to visit the Napa Valley to meet the Napa Expo folks and see first hand the exciting possible space for a new cricket facility in addition to the long term plan of Parks & Rec for Kennedy Park.” Said Evans after both of the meetings. He continued “The Napa Valley CC are doing some very positive work in the community to develop the game further.”
After the formality of the meetings the NVCC treated Kavenagh and Evans, who were joined by Graeme West, High Performance Coach of the West Indies, to a wine tasting at NVCC sponsor Clos du Val before they headed back to San Francisco and on to the next combine.