Cricket Island – Vis, Croatia
There’s an interesting mix of Croatian and English around the ground. Who knew this game could translate so well. Cricket first came to the island in the 1800s, by way of sea and military design. Then it was a way for bored English officers to kill time, now it provides a much needed escape from city-bred cubicles.
There’s everything you’d expect from a cricket tournament – mid-over conferences, heckling spectators – usually teammates heckling fellow teammates, all in good spirit of course, hungover players, confusion with the rules and scoring, stumbles, fumbles and some stunning cricket, lost cricket balls, a bunch of colourful characters and colourful language, even a pitch invasions (this time of the canine variety).
For some players this is a first – there are a few here who’ve never held bat or ball before. Others are old warriors, with many injuries to show and many stories to share. There are players who are just out of school, there are others who have crossed retirement age. It takes all kinds to make a good cricket match.
The teams are squaring off for a chance at to get their hands on a set of hand carved trophies. It doesn’t happen in many tournaments that one of the team captains is also the one to create the tournament trophies. The trophies are carved from old wine barrels, much like the scorecard. Cricket is all about maintaining the consistency.
Once the runs have been chased down, the victory march completed, the ground opens up to practice and a bit of a fun. The scuffed red cricket balls are now joined by chewed up tennis balls, and chasing dogs. Equipment is tidied up. Scorecards are tallied. Bottle openers are forced into action. And the valley is swarmed with post match analysis, strategies and plans for the tournament next year.