New cricket program pitched to mothers and daughters

A Saint John area cricket club is looking to combine mother-daughter bonding with a sport that's gaining popularity in New Brunswick.

Cricket club offers skills classes to encourage women to take up sport

The Kennebecasis Valley Cricket Club is starting a program to introduce valley mothers and daughters to the skills and joys of the sport. (Jordan Gill/CBC)

A Saint John area cricket club is looking to combine mother-daughter bonding with a sport that's gaining popularity in New Brunswick.sport.

While the sport has a global audience, the popularity of the game in New Brunswick is fairly low and the club is looking to get more women involved.

Liz McCleave, the club's brand and marketing director, said the push to include more women in the sport comes directly from the International Cricket Council, the sports global governing body.

"It's just a great experience for bonding as well as an opportunity to build community," said McCleave.

Love of cricket

McCleave said she was introduced to cricket while playing a snow cricket tournament in Fredericton.

Her love of cricket continued to grow, in part because of her partner, a native New Zealander who played the sport semi-professionally.

"Cricket is a huge part of our home," McCleave said.

"He definitely kept my love and passion for cricket going."

Heather Purcell, who will coach the program, said she's fairly new to the sport but has always been involved in the sporting world and played competitive softball when she was younger.

"It feels like a natural transition," said Purcell.

"I think it'll come fairly easy to me."

Growing popularity

The popularity of cricket has increased in the province in recent years, and there are clubs in the Saint John area, Fredericton and Moncton.

The sport is played on an oval-shaped field, where one team bats while the other fields and pitches (or in cricket terms, bowls) the ball.

The batsman can hit the ball in any direction and runs between two "wickets" on a dirt runway.

If the batsman's ball leaves the boundary on the field, the batman's team is awarded a six, worth six points and thematically similar to a home run.

A game can last as little as three hours or for days. depending on the type of cricket being played.

A community feeling

Purcell said there are many reasons to love cricket, but she likes it's community aspects.

"Here in New Brunswick, it tends to be a comforting home for a lot of immigrants who moved here," McCleave said. 

"It's a broader sense of community and family, to be honest. Some of these cricket players I've played with have become like family to us."

The program will run for six weeks starting Feb. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Loch Lomond School gym in east Saint John.

There's no age range but the program only has room for 20 adults and 20 children.

"The key to the … program is to make it fun and have women coming back with their daughters and excited to come back for the next session," Purcell said.

With files from Information Morning Saint John