Cricket on the playing fields of Brighton

Cricket on the playing fields of Brighton

[Cricket at the Brighton High School baseball diamond. Batter dodging a thrown pitch. Photos by David Kramer except where indicated 4/18/21]

I’ve seen many games played on the playing fields behind Brighton High School: football, baseball, softball, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, golf, volleyball, badminton, kickball, ultimate frisbee, croquet (once) and disc golf.

On Sunday, I added to my list one of the world’s oldest sports: cricket. On weekends and on some work evenings, cricketers set up a makeshift cricket field on the diamond behind Brighton High School, laying down the wickets, placing bats and batting gloves by the fence and marking the boundaries with orange cones.

4/19/21 Sunil Cheriyan (left) Role: All Rounder; Batting: Right Handed Batsman; Bowling: Right Arm Medium from GramNY Cricket Club

As explained by Sunil Cheriyan, the players are originally from India, now living in Rochester in a variety of occupations. The men brought with them a love of cricket, the most popular sport in India where some see cricket as a religion. While Sunil would not go so far as to call cricket a religion, he says most of the men probably first played in early childhood and have never stopped.

The men play for GramNY Cricket Club in local competitive tournaments at Genesee Valley Park and the Rustic Village Cricket pitch in Brighton.

08/04/2019 Bill Moehle – Brighton Town Supervisor at the opening coin toss at the 16th Annual Rustic Cricket Tournament. “The annual Rustic Cricket Tournament kicked off yesterday at the Rustic Village Cricket pitch in Brighton and at Genesee Valley Park. Over 25 men’s and women’s teams from across New York State are playing, including players originally from India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Afghanistan as well as the U. S. Each nation is represented by their flag. This tournament is so indicative of the diverse multicultural roots in the Brighton community.” (Rustic Cricket Tournament) From Brighton Town Supervisor Bill “Shohei” Moehle throws out first pitch, goes two for three with 2 RBI’s in the Game at the Corners

08/03/2019 GRAMNY vs Corning Gorillas (Rustic Cricket Tournament)

The gatherings at the high school diamond are really more like practices as 11 players on each side are needed for a real match. The guys are here for fun, exercise and to keep their games sharp.

I took a few swings with the cricket bat, a cane handle attached to a flat-fronted willow-wood blade.  I did well enough on the first two pitches, but then looked more like a baseball player — Casey at the Ball — swinging wildly at the third throw.¹

Action at the wicket. (top right) Sunil Cheriyan; (bottom right) rookie David Kramer [Photo: Sunil Cheriyan]

Action on the field. (top) Fielder attempting to catch short fly hit; he failed, Sunil Cheriyan on deck wearing batting gloves; (middle) Runner who reached the base wicket considers his next move; (bottom) Bowler delivering ball, Sunil Cheriyan with bat.

The Players

The Players

The Players

Dilip Gangadaran Playing Role: All Rounder; Batting style: Right Handed Batsman; Bowling style: Right Arm Medium from GramNY Cricket Club

4/18/21. (left) David Kramer about to his strike his first cricket bat that would bounce weakly and barely forward.¹ [Photo: Sunil Cheriyan];  (right) Near that same spot, David Kramer at a 3/36/16 workout with the Cardinals of the Rochester Men’s Adult Baseball League. The ball is now orbiting somewhere around the moon. From “Don’t go soft, play hardball”; The Rochester Men’s Adult Baseball League needs a few good men.

This was actually my second cricket sighting in Brighton. As seen in The inscribed brick pavers at Buckland Park in Brighton, in April 2020 at Buckland Park, I came across three cricketers practicing next to the baseball fields.

April 2020. Cricket players practicing social distancing. The third player was wearing a face mask. From The inscribed brick pavers at Buckland Park in Brighton

On Sunday the 24th, the cricketers again gathered. In the nearby batting cage, I tried my hand at the America version of cricket: baseball. Matt Kamm was helping his son Brody and friend Gavin DeBlase prepare for an upcoming tryout for the modified Brighton team (that both made).

4/25/21 The batting cage at Brighton High School (left) Matt Kamm pitching, Brody Kamm makes good contact; (center) Gavin DeBlase about to make good contact; (left) David Kramer making less-than-good contact [Photo: Gavin DeBlase]

NOTE

¹ As seen in “An early-spring renewal of the spirit” over 10,000 fungos later, one Talker had significantly more success in his cricket debut:

When living in London and working for Xerox for three years, Dean Tucker was once invited to play in a cricket match at a country estate.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 05 Jul 1935. Cricket was first played in Rochester in 1859. The Rochester Cricket Club was formed in the 1880s, playing matches in Driving Park. In 1935, the Deputy Mayor of Rochester, England visited Rochester, NY, attending a July 4th cricket match in Genesee Valley Park where the sport has been played at the park since 1911. “You can get an Englishman out of England but you can’t keep him from cricket” might be appropriate for this picture of Deputy Mayor Leech of Rochester, England, who is again visiting here. Deputy Leech is talking with Patrick J. Slavin, parks director, and Mrs. Leech just before the cricket match yesterday at Genesee Valley Park.

Next to a tree near the Rochester Cricket Ground in Genesee Valley Park. IN MEMORY OF THOMAS GOODWIN SR 1852 – 1934 ROCHESTER CRICKET CLUB During the Deputy Mayor of Rochester, England’s 1935 visit, the tablet was dedicated, [Photo: David Kramer 5/6/21]

A Rochester Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, on his first swing, Dean made a prodigious wallop of the cricket ball, landing it far away into an English garden.

CATCHER OF THE ULSTER NINE (Sketch by Dan Beard) In Yankee, Twain’s Hank Morgan teaches the Knights of the Round Table how to play baseball. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court / Samuel Clemens. New York : Charles L. Webster & Co., 1889, p. 519. University of Rochester’s Robbins Library

Reliving his cricket exploits, Dean Tucker at Reifsteck Field, Brighton High School, Easter, 2016. The 10,001st fungo! Dean Tucker in his Yale shirt. He spent thousands of fungos sending his daughter to New Haven, but did get the nice t-shirt. Wearing Xerox cap from where he earned those fungos. “An early-spring renewal of the spirit” over 10,000 fungos later

See also: football and softball on the playing fields of Brighton 

Congratulations Barons on a magical season.

Includes 5 years of stories on the Game at the Corners

Brighton Town Supervisor Bill “Shohei” Moehle throws out first pitch, goes two for three with 2 RBI’s in the Game at the Corners

 

About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, and the CITY.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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