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does the future hold for cricket

  • 30 Jan
    导出博客文章NEW YORK -- Bon Jovis upcoming album is entitled, This House is Not For Sale,
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    try to buy the Buffalo Bills, but this has nothing to do with that. All Im doing
    -- Im in the music business. End of story.
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    . -- Aaron Murray threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns, ran
    for another score, and led No. At first, the 18th-century fortress island of
    Suomenlinna, just off the coast of Helsinki, Finland, seems an unlikely location
    for a cricket match. Certainly, the tourists are baffled, as they look down upon
    us from the grass-covered battlements above. So too do the army cadets doing
    laps of our makeshift ground. However, it was the presence of fortifications
    such as Suomenlinna that first brought Finland to the attention of the British
    navy. And where the navy went, cricket came too.I moved to Finland in 2014, and
    found, to my surprise, that cricket was thriving. Most cricketers here come
    originally from India or Pakistan but there are players from every Test-playing
    nation, as well as from many others, including Switzerland, Germany,
    Afghanistan, Nepal, and, of course, Finland. Empire Cricket Club, who Ive been
    playing for regularly, contains an especially diverse mix. Members include
    students and software developers, researchers and scientists, a restaurateur, a
    theatre producer, and a former Navy commander with a passion for contemporary
    dance.Recently, Nicholas Hogg wrote beautifully about how cricket can provide a
    home for the homeless, a new family for refugees. That is certainly true in
    Finland. One player here - who asked not to be named - left his native Pakistan
    due to death threats following his campaigns for womens rights. After 20 days in
    Russia and three months in a refugee camp, he is once again relishing the chance
    to bowl fast and drill near yorkers over long-on. I was not aware there was such
    a great cricket community here, he told me. Ive been able to meet people from so
    many different cultures.The game does more than just the game, explains Jo
    Hadley, chairman of Empire CC. It was this that first drew Hadley, a retired UK
    policeman, to cricket. He had never been interested in any sport until moving to
    Finland in 2002 to complete a doctorate in sociology. He is now one of those
    selflessly dedicated figures at the heart of so many small cricket clubs.
    Somewhere in a Finnish suburb are these people dressed in white playing a
    quintessentially English game, he says. I was attracted to that poetry.Hadley
    contrasts cricket to the example of pes?pallo, a Finnish version of baseball
    invented by eugenics-championing fascist Lauri Pihkala, and promoted from above
    after the rights victory in Finlands 1918 civil war. Crickets growth, by
    contrast, has been an organic one fuelled by immigration - a journey from the
    periphery towards the centre. I see cricket as the sporting expression of
    multicultural Finland, says Hadley.But both pes?pallo and cricket have been
    encouraged by the military at various times. The Suomenlinna match, known as the
    Viapori Cup, is a legacy of a time when a few cricket-mad Finnish naval officers
    organised cricket games to build team spirit among cadets. Contested since the
    early 2000s, the Viapori Cup is now a very relaxed affair.Much of the cricket
    played here is far more competitive. Credit for its organisation should go to
    the Finnish Cricket Association (FCA), founded by Andrew Armitage in 1999 and
    approved by the ICC the following year. I wanted to see cricket here develop
    into something more than just the occasional match, says Armitage, a former
    banker who moved here with his Finnish wife in 1988. I wanted us to get better
    organised - it was something I was passionate about.The FCA has certainly
    succeeded. Today, there are 30 registered clubs, mostly in the south of the
    country, and around 600 licenced players. Cricket here is sponsored by Hardys
    Wine (just like the England cricket team) and the FCA has kit deals with
    MKK-Newbery. In the summer, there are leagues for both 40-over cricket and
    Twenty20. In Finlands long, dark winters, cricket moves indoors. Outside of the
    FCA structure, there are popular tape-ball leagues as well as one-off games like
    the Viapori Cup or Cinders - an annual two-innings contest between Empire and
    Stadin Krikettikerho (SKK).The FCAs major triumph has been the opening of a new
    purpose-built cricket ground in Kerava, 25 minutes north of Helsinki. The ground
    was officially opened in June 2014, in the presence of Mike Brearley, Lord
    Mervyn King, and various Finnish dignitaries. Given that most matches in Finland
    are played on gravel outfields (many of Finlands sports grounds are converted
    into ice rinks come winter), playing on the grass at Kerava feels like a serious
    luxury. This summer, the ground played host to the first Nordic-Baltic
    tournament between Finland, Sweden and Estonia.But how did cricket get here in
    the first place? In 2015, Wisdens short overview of cricket in Finland includes
    no mention of anything before 1952, when a visiting team from the Agincourt, a
    Royal Navy destroyer, decided that a spot of cricket at Helsinkis new stadium
    woulld be a perfect way to mark the Olympic Games.dddddddddddd But there is
    evidence that cricket was played in Finland almost 100 years earlier. Tony
    Lurcocks delightful No Particular Hurry: British travellers in Finland 1830-1917
    - the second of a three-volume compendium - contains several accounts of cricket
    played here as far back as the 1850s.It was during this period that Britain and
    France united against Russia in the Crimean War. In the UK at least, the Crimean
    is now best known for the charge of Light Brigade, and the Baltic theatre has
    been largely forgotten. Not so here. Finland had been taken from Sweden by
    Russia in 1809 and remained a Grand Duchy when the British navy sailed into the
    Baltic Sea. But with the Russian navy sheltering in their base at Kronstadt,
    there wasnt much fighting to be done. So when the British sailors were not
    raiding Finnish coastal settlements (many seemed unable to grasp the fact that
    Finland was not the enemy but effectively an occupied nation), they contented
    themselves with playing cricket on the islands. Lurcock finds examples of
    cricket in the writings of William Gerard Don, a ships doctor, and Rev Robert
    Edgar Hughes, both of whom were in the Baltic in 1854-55. Picnic and cricket
    parties were frequent, writes Hughes, and the lonely rocks were made to ring
    with the sound of French and English laughter.There is one further
    cricket-related oddity. In August 1854, under public pressure to be seen to be
    doing something, the British fleet did destroy the fortress of Bomarsund on the
    ?land islands between Sweden and Finland. Lurcock notes that the bombardment
    gave its name, rather bizarrely, to a village in Northumberland. In 1974,
    Bomarsund won the UKs National Village Cricket Championship.After unsuccessfully
    bombarding Suomenlinna (Im tempted to draw a comparison with my own, ahem,
    explosive legbreaks) the British fleet returned home. Thereafter, incidences of
    cricket matches in Finland are sporadic. Lurcock tells of Edward Rae, a wealthy
    London stockbroker, who organised a cricket match against an all-Lapland XI in
    1873. They were all out for 0 in their second innings. But Rae was just over the
    border in Russia at the time.It was not until the 1960s that cricket began to be
    played in Finland more frequently. Matches took place between the British
    Embassy and a team of Finnish admen calling themselves the Kingdom of Palmerston
    (it was Lord Palmerston, a cabinet member during the Crimean War, who advocated
    the return of Finland from Russia to Sweden). Most of the stories from this
    period focus more on boozy journeys to Stockholm than on the cricket itself.In
    1972, a group of cricketers decided to break away from the British Embassy and
    form the Helsinki Cricket Club, Finlands first. Their belief was that the sport
    would be better served in the hands of permanent residents than transient
    diplomats. They were right. One of their number - a Jamaican fast bowler by the
    name of Ira Ebanks - has become a legendary figure in Finnish cricket. He is
    still a regular presence at the boundary edge, groaning at yet another Empire
    batting collapse. Empire itself was founded in 2003 following a period of rapid
    expansion for cricket in Finland. The Nokia boom years of the 1990s saw the
    influx of a new, tech-savvy workforce, many of whom came from India and
    Pakistan. They brought their love of cricket with them, and clubs formed in the
    cities of Turku, Tampere, and Vantaa. Although Nokia collapsed in 2013 and
    Finlands economy remains shaky, Helsinkis tech and start-up scenes continue to
    provide a major draw. So does the countrys excellent education system and free
    university tuition (although fees for overseas students will be introduced from
    2017).So what does the future hold for cricket in Finland? While the earliest
    cricket matches here involved the English, today the sport feels untouched by
    colonial traces. It is not an expat game but, as Hadley has said, a reflection
    of a complex multicultural experience. The FCAs aim is to further integrate
    cricket into Finlands sporting structures. Finns tend to like quirky things,
    says Maija Scamans, formerly captain of Finlands first womens cricket team, now
    the FCAs Operations Director. Cricket is an individual game within a team
    context. I think that appeals to the Finnish psyche.The FCA has been holding
    cricket summer camps and coaching in schools since 2004. This year, for the
    first time, cricket is to be a part of the curriculum for the whole school year
    across ten different schools in Kerava. Our aim is to become an integral part of
    the Finnish sporting community, says Armitage, not just a strange, marginal
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