By Sam Sooppersaud
When was the last time you passed around Sutphin and Baisley Boulevards in Queens? If you are a cricket fan and you have not gone that way within the last two years then I suggest you make a visit to that park soon. What you would find is a real, an authentic cricket field. Not a park where cricket is played but a true cricket ground.
Gone are the bumps and gullies, the tall clumps of crab grass, and the collection of rocks scattered over the entire surface of the field. This was the kind of field our cricketers played their cricket on at the Old Baisley Park, before the park was completely overhauled over the past two years. It is one of several parks specifically developed for cricket: Idlewild in Rosedale, Queens, Seaview in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and several others in Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx.
Cricket is a growing sport in New York City and the authorities realizing this have been working with the administrators of the game to provide suitable fields. The New Baisley Cricket Field is a model of a field. It slants down from the wicket to the boundary around the perimeter of the field. A lush carpet of green grass covers the outfield. Flood drains are built at various parts of the ground to ensure that water does not lodge on the field after the rains have fallen. At each of the four corners a garden has been designed and beautiful flowers planted.
The members of the Melbourne Cricket Club who use this field for their club’s home games, in conjunction with the NYC Parks Department and the Office of the Borough President invite all cricket fans to come to Baisley Park on Monday, May 9, 2011, at 10:00am for the official reopening and ribbon cutting ceremony. In attendance will be NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, PSAL Cricket Commissioner Bassett Thompson, Cricket Coordinator Lorna Austin and numerous other city officials. Representatives of NYPD Cricket League and of the various clubs and leagues that use the park will come out to meet and chat with the guests and visitors.
A Twenty/20 match is planned to mark the occasion with players drawn from various clubs and cricket programs, including from the NY Cricket School which conducts its program at Baisley Park. Joe Siewharack and Glyne Hurley, two officials of the NY Coaching Schools are working at getting up the two teams that will showcase the game for our visiting city dignitaries.
Cricket players who are interested in playing in this game are invited to show up at Baisley Park in uniform on the day of the ceremony, Monday, May 9, 2011 and show the city people the reason why they should allocate more fields for cricket.