City of Nanaimo installs new cricket pitch in Beban Park due to demand

City of Nanaimo installs new cricket pitch in Beban Park due to demand

If you’re a cricket fan or player on Vancouver Island you’ll be glad to know there’s a new pitch in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo hasn’t had an official cricket pitch for more than a decade, but with a growing number of players, estimated at more than 100, the city decided to build one at Beban Park.

For those requesting the pitch, they’ve been bowled over by the accommodation.

“I was like, ‘Holy cow,'” said Shivam Mandloi, the Nanaimo Cricket Club’s Captain, on hearing that it would be located at the centrally-located Nanaimo park.

Since 2018, the Nanaimo Cricket Club has had a competitive team, but no pitch to play on. So to practice, they’ve travelled to Shawnigan Lake or Qualicum Beach, or as far as Victoria.

“It’s pretty hard because two hours going and two hours coming back, it just takes the whole day away,” said Mandloi. The Nanaimo Cricket Club plays in the Victoria and District Cricket Association.

The City of Nanaimo finished building a pitch two weeks ago at a cost of $12,000 with the artificial turf donated by the club.

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“First of all, recreation needs to always be inclusive. It needs to make everybody feel welcome and meet people where they’re at, and I think that’s something we’re doing here,” said Charlotte Davis, City of Nanaimo’s manager of parks operations.

Club members got the news in recent months that they were getting a pitch and they say it’s fulfilling a dream for it to be at Beban Park, where the former pitch was before it was removed in 2012.

“Thankful to the city and Cricket Canada who helped us make a pitch here,” said Sukh Singh, the team’s president, as well as a member and sponsor with Tandoori Junction.

“I live like two minutes away and it’s such a convenience for us,” said Ishan Arora, a club member.

The City says cricket is gaining in popularity and the timing was right.

“We were able to take advantage of the opportunity at Beban. Now we have our two new artificial turf fields in Harewood it freed up a little more space so that’s why the timing was really right for us as well,” said Davis.

The team, which already is among the best in their league, says having a proper home field advantage will only help them get more good innings.

“Thank you very much, city. You granted us the field now and we are going to do better,” said Varinder Singh, a club member.

Most members of the Nanaimo Cricket Club’s Division One team have brought their love of the game with them to Nanaimo.

“I think 70 to 75 per cent of people are from India. We do have a few from the Middle East and few will be joining from Carribbean,” said Mandloi.

The club is inviting the community to watch their first real home field advantage match on June 16, with official ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. and the match starting at noon.

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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