Cricket is finally coming to Portage la Prairie. After sparking interest in many locals the last two years at the cricket demonstration events, many organizations in the area have banded together to create the Portage Cricket Club.
The Portage Learning and Literacy Centre, ROK, Portage Local Immigration Partnership, and the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation, along with the cricket players in Portage have made this a reality. Sajan George has been commuting to play the game for nearly a decade.
"I'm really excited that cricket is coming to Portage la Prairie. I'm from India, and cricket is a very popular game in India," says George. "Every summer, it's a little harder for me to go to Winnipeg every weekend but because of my passion for the game, I didn't give up. Over the last couple of years, we've been getting more people in Portage that are interested in cricket, and I found Megan (Romphf) from the PLLC, and we had a conversation. With their help, we're hoping to bring a cricket field to Portage la Prairie in the next two years."
George notes the plan is to have the organization fully formed by 2024 and have teams of all ages compete under the Manitoba Cricket Association, which currently has over 50 clubs in the province.
He adds it's been a tough process as cricket can be a bit of a complex game for people with little knowledge of it. This is why the Portage Cricket Club's first objective is going to be to teach the game to kids, which they will be starting officially on October 4.
"Right now, we are working on registration and we posted the information online on Facebook. Every day we've been getting messages and phone calls from parents," says a coach of the program Sahil Sathwara. "We're going to divide the kids into three groups, ages 13-17, 9-12, and 6-8. We're going to start teaching them about the cricket game."
The program is set to run on Tuesdays beginning on September 27th with a registration day at Republic Park. The following week will see the first official lessons begin. Sathwara says it can take a bit of time to fully get the hang of the game but notes he's looking forward to the opportunity to spread his passion for the sport to the next generation.
The PLLC, ROK, PLIP, and PCRC all give a massive thank you to Jumpstart for funding this operation and allowing them to finally be able to bring cricket to Portagers free of charge.
This is the first step in the two-year process of forming the Portage Cricket Club. For more information on the ins and outs of cricket or the program itself, head to Republic Park on Tuesday, September 27 at 5:30 for their demonstration and registration night.