The cricket season in the Napa Valley starts every year with the annual Napa Valley World Series of Cricket match, which pits club members against each other based on their country of birth. As the club continues to grow bigger each year there is a lot of pride at stake in this annual game and having being well beaten in 2015 the Rest of the World (ROW) team were looking to avenge that loss to the Australia / America (AA) team. The ROW team eventually ran out winners by 5 wickets in a low scoring game that see-sawed back and forth all day and almost ended with a cliff hanger finish!
The Napa Valley Cricket Club will again host its World Series of Cricket this coming Sunday, April 24th, from 10 a.m. at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga to kick off its 2016 season. As ever the game will be hotly contested as the Rest of the World team of members look to wrestle the trophy back from the American / Australian team who won in 2015.
Napa Valley Cricket Club will be kicking off their 2015 season with the annual World Series of Cricket game this coming Saturday 18th April.
The Napa Valley Cricket Club will again host its “World Series” this coming Saturday from 10 a.m. at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga to kick off its 2015 season. As ever the game will be hotly contested as the American / Australian team of members look to wrestle the trophy back from the Rest of the World team who won convincingly in 2014.
Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world after soccer and The Napa Valley Cricket Club (NVCC) is now a firmly established member of that community. Cricket is played in over 100 countries worldwide and close to home the game has a strong and passionate following in the South Bay area.
Both of the teams captains took time out to share some of their background in the lead up to the game in addition to their thoughts on who might win! New Zealander Bill Nancarrow, who came to the Napa Valley in 2003, is the captain of the defending trophy holders, the Rest of the World team. Nancarrow who hails from the North Island in New Zealand has been a resident of St. Helena for 12 years now and came to the valley to work at Duckhorn Wine Company. Nancarrow recalls playing “backyard” cricket as a four year old as his earliest cricketing memory and his favorite cricketing moment goes back to 1978 when his native New Zealand beat England in a test (five day) match.
Says Nancarrow, now winemaker at Goosecross Cellars in Yountville, on the subject on getting more Americans involved in cricket “It’s a great game of strategy, statistics, and skill that provides great social and entertainment opportunities for spectators. I think these are all things that appeal to the American sports fan.” Nancarrow who captains the team from the wicket-keeper position says when asked about the result on Saturday that “it will be close, very close”
Nancarrow also opens the batting for the ROW team and has made some high scores while playing for the club over the last couple if seasons. He explains his fielding position of wicket-keeper as follows ” I don’t bowl (the cricket equivalent of pitching) much these days, so when we field my position is the wicketkeeper (catcher). In that position I wear padded gloves and my goal is to make ‘out’ plays by catching the ball from a hit or collecting throws from the fielders and getting a run-out. I also help the bowlers (pitchers) strategize for the different batsman and game situation.”
Nancarrow is looking forward to the family element of the World Series game of Saturday as the NVCC will be providing plenty of activities for the kids including a bouncy house and a kid’s game during the mid-innings (half-time) break. Nancarrow tries to play cricket at home with his two kids who enjoy a “backyard” game every now and again.
The American / Australian (AA) team will be captained this year by Rob Bolch, who co-incidentally is the NVCC Club Captain. Bolch who hails from the town of Clyde in Victoria, Australia has lived in the Napa Valley since 2005. In his 10 years here he has worked in various facets of the wine industry. Having won the first two World Series games in 2012 and 2013 Bolch is looking to win the trophy back in what he says will be a close game. Says Bolch “We have a strong base of members as we head into our fourth season and I think this will benefit both teams but, and I’m biased, I think the AA team will sneak the win by four wicket’s (which means Bolch is guessing that the AA team will bat second and surpass the ROW score while still having four of their players who are available to bat).
Bolch has played cricket all his life and tells of memories of playing cricket in the front paddock at home and he’d play is version of “test cricket” with his three sisters and their cousins. He recalls how those games would seem to go on “all summer long.” Bolch’s earliest memories of seeing cricket at the top level stretches back to 1981 when Australia played the West Indies (a team made up of players from a number of Caribbean countries) at the hallowed MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). Both teams of that era were made up of players now considered cricketing legends and Bolch recalls the experience fondly.
On the topics of Americans taking up cricket Bolch says “Given that it’s the worlds second biggest sport after soccer how can the USA not take it seriously? It’s full of great traditions, lots of strategy and more recently has become a very fast paced game, in the T20 (20 overs of 6 balls each) format. I think this shorter format will suit the American preference for a 3hr game versus one that lasts several hours or days. In addition to that the fact that as a result of the baseball tradition American have great arm so their fielding is always very impressive when they make the transition to cricket. We now have four American members” says Bolch “and we are always looking for new converts to the cause”
Bolch, like Nancarrow, is a strong batsman, who tends to open the batting when he plays. In addition that that he bowls plenty as is renowned for tricky medium pace balls bowled at a deceptive length. Bolch is very modest about his bowling prowess and he has some impressive figures including two “five-fors” (five wickets or outs in a game for NVCC) which is nothing compared to when he was in his prime and he took 5/29 and 5/15 in a two inning game at the age of 18.
The one thing that both Nancarrow and Bolch agree on is that Saturday will be a great day for everyone. There will be something for everyone with food from the Rebel Dog hot dog company, beer from Anchor Steam and wine from Clos du Val and Chandon.
The Napa Valley Cricket Club wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the following sponsors
Clos du Val, Silverado Resort, Compadres Rio Grille, Tonnellerie Saint Martin, Penfolds, St. Helena Optometry, First Priority Financial, Anchor Steam Brewing, Amcor, Joseph Cellars, Ciatti & Co., Rebel Dog Hot Dogs, Stone Universe, Lyve Systems Inc., Calistoga Roastery, TricorBraun WinePak, 3 rock marketing, Napa Gourmet Foods, Napa Valley Body Connect.
Opening Day Details
Saturday 18th April 2015 – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Napa County Fairgrounds, 1435 N Oak St, Calistoga, 94515