A couple of weeks ago I found a photo of a cricket club in Hong Kong. A reader, and fellow blogger, Salil Benegal, knew of it and has extensive knowledge of cricket in that region. The following guest-post is from Salil, with accompanying photos
Given Hong Kong's massive population density, it might be a bit surprising to know that there's even one cricket ground in the city. Yet two exist; the Hong Kong Cricket Club (HKCC) at Wong Nai Chung Gap on the main island, and its better known, and larger counterpart – the Kowloon Cricket Club in Kowloon. Few have heard of the former, which exists primarily as a country club with a small ground for members and the Hong Kong team to play on. Fine dinners (and particularly satays) are common at the HKCC, high profile matches aren't. Yet these photographs were taken at one of the very few held in recent times, when the Hong Kong side hosted Tamil Nadu, a strong Indian Ranji Trophy side, for an exhibition match attended by less than a hundred people, including your's truly and one Srinivas Venkataraghavan (former Indian off spinner and Test umpire).
The HKCC ground isn't one for watching matches on given the small capacity – or for playing on, if you're a bowler. The small dimensions make it a leather-hunt for any fielding side, and provide a rough day out for any person in a side for his bowling. Given the club's located in one of the hillier areas of Hong Kong, it's not surprising that high nets are erected around half the ground to try and prevent balls from being lost down the hills – and even then, they've had limited success.
The Kowloon Cricket Club lies a good distance away from the heart of the city, on the other side of Victoria Harbour in the Jordan district of Kowloon. The ground is far bigger than the HKCC's, and much better known, annually hosting the Hong Kong Sixes tournament every November. It's the one weekend in the year when the ground's small capacity of a few hundred is filled, mostly with expatriate fans and the odd curious local or sponsor. The Sixes are a six-a-side, five-overs-per-team tournament played with an orange plastic ball that see small teams of youngsters or retired/fringe players from various countries show up. Guests have been fairly high profile though – Hong Kong's had the likes of Moin Khan, Allan Donald, Vinod Kambli and Craig McDermott show up in past years in touring teams. But the Sixes are mainly about the atmosphere and seeing some fun slogging take place, rather than any real promotion for the sport. The small crowds are vociferous, particularly the Indian and Pakistani segments, and there's a fun family atmosphere with good food and players mingling freely with fans.
Salil Benegal also runs his own blog