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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 July, 2003, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Odd places to play cricket
Test Match Special wanted to know the oddest place that you had ever played cricket.

Henry Blofeld has just returned from Iceland where he played on the Langjokull glacier.

Jonathan Agnew is another member of the TMS team who has played in chilly climes on top of a frozen Lake Geneva.

"We laid down some matting and it was great fun. I went the year after David Gower 'parked' his car in the lake."

Mike Gatting prefers warm weather cricket, having played six-a-side in Chang-Mei north of Bangkok, as well as travelling to Sarasota in Florida.

Here are a selection of your e-mails.


I still remember a hilarious match played some years ago on a grass square in the middle of the beautiful hilltop village of Najac, south of the Dordogne.

I participated as an enthsuastic spectator as teams of some of the many Englishmen lliving in the area battled with French men and girls.

Unfortuntately the French couldn't grasp the essentials of the game.

One girl thought the whole point of the game was to hit the ball to the fielders. She was very put out to be told that, on the contrary, she should try to avoid them.

It all ended in an entente cordiale, thanks to the local wine.
Terence Allott

In a crowded chemical engineering laboratory at the University of Connecticut - surrounded by beakers galore and a tank of liquid nitrogen - we played with a baseball bat and a soft rubber ball.

The only possible shots playable were the straight drive and the pull to square leg.

Needless to say, not many runs were scored, but terrific fun all the same.
Vijay, USA

Mike Gatting is clean bowled
Where's that duck?
I had the pleasure of playing in the same tournament as Gatt in Sarasota.

My team-mate Richard Land, a rookie paceman who never played more than friendly club cricket, steamed in and sent Gatt's stumps cartwheeling first ball.

Gatt then had the indignity of adhering to the tournament tradition any time a duck was scored by having to walk off wearing a duck shower cap and wheeling along a "quack quack" toy duck back to the pavilion.
David Milne, UK

How about the Falkland Islands for an unusual venue for a cricket match?

In 1986, the 2nd Battalion The Queen's Regiment XI led by the commanding officer, Colonel Peter Cook, played against the Commander British Forces XI led by Air Marshall Kip Kemble.

We played at San Carlos on East Falklands. Weather fine but the wind blew rather hard and the grass airstrip made batting a little hazardous.
Mike Jelf

An ice hockey ring in Toronto, Canada.
Iyad Zahlan, Canada

In Bermuda we have a pitch (Sea View Oval) where one boundary is virtually on the Atlantic.

Retrieving a four or six requires hitching up the old flannels.
Gwelly Jack, London

In the late eighties I and my two tax department colleagues, Neil "The Edge" Egerton and Pete "The Chucker" Houghton held regular cricket matches in the Birmingham office of Coopers & Lybrand.

At lunchtimes we would set out the wicket (two adjoining desks) in their managers' office and employ a sturdy metal ruler and a generously sized rectangular rubber to entertain ourselves for the hour to great effect.

The batsman would sit behind one desk in a swingy chair (for maximum movement) and the bowler would pitch in on to the first desk, over the second desk and onto the bat.

The window, glass partition and the facing wall scored two, the top of the filing cupboard scored four and a violent but highly accurate swipe through the door in the far corner and out into the main office area registered six.

The only way the batsman could get out was to be caught.
Steve (Ted) Heathcock, Dudley

I have played cricket at several locations around Japan, the most memorable being at the foot of Mount Fuji.

However, the most unusual was at Edogawa on the northeastern edge of Tokyo.

Here on the edge of the river Edo, is a narrow strip of land, the river on one side and concrete bunkers sloping upwards at the other.

There isn't enough room for a full cricket pitch so the solution is half a cricket pitch.

Bowling can only occur from one end, bowling away from the river. Local rules allow for two runs if the ball goes behind the batsman and up the concrete slope.
Andrew Coad, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

I have played cricket in an American sports stadium, which was inside a volcanic crater a few miles north of the Italian city of Naples.

It was a 7-a-side competition and my team came third. I have a very dodgy trophey of which I am very proud.
Suzanne Wilkie

Margate Sands are about four miles off shore and we used to sail there but could only play at certain times of the year.

We used to sail out, take a picnic and have a game of cricket although it was a bit of a scramble to get back in the boats when the pitch got covered in water.

They used to play every year on the Goodwin Sands just round the corner from Margate and the best thing is to bat first.
Cricket in the Death Valley
Duncan and friends in Death Valley
Peter Birchard

Cricket in Death Valley.
At five in the evening it 45 degrees C... in the shade...
Duncan Colyer

How about a match inside the Artic Circle at midnight - a game in which a "whale stopped play".

We played a match on the deck of the Canbarra in the land of the midnight sun. Halfway through the game the captain announced over the tannoy that a whale could be seen spouting off the starboard bow.

We stopped the game long enough to take in the view before carrying on the match. We lost a few balls overboard and not surprisingly no-one volunteered to fetch them back.
Andrew Gough, Yelverton, Devon

If you go to the Isles of Scilly and visit Tresco you will play on the heliport.

On the island of St Agnes the only available piece of land for the pitch is the so-called "meadow", where legend has it that the humps in the outfield are the graves of sailors drowned in the numerous shipwrecks that have occurred over the century.
Jamie Wrench, Shropshire

A year ago I was in Kenya at the Amboseli Games Park.

We played cricket in the motels car park and then at about 6.00pm a herd of elephants passed to return to their habitat.

We had to stop play!
Sadrudin H Kassam

How about Bogota. During the late 1950's we had a very keen group of oil exploration folk, embassy staff etc.

Opposition was scarce, we went to Maracaibo, Venezuela one time without re-entry visas to Colombia and had to stay a week!

I think we lost the match due to the opposition fielding a West Indian fast bowler!
Keith Weaver

How about day five of a test match against Australia.
Mark, London

We had a great cricket match at 5,000m on the Baltoro Glacier between a team of British trekkers and a team of Pakistani porters.

It was a keen compettition which ended in a tie, with several "balls" lost down crevasses. Rather spectacular with K2 as a backdrop.
John Shipton

Possibly one of oddest and most inaccessible grounds in the world is the pitch in Orangemund, Namibia.

Orangemund is a diamond mining town in the Namib Desert and the whole town is artificially irrigated by water pumped from the river.

The town is closed to the outside world with access only granted to those who the mine owners are happy to have in.

When not in use the pitch is grazed by the Oryx who wander around the town attracted by the irrigation.

There was an active team in 1999 and I'm sure there still is although I'm not sure if they can play other teams at home as they would need security clearance to be allowed in.
Sarah Schofield formerly Vicar of St Mary's Anglican Church Orangemund

In the desert south of Gaza in 1947 in what was then known as Palestine.

A concrete strip covered by matting, ideal to bat on, with armed guards walking the boundary to protect the players from any form of ground attack.

The 2nd RHA regiment, of which I was a member, won a three day, two innings match. My sympathy lay with the bowlers!
Geoffrey Heald, Ossett, West Yorkshire

Balmoral
Balmoral - "A beautiful place to play cricket"
During our regular family holiday in Ballater in Aberdeenshire, my younger brother and I were invited by the local Crathie CC to play for them in a couple of matches.

In those days (some four decades ago, I have to admit), their 'home' ground was within the grounds of Balmoral Castle, the immaculate square being the Royal Family's tennis court.
Ian Mitchell, Glasgow

We were at the American Airlines Center in Dallas - home of the Dallas Mavericks - preparing for Bon Jovi's concert a couple of months ago.

Among the 30 odd people working, about 15 of us were from cricket playing nation.

At 2:30 in the morning, we were bored of our work. One of us had a couple bats and a hard tennis ball...so there we went.

After about 30 minutes, a lot of sledging, and a small chipped floor, security walked in. We got a good piece of mouth from our boss the next morning, but how many people can claim to have played cricket on an NBA court?
Ameez Nanjee

We've never played anywhere notably unusual, but are keen purveyors of apple cricket - best played in an orchard. An old plank of wood is the only kit neeed. Inevitably there are lots of new balls, particularly after a big hit.
Becky and Simon

Rain is usually a threat to cricket, but in the weirdest place where I played the game there was no chance of rain, although there was a lot of water above us.

This was on a tour in 1996, which our Dutch club, Ajax, made to the village of Eynsham in Oxfordshire.

Our journey took us through the Channel Tunnel and during the 30-minute train trip we could not resist the opportunity to play a little game in a empty lorry carriage.

Hardly a proper game of cricket, of course, and it did not last very longer as the train is guarded by CCTV. We were quickly asked by a friendly Englishman to postpone proceedings.
Jaap Jacobs

The Phene Philanderers played on the dockside against an impromptu team representing Albania in 1990.

We still have an Albanian representative, one Dragua Kalemi among our overseas colleagues which include reps in Australia, South Africa, Greece, Uruguay and the USA.
Roger le Clerq

There's a sandbank in the Solent called the Winner Bank. It is uncovered only at a certain time of year in the spring tides for a couple of hours and two teams, one from the Isle of Wight and one1 from the mainland play a limited overs match.
Brenn





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