Sport

AU Matters: Cricket Club

After another Varsity victory over Swansea University Cricket Club, CUCC once again proved they are the top team in South Wales.  Last year heralded a new era for the club, with its first full tour to Malta and a narrow miss on promotion along with the opening of social membership demarking a club in full flourish.

gair rhydd caught up with Omkar Khot, veteran kit man, social secretary and politics enthusiast to give his opinion on the state of the club and what it’s all about.

“The concept of creating a unique band of formidable elite athletes, skilled in the ancient arts, capable of challenging the world’s highest sporting accolades has long been in the psyche of the founders of the nation’s purest team.

“A vision that was once a dream has now been turned into reality by the drive and determination of the famous four men.

“Beginning its life as little more than a supremely bonded band of brothers, the team has evolved into a well-forged unit of perfection, which is the envy of South Wales. Aside from the well-spoken accents and flash lifestyle, the true ethos of CUCC is really found embedded in the hearts and minds of the players. Far from being characterized by our material assets, it is a strong camaraderie and a lionhearted spirit that define who we really are.”

The difficulty for the cricket team, despite being bonded through a ubiquitous social and training program in the winter, is that their season coincides with the much derided exam period.   This presents challenges in sending our strongest XI’s out at this time of year.

Khot explains, “Many of our players find that their exam timetables don’t always help in terms of availability. Having said this, the 1st XI and 2nd XI will still be looking for promotion. Failing this, staying in their respective divisions will be a virtuous achievement for a short and often difficult season.

“The 3rd XI have really developed as a side under the stewardship of Parag Van Der Shah, with his deft fielding and skillful bowling.”

The make up of the BUCS leagues and diaspora of fixtures often means that CUCC have to travel a long way for their away fixtures. gair rhydd asked the Cricket Club how this could be circumnavigated.

“Perhaps a South Wales BUCS league would be more beneficial to us. Often away days at Bournemouth and Exeter are a bit too far to travel, although they often result in hilarious trips home! We could then have the chance to play Swansea, Cardiff Metropolitan and Glamorgan home and away in the space of four or five weeks.”

More recently the Cricket Club has been known for its various protest banners, ranging from the increase in Varsity ticket prices since 2010, to the Hull Tigers proposed name change and the Union curtailing its service of SU favorite tipple, the Zwack bomb.

“On the one hand, sport has such a huge following that protests can often receive a lot of coverage, especially in social media, so this is a massive bonus,” says Khot.

“Our protests at Varsity were tongue in cheek, however there is certainly scope for protest in sport. On the continent and in South America, football supporters are able to put on huge displays to get their messages across to players, boards or governing bodies. The restrictions within British stadia often make it difficult to mirror the same scale protests from say Ajax, Aris, Lazio or San Lorenzo but sport remains a decent medium nonetheless.”

The national cricket team have just returned from a disastrous winter in Australia, only exasperated by a terrible showing in the  T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, of which they were the previous holders.

This had lead to many questions over the leadership of the national team, and resulted in the sacking of England favourite Andy Flower.

As Kevin Pietersen sensibly said on the matter, “everybody deserves a second chance”, and the situation with Peter Moores is no different. He’s certainly somebody that’s achieved a lot in the county game, leading Lancs and Sussex to Championship titles, and it was probably his management of the post-Fletcher era that set the platform for England to go on to become the top ranked Test side.

Cook has also been under the microscope yet Sunil Patel, Cardiff Chairman, still thinks he is the man to lead England into the future: “I think many have always seen him as Strauss’s successor. With so many Test caps to his name he’s an ideal candidate for the job as well. He’s certainly a man that can lead from the front as he showed with the bat in Australia nearly four years ago, so I think he’s got a lot going in his favour.

“If the supporters get behind him after what happened in Australia this winter there’s no reason why England can’t turn it on again soon.”

Describing the Cricket Club as concisely as possible, Khot suggested ‘Disco music, pyro, wedge, lager, incredible stash, an admiration of Paul Gascoigne, Koko Gorillaz, and playing for CUCC FC’ all make up the experience of being a part of this club.

The Cricket Club have just returned from a successful tour of Magaluf, and will be going to Amsterdam in September later this year.

The club is flourishing and now has 110 members, a far cry from 2011 where its fledgling numbers found re-invigoration under the stewardship of Huw Morris, Iestyn Scourfield and Henry Wildey. A push for promotion this year would leave the club in a stronger position than ever.

Thomas Bamford

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