Newest Ames High Club Plays Cricket

Senior Seth Forsgren pelted after the cricket ball. Accidentally running into the tennis net, he pitched over it and somersaulted onto his back. Forsgren immediately picked himself back up, stopping only to brush dirt off his badly scraped knee, and continued after the ball. As senior David Lewis yelled, "Seth just gave his life to get the ball!", a more mellow Forsgren assured the others that he was "fine," even as his knee gushed blood. So occurred the first injury in the history of Cricket Club. Granted, Cricket Club has not had a very long history. It was started this year by seniors Thomas Eslinger, Seth Forsgren, and Deepak Premkumar. While playing ultimate Frisbee at Inis Grove, they saw two Indians playing cricket by themselves. Both Premkumar and Forsgren had been exposed to cricket when they were in India this summer and Eslinger had a cricket bat in his car, so the trio decided to give cricket a try. "We played on a corner of that [Ames High] tennis court after school one day and had lots of fun, so we recruited more people to come," Premkumar said. "We’ve kind of stopped inviting people because it was a hit, but anyone is still welcome to come." Cricket Club is also not an "actual" club. "Somehow, I don’t think [the administration] would be too pleased that we play on the tennis courts,” senior Andrew Moore said. Nevertheless, Cricket Club calls itself a club and meets on Mondays and Fridays after school on the tennis courts. “We usually go no later than 5:00 because a lot of people have soccer,” Moore said. There are also conflicts with other sports, such as cross country, swimming, and tennis, so not everyone shows up every time, but there are usually around ten people every time. “Some of us don’t know how to play, so we’ve been teaching them how. Others just suck, like me,” senior Casey Bagnall said. First, a brief overview of cricket terminology and rules is called for. Cricket is kind of like baseball. A bowler (pitcher) bowls (pitches with a straight arm) the ball, trying to hit the wicket (three stumps protruding from the ground with two bails resting on their tops). If he hits the wicket, it’s an out. A wicket keeper (catcher) stands behind the wicket as a batsman (batter) tries to hit the ball. If the ball hits the fence or goes over, automatic points are awarded. If not, the batsman doesn’t have to run to the other wicket, but the team gets points every time both members run to the opposite wicket. Everyone else standing around tries to get the team out (same as in baseball). “All the rules are really confusing, but once you play, it makes more sense,” senior Emma Ravenscroft said. Ravenscroft is currently the only female in Cricket Club who actually plays. “Chrissy Amaya and Mary Bunting are also in it, but they have cross country,” Ravenscroft said. “And Holly Nguyen said she was in Cricket Club when she on Homecoming Court, but she has never come to play. She keeps saying she will, but I think she’s chickened out.” The other members of Cricket Club are mostly senior males and some junior males. There are no sophomores or freshmen in Cricket Club, although freshmen Brian Pierce and David Munkvold have come to play. The cricket that Cricket Club plays is also different from “real” cricket. “We’ve had to make accommodations,” Premkumar said. “For example, in real cricket there are two teams of 11 players. We don’t have enough people and most people would have to sit most of the time if we did, so we play with many teams of 2 all at once.” They use benches as wickets. ("We can’t drive stakes into the tennis court," Premkumar said.) They play with tennis balls wrapped in electric tape, because the rubber cricket balls wore down too much on the tennis courts. They allow one out per inning instead of the normal ten. However, they do have two real cricket bats. Even thought Cricket Club is pretty informal now, they have plans for the future. “We’ve been thinking about going to the cricket pitch by the towers (dorms) at ISU on weekends and holding more tournaments,” Moore said. A Cricket Club tournament on Labor Day was proclaimed “awesome” by all members. They also will be getting more serious about their game. “I think we might need to find something to make [the game] more difficult,” Premkumar said. “But for now, it’s just an afternoon of cricket.”