Cricket bowls in

FOUR years ago, only one man in Slovakia, Vladimír Chudáčik, considered himself a cricket player. Chudáčik discovered cricket while staying in England in 1997. When he returned home and found no teammates, he decided that something had to be done.
After talking some soccer buddies into helping him, he launched the Slovak Cricket Club in 2000 with one bat and a homemade wicket. Beginning with just these meagre resources, the club pledged to spread the sport to the broadest possible public.


STRIKE hard, Slovakia!
photo: Courtesy of Slovak Cricket Club

FOUR years ago, only one man in Slovakia, Vladimír Chudáčik, considered himself a cricket player. Chudáčik discovered cricket while staying in England in 1997. When he returned home and found no teammates, he decided that something had to be done.

After talking some soccer buddies into helping him, he launched the Slovak Cricket Club in 2000 with one bat and a homemade wicket. Beginning with just these meagre resources, the club pledged to spread the sport to the broadest possible public.

The club's aim, Chudáčik said, is to put cricket in the minds of the Slovak people, especially youngsters, and explain its beauty to them. "We need to spread cricket in Slovakia by having a regular league with teams in each of its eight regions. But that is the future; these days we are happy to see any newcomer interested in cricket and enjoying its spirit with us."

In addition, the club's website, www.kriket.sk, reads: "Cricket is not just a sport, but also a kind of culture for individuals and families."

For the past three years they have run Slovak Cricket Day as part of an event organised through the International Cricket Council to promote the sport in Europe. Falling on May 1 this year, it will take place in the western Slovak town of Hájske, near Nitra, starting at 10:00 with children's activities and a match, followed by an adult match at 13:00 and a barbecue at 19:00.

The newly converted Slovak enthusiasts and a few foreigners from various countries working and living in Slovakia have formed a team, collected equipment, and hold regular matches with clubs in Prague and Vienna. This year they will also participate in a championship in Ljubljana, Slovenia, between August 15 and 20, against the home team and teams from Luxembourg, Switzerland, Croatia, Finland, Bulgaria, and Poland.

By Eric Smillie

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