McGarry Allen and Logan Dougherty have loved learning to play cricket.
The two have been coming out to Learn to Play Cricket drop-in sessions at Mariposa Park in the West Bench.
Dougherty is a new addition coming out for three weeks.
“It’s exciting to bat. Sometimes you have to wait a little to catch it or even get the ball when you are fielding,” said Dougherty. “I enjoy how you always get to try out each position.
“Batting is really fun, except for when you don’t have pads, which is usually never,” continued Dougherty, who on Monday worked on his batting skills as Allen and coach Steve Prowse bowled to him. “The ball is coming at you really fast. You want to just back away. Not get hit.”
On this day, along with getting instruction from Prowse, Allen and Dougherty also took pointers from Brian Westers and Dabeer Qazilbash of the Kelowna Cricket Club. Both are veterans of the game.
Allen has been playing the sport for nearly two years and said it’s not like any other.
“People might think it’s pretty similar to baseball, but it’s pretty different. It’s pretty cool,” said Allen, a member of the South Okanagan Minor Baseball Association. “In cricket there is a lot less running.”
There is also the fact there are no fouls and the batter can hit the ball wherever they want. Allen has grown to like the pace. He said the bat is weird with a ridge at the bottom.
“Where the ridge is the biggest, that’s the sweet spot,” he said. “You need to step towards the ball and hit it on the half volley right after it bounces so you can hit it with the most power. There is about 12 different shots you can do.”
Both said they have learned from Prowse, who mostly provides tips when they aren’t doing something correct. Prowse said that Allen has made progress since he started playing.
“He can bowl. He can bat. Bowling is very difficult for kids to learn because they want to throw it and you can’t bend the elbow. Batting comes more natural because they play baseball,” said Prowse. “Catching is another story. It takes them a while to get used to how hard the ball is. There is no mitt for the fielders. The only people who get to wear gloves are the batsmen and the bat catcher (wicket keeper).”
This year the drop-in sessions have had up to a dozen players, but with it being summer, people are busy with vacation and enjoying the warm weather. Prowse’s goal is to get a junior league going with Oliver, Penticton and Kelowna.
Learn to Play Cricket drop-in sessions are every Monday at Mariposa Park starting at 4:15 p.m. until October. For more information, including cost, contact Prowse at firstname.lastname@example.org.