October 11, 2010
Wooster's Itai Njani bowls against the community team
WOOSTER, Ohio, Oct. 11, 2010 – It was an unlikely quest: to
draw the largest crowd ever for a U.S. collegiate cricket match, at a liberal
arts college in Northeast Ohio.
When The College of Wooster found itself without a football
opponent for Homecoming, after Earlham College dropped out of the North Coast
Athletic Conference earlier this year, college officials were left scrambling
to replace the weekend’s marquee event. They scheduled men’s and women’s soccer
games, a volleyball game, and a concert celebrating Wooster’s Scottish
heritage. They revived the Homecoming parade, complete with floats and the
marching band. And they decided to showcase the college’s cricket club, in a
match against a team made up of members of the City of Wooster’s international
community, on the biggest stage on campus, Andrew Field at John J. Papp
Last week, President Grant Cornwell decided to up the ante,
challenging alumni and the campus community to help break the attendance record
for a U.S. collegiate cricket game, set last year by Montgomery College, who
drew 400 fans to a match against a U.S. college all-star team in New York.
Within days, the buzz grew on campus, fanned by a flurry of e-mails, posters,
flyers, and Facebook postings. But would it translate into bodies in the
As hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and
community residents streamed into the stadium Saturday afternoon, the answer
was clear: the record was not just broken, it was demolished. The final count
was 967 spectators.
A reporter and photographer from The Plain Dealer were on hand to record the historic moment for posterity, and Sunday's paper.
Maaz Khan, a senior economics major from Pakistan, and
captain of the college’s team, looked on in amazement. “This was my dream,” he
said. “I’m passionate about cricket and having more people in the U.S. learn
about the sport. The president has done a wonderful job supporting us.”
Wooster has had a cricket club for decades, and the current
squad is representative of the college’s diversity, with members hailing from
Pakistan and India, Bosnia and Nepal, and Pittsburgh, Pa.
“This event is very representative of The College of Wooster,”
Cornwell said. “It’s what makes us distinctive. Not only does it illustrate the
college’s spirit, but it also shows that we have a sense of humor. I think
something like this could only happen here at Wooster.”
And in a suitably Hollywood (or should that be Bollywood?)
ending, team captain Maaz Khan delivered a dramatic, game winning hit with just
one out remaining to give the college team a 143-141 victory.
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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