Rising like an errant yorker, the Kamloops Cricket Club is moving on up again, beaming as it goes.
The squad from the Tournament Capital waited until the final weekend of the B.C. Mainland Cricket League Division 3 season to secure promotion to Division 2 for 2020, downing Richmond on Sept. 7 to nail down the top-two finish in league standings required to make the jump.
“We were in a very comfortable spot, but we wanted to make sure because there were a couple of other teams playing the same day,” said player/manager Simranjit Singh, who joined the club in 2017. “If we lost the game, it would have been a difficult situation, depending on the run rate.
“We wanted to get the win and know that were are going to be promoted. It was a very close game. It went down to the last over. We had one wicket in hand. The boys definitely gave us a good season.”
The victory set up a rematch against Richmond the next day in the league final, a contest Kamloops lost on a rainy day in West Vancouver.
“It’s been quite an exciting journey,” Singh said. “Kamloops, of all surprises, has got a decent amount of cricket lovers.”
Kamloops finished the 2019 campaign with a record of 12 wins and three losses. Three matches were abandoned. Richmond (14-4) claimed the regular-season title and league championship trophy.
The River City club was forced to begin play in the BCMCL’s lowest tier in 2014, the eighth division, which is actually Division 10, as the Elite and Premier Divisions precede divisions one through eight.
Thompson Rivers University students have been the backbone of the team in years past, an integral part of the club’s rise up the league’s ranks, but the formula has changed of late.
“We thought we should promote it more from the community level, which is our focus moving forward,” said Singh, whose club plays its home matches at Rae-More Park in Rayleigh. “We had RCMP, a couple of dentists, people who work in real estate, the IT section.
“It’s a mixed balance of students and working professionals who have an interest in the game.”
Countries which have been represented at the club include Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Australia, England, South Africa and Canada. Singh has also been approached by U.S. study-abroad students who are interested in signing up.
“It’s nice to see how people are trying to get engaged,” Singh said. “But it’s not just Kamloops getting good players. It’s the Lower Mainland, too.”
The competition will stiffen next season in Division 2.
“Oh, definitely,” Singh said. “It will be even more tough.”
Anyone interested in helping the Kamloops club chase another promotion can email [email protected] or find it online on Facebook.