By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Cricket is beginning to make waves in the Cidade Maravilhosa thanks to the recent success of Carioca Cricket Club (CCC). Founded in September 2011, the club are the current national champions and this week sees the game go international as Brazil take on Peru for the Amistad Cup in a series of three T20 matches, with five members of the CCC representing the national side.
For those unfamiliar with the rules of cricket, T20 is the shortest, and often considered the most entertaining, form of the game, helping spread the growth of the game. Only in operation for two years, the CCC team finished runners-up in their first Brazilian national championship in Curitiba, just one month after forming.
The president of Carioca Cricket Club, Nick Gibson, told The Rio Times, “The growth of the club has been fueled by the growing number of expats coming to Rio, many hearing through the grapevine that there was the chance to play a bit of cricket in the Cidade Maravilhosa.”
“We probably have between thirty and forty people playing regularly and many others who like to stay in touch,” he added.
To remain in form between competitions, the club organizes internal practice matches for the ever-expanding squad, all in the T20 format. This calendar year the club has also hosted two touring parties, one from London and another from Bahrain, and to top a meteoric rise, the team are the reigning national champions.
The CCC will defend the title later this year, having won in Brasília with their first full outing for sole Brazilian representative, Felipe Lima de Melo. After starting out as a beginner just a year ago, de Melo helped the side to their second national title. Now, with the prospect of support from the International Cricket Council (ICC) as it looks to expand in Latin America, there is the opportunity for more Brazilians to follow in Felipe’s footsteps.
The national side faces Peru in Itaguaí this weekend in the Amistad Trophy and Brazil have a good record against their rivals. Brazil captain Matt Featherstone said: “Brazil lost back in 2007 [the first game between the sides] but have managed to win every Amistad Trophy since then.”
After the series, local attentions will turn firmly back to the national title defense. From November 15th-17th the National Interstate T20 Championships will be hosted by CCC at their ground in Itaguaí.
In the past the tourmanent has been a four-team affair, but for this edition a Belo Horizonte outfit will join Brasília, Curitiba, São Paulo and Rio to fight for the title of Brazilian cricket champion. That honor, for the time being at least, rests with our very own CCC.
Anyone interest in playing cricket can contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to the website at cariocacricket.com. Alternatively, you can see more info on the club’s Facebook page or follow on Twitter @CariocaCricket.