By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Saturday, November 19th, Rio de Janeiro’s Carioca Cricket Club (CCC) will be hosting their final intra-club match of the year at the São Fernando Polo & Cricket Club near Itaguaí. The season-ending event caps a successful 2016 season for the club before they embark on a tour of Lima, Peru in early December.
“It’s our last internal match of the year in Rio, but remember our CCC team will be traveling to Lima in early December, to drink and eat (and play cricket),” explained CCC chairman and English expatriate, Tobias Hanbury, to The Rio Times.
At Saturday’s event, Hanbury added jokingly, “we will have people running around pretending to play world-class cricket,” but, in addition to cricket, the all-day affair will also feature, “exhibition-polo, frolicking, swimming, tennis, costela no fogo do chão…banter, beer and boxes. And all this in the corridor of Suncertainty,” exclaimed the excited club chairman.
The São Fernando Polo & Cricket Club is about a seventy-minute drive from Ipanema, and the CCC arranges transport free-of-charge for everyone who wants to go and spend a glorious day away from the confines of Rio de Janeiro city. The bus leaves Praça General Osorio at 7:45 AM, and returns to Rio de Janeiro at 5:30 PM.
The intra-club cricket match is actually open to anyone who wants to play, members and non-members alike, including friends, family and children who just want to spend a day out of the city watching sports, eating delicious food and making the most of the club’s grounds. As Hanbury explained, “You don’t have to play cricket. But you do need a sense of humor and a thirst for all things.”
The CCC’s final intra-club match closes a successful 2016 campaign that included the club playing host, along with Cricket Brazil, to the all-important South American Cricket Championships, held at the club’s grounds on October 28th to October 31st. The four-day tournament featured six men’s teams and three women’s teams, with Chile topping Argentina to win the men’s championship, and home team Brazil defeating Argentina for the women’s title.
But, despite hosting such a major event, for Hanbury, the highlight of 2016 was seeing one of CCC’s own make cricket history when, in July, club player Asanka Bandara, an expatriate from Sri Lanka living in Rio, bowled a double hat-trick (four wickets in four consecutive balls), then got a wicket on the final ball of the over, for five-wickets in the over.
“[S]eeing a CCC player bowl a double hat-trick. Four wickets in a row. And then, for good measure, Asanka got his 5th wicket on the final ball of the over,” recalled Hanbury, “History.”
As the CCC looks ahead to 2017, the club continues to explore new avenues to expand the sport, whether through increased community outreach, hosting events and even partnering with America’s favorite pastime, baseball.
“We are talking to local politicians in Itaguaí about developing some social programs for local school kids to learn cricket,” Hanbury revealed. “We are also talking to the Carioca Baseball Club about the possibility of building a cricket net alongside their ground on the Lagoa. And, we will host the Nationals for the fourth year running, either in February or November.”
“Our long-term goal continues to be to find and develop more Brazilian players,” expressed Hanbury, who also admitted, “Our main objective remains to play some half-decent cricket and have a laugh, not necessarily in that order.”
For more information on the CCC and the November 19th intra-club event, visit the club’s Facebook page.
* This is a Sponsored article for the Carioca Cricket Club.