Organizers of the historic British Columbia Mainland Cricket League (BCMCL) are working with various cities to get the necessary permits as the 2018 season is set to start soon.
BCMCL is one of the oldest cricket leagues in the world with its history dating back to 1914.
“If you want to go forward and play for B.C., and for Canada, BCMCL is the stepping stone,” said Harjit Sandhu, president, BCMCL.
Sandhu said the majority of the players in the league are from Surrey and Delta with more than 1,000 players coming from the region alone.
For the 2018 season, the league starts off pre-season Twenty20 games (a short form of cricket where each team plays 20 overs of six balls a side). A tentative schedule shows these games starting March 17 and 18.
The league has opened registration for these games and the final schedule will be released once the registrations get over on Feb. 28. Sandhu said more than 35 teams competed in a Twenty20 tournament last year.
BCMCL’s regular season is expected to start in late April with 50 overs a side games. Each team play 50 overs of six balls a side. Unlike the Twenty20 games that finish in three hours, the regular season matches often last for six to seven hours.
With about 100 teams expected to compete this season in various divisions, the regular season matches would be played until the beginning of September. According to the tentative schedule, the matches will be played on the weekends.
Other matches that are set to be played include a junior season, T10, Big Bash, Six A Side and BCMCL Best XI vs BCMCL II Best XI.
“This year we will pick the best 25 players and they are going to play against each other three times a year,” Sandhu said on the proposed BCMCL Best XI games.
According to Sandhu, the idea behind the matches is to ensure that Team BC is match fit when they play against other provinces.
BCMCL is scheduled to host matches in Vancouver, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack. Occasionally, BCMCL hosts matches in Kamloops and Kelowna.
“We don’t know which grounds we are gonna get at the end,” Sandhu said. “We applied for permits and we don’t get the (final) permits until mid-March.”
Sandhu said that unlike past seasons, BCMCL is now trying to host more events to engage with the community.
“We want to get more people involved, we want to see the crowd in there.”