According to the Greenburgh Cricket Committee, the sport is the second most followed in the world behind soccer.
“In the US baseball may be thought of as an American sport with a long and illustrious history, however cricket predates it,” according to the committee. “Cricket was being played on this land before it became the United States and historical records as early as 1737 have chronicled its existence. Even though baseball has eclipsed cricket in popularity, there are over 600 dedicated cricket playing fields in the US.”
Local cricket enthusiasts now have a new venue for their passion.
The Town of Greenburgh recently created a new cricket field at Richard Presser on Central Avenue in Hartsdale. Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said last week the town is the first Westchester community to have retrofitted a park for cricket.
“Greenburgh, to my knowledge, is one of the first communities in Westchester to recognize the importance of cricket,” Feiner said. “I am sharing the enthusiastic response we have received with other municipal officials, hoping that other communities in Westchester will consider creating their own cricket fields. This is a very exciting initiative.”
On Jan. 9 the cricket committee, which consists of residents in Greenburgh and surrounding areas, came to the town to express their desire for a cricket field. After town officials expressed their support for a local field the committee began a process to make the facility reality.
The committee held educational sessions regarding the sport with the Town Board and residents. The committee worked with the town’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and it created short-term and long-term objectives.
“We have been very fortunate to have the assistance of Gerard Byrne, Commissioner of Parks and Recreation (Town of Greenburgh) among others,” according to the committee. “They have supported our long term vision and also accommodated our short term goal of repurposing existing fields in the town.”
In May the town told the committee Richard Presser Park was where the first official cricket pitch would be laid. The first event was held on the field on July 6. According to the committee more than 100 cricket enthusiasts from the community either played or watched cricket on opening day.
Feiner said the cricket field is open to the public but residents must reserve the field by calling the parks department at 914-989-1809. “Any group of 10 or larger will need to have a permit,” Byrne said last week. “Due to a local law this park cannot be reserved by non-residents.”
“The reaction has been fantastic,” Feiner said. “Lots of residents are very excited about the field and I hope that this will just be the beginning. If the town acquires new open space in the future we would seriously consider using the space for more cricket fields. I have also written to every mayor and town supervisor in Westchester asking that they consider doing what Greenburgh did. This is a sport that people enjoy. There is a serious need in Westchester for more fields.”
The committee said the new local field is the first in a series of efforts to promote cricket in the county. “Representatives of various Westchester cricket teams have come together to create “22yardsport,” a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of cricket in Westchester and surrounding communities,” the committee stated. “They will be the voice of cricket enthusiasts in working with local officials for the development of dedicated cricket facilities. While our journey has only started. We are excited to see what the future will bring.”