It's summer in Grenada. Hundreds of cruising boats are sitting out hurricane season and lots of people are looking for something to do. Wracking our brains, we came up with the idea to have a cricket match. Thus was born the Calabash Cup. After a word with Bob Blanco, the owner of Clarkes Court Bay Marina, we were ready to hold the first match on the marina's 'southwest' lawn.
Cricket equipment not being high on the normal cruisers' list of essentials, improvisation is a must. The wickets are two beer crates and the stumps three beer bottles (the number of beer bottles tends to rises during the course of the game). Thankfully, the cricket balls are tennis balls wrapped in blue masking tape to give them a more authentic feel. With the dubious styles of bowling this helps people avoid decapitation. To make sure everyone has a go at batting, our rules are slightly different with 12 overs per team and each batter facing only 12 balls unless they are out. Likewise, everyone gets a chance to bowl.
First problem, how to explain cricket to Americans, Canadians and all the other nationalities that would eventually play? Our umpire came up with the idea of printing out the rules from the Internet. But on reading 'when you are in you are in – and when you are in you are out' seemed to confuse things, and in the end we decided it was better just to play and explain as we went along.
Team Clarkes Court Bay (CCB) included a South African, an Aussie, a Brit, a scattering of West Indians and one Texan. Team Rest of the World Team (ROW) comprised of Americans, Canadians and a Swede. Naturally CCB were hot favorites. After a few false starts, where the ROW kept running each other out by forgetting to run between the wickets and bats were flung in all directions (no, this is not baseball), they soon got the hang of it.
There were some interesting batting stances, ranging from Joe Di Maggio to Arnold Palmer. Likewise, there was some pretty scary bowling.
Rest of the World having made a respectable 67 all out, it was CCBs turn to bat. However, due to some very biased umpiring with regard to the bowling, CCB collapsed and to the amazement and hilarity of the crowd ROW won the first match.
Since the first match the series has gone from strength to strength. A new team emerged from Prickly Bay – the dreaded Aussies – and these are now our two, weekly opponents. Due to the movement of boats up and down the islands the remaining original ROW now play for CCB.
The Aussies, with an Englishman, Irishman and a Scotsman, take their cricket very seriously, so their bus turns up to every match loaded with beer coolers, flags and a ton of supporters.
After CCB lost the next three matches, we found our secret weapon, Jude, a local who used to play for Grenada. Thanks to him and another of our stars, Canadian Lynn, CCB finally won a match. The Aussies now demand to know where Jude's boat is! We reply, "Err … it's out there somewhere."
After each game it's time for the quintessentially English cucumber sandwiches, and of course plenty of beer. The cup is then presented to the winning team, unless it's the Aussies. They are not allowed to take the cup home anymore after they returned the original in pieces. The replacement cup stands proud in the bar at Clarkes Court Bay Marina, hopefully to stay for good. Since we started the series a United Nations of players have taken part. Who says cricket is dead!
Editor's note: The teams wish to thank Bob Blanco of Clarkes Court Marina for his support and for having the huge lawn cut every two weeks.
Helen Mussell lives with her partner Stuart aboard their boat Iguana. An artist by profession, you can visit her website at: www.helenmussellart.com