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Fans Bowled Over by New Cup

Published: May 16, 2006 (Issue # 1169)


A cricket tournament for international students played from Thursday to Sunday was the first of its kind in St. Petersburg.

The pitch was not exactly as clipped as Lords, the ball was borrowed from another sport and the British team crashed out early, but participants in the The St. Petersburg Cricket Cup 2006 brought to the city the passion of one of the worlds most popular and perplexing sports.

The tournament, which took place at the Polytechnic Institute Stadium near Ploshchad Muzhestva, gathered eight teams from four continents.

A team of Indian players, India 11, won the tournament Sunday, beating team Diamond, a combined team of Indian and Pakistani students.

The traditional cricketing rivalry between India and Pakistan is often seen as a peaceful alternative to political conflict between the two nations. But on Sunday, politics was present anyway.

The political discussions will always be there, but it is everywhere also in football, organizer Lanson George, an Indian, said.

A team from the British Council fell in the first knockout round to a World 11 made up of engineering students from all over the world.

Cricket, played between two teams of eleven players on a oval grass field with a 20.12 meter flat pitch in the middle, is a bat-and-ball sport from the same family as baseball and softball.

Orginating in England, the sport is wildly popular in countries of the former British Empire and its complex rules and rich folklore often make it baffling to spectators not steeped in its traditions.

A professional cricket match can last up to five days, but at the St. Petersburg Cricket Cup, matches were shortened to wrap up the tournament in one weekend.

The equipment used was not exactly up to regulation standard either.

We have the bats from home, because we cannot buy the proper equipment in Russia, organizer Zahid Ahmid said as he dribbled the tennis ball that substituted for a proper cricket ball, which is a hard leather ball about the size of a fist.

Without the correct protective equipment, playing with a real cricket ball can be lethal.

Approximately 40 cricket fans, mainly medical students from South Asian countries, cheered loudly when the final began.

Umpires, who followed tradition and wore ties and hats, kept the match moving as the young students bowled, batted and ran as best they could.

Whenever the ball was in play, the attacking team was ever eager to destroy its opponents wicket.

When the tennis ball hit the wicket, putting out the batsman defending it, the attacking team celebrated as if they had scored a goal in soccer.

The final was a four-hour thriller in which India 11 trailed to the Diamonds for the most of the game, but recovered and won by a single run to take home the inaugural St. Petersburg Cricket Cup.

The spectators also enjoyed the sporting spectacle.

I never thought I was going to see this game in this country, a thrilled fan said during the match.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 31


Develop your leadership abilities during a lecture by famous Russian author and coach Radislav Gandapas. The event starts at 9 a.m. at 5 Lodeinopolskaya Ulitsa. The price for entry is 20,500 rubles ($570).


Relax and enjoy a Parisian atmosphere with some romantic and laidback jazz tunes during the Night of French Music at Lenny Jam Cafe, 63 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 250 rubles ($7).


The Womens Business Club is hosting a Beauty Brunch where participants are invited to discuss the latest news in the beauty industry and listen to lectures by professional stylists in the business.



Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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