Lack of facilities in Surrey and Delta is forcing the British Columbia Mainland Cricket League (BCMCL) to schedule more matches in cities elsewhere in the region.
The final schedule of 2018 season of BCMCL is in the works as the league is awaiting approval from various cities to host the matches, and the league expects them by mid-March.
Harjit Sandhu, president of BCMCL, said the league had to deny applications from five teams because they couldn’t fit them in.
“The problem is that we have been trying to put them on the grounds we have right now but eventually if we have more teams, we need more grounds,” Sandhu said.
The majority of the teams and players in BCMCL are from Surrey and Delta. Around 1,000 players compete in the league from these two cities, with 800 from Surrey and more than 200 from Delta.
Surrey has seven grounds in the city while Delta has none, and this has forced the league to schedule matches in Vancouver, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack.
Todd Stewardson, Delta’s Deputy Director, Parks, Recreation and Culture, said the league has not officially made a request for an addition of facilities in the city.
“The fact that they have 200 players from the City of Delta is news to me,” Stewardson said. “I talked to one team about the possibility of one cricket field but certainly no discussions with the league at all.”
Stewardson said Delta has provided cost estimates to this concerned team for the field, which will include a pitch and that the team had some funds to undertake the work.
“If the team funds the construction, Delta would undertake the ongoing operations and the maintenance of the field,” Stewardson said.
Surrey Councillor Bruce Hayne, chair of Parks, Recreation and Sport Tourism Committee, said the demand always exceeds supply to a certain degree.
“I agree that it’s a growing sport and Surrey has a population that plays and is interested in cricket,” Hayne said. “We have players coming in from Delta, Langley and neighbouring communities because they don’t have facilities in their own communities and that further exacerbates from time to time.”
Hayne said that the city had only three cricket pitches in 2014 and that the city will work with the organizers and the clubs to understand their inventory and peak demands.
“Looking forward to our 10-year strategic plan, cricket is one of those sports that we will certainly be adding to, as the sport is in higher demand in Surrey,” Hayne said.
Except for the ground in West Newton Community Park in Surrey, most of the grounds in the province are either shared with soccer and other sports or have artificial pitches.