Jun 15, 2017
The Suzhou Cricket Club has been a part of the expatriate sporting scenery for as long as I can remember since I returned to the city in 2011. Training out of the Du Shu Hu area of SIP at a variety of venues over the past half a decade, the club has managed to attract and retain interest and membership despite the growing number and variety of sporting possibilities within Suzhou.
One of the many positives of the cricket club is that is has maintained a core squad of players who year on year either attend training or competitions or both. It has also been a very friendly and inclusive club, with a wide variety of nationalities represented from around the world, as well as a diverse mix of ages and genders.
Having taken the Xi’an Jiao Tong-Liverpool University student cricket club under its wing this academic year, the club now ground shares training whilst also providing novice players with guidance from those more experienced and senior, both in terms of accomplishment and age. This has resulted in a nice blend, both from a sporting perspective and a social one.
Another significant positive of being a part of the cricket club has been the participation in nationwide sporting events. With a history of being competitive in stand-alone fixtures as well as in competition, the cricket events provide a nice basis on which to test oneself against some very capable opposition players.
To date the Suzhou cricket club has been victorious at sixes events in the past, and this last year reached the semi-final stage of both the Xiamen and Nanjing events. Both events provided different members of the club with the opportunity to represent the side, and also to enjoy the social side of the games and days, which typically consist of a reasonable amount of good natured sledging and banter.
One major consideration for would be players might evolve around the costs involved. To date although membership fees have typically not been the yearly norm, sharing any pitch rental costs obviously are, but these usually are more than manageable. In fact, if numbers are reasonable, they can be incredibly low. This is true also for getting to the training venues which are typically a relatively short bus or taxi ride away for most SIP residents.
Equipment is another consideration, and whereas the club does have some which is used at training, a number of players often bring their own with them. Pitch quality can be variable, with astroturf training grounds potentially necessitating the use of a helmet depending on the surface bounce, and the grass pitches some reasonable footwear.
Having been a part of this club for the past five years, trained out of at least four different venues and participated in both Suzhou based stand-alone 20 20 fixtures and sixes events in Xiamen I can honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed both the training and matches. The club members have been an extremely pleasant international mix of kind welcoming people, and, for anyone with an interest in the game, the club provides a good way to meet people and have fun in Suzhou.
About the Column
Gareth Morris is a university language teacher. He is also a part-time doctoral student. Gareth first moved to China in 2005 and, after spending a couple of years back in the UK studying for his PGCE and Masters, has now returned to the city he calls home. During his time in China Gareth has travelled extensively. His travels have taken him from Beijing and Xian to Kunming and Haikou. He has also spent time in Hong Kong and Macao. In addition to this, Gareth has lived in a number of countries across Europe, North and Central America and Asia. Closer to home, Gareth has enjoyed visiting numerous localities within Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. His Livingsu column will explore local places of interest found within walking distance of Metro line 1.