COLERAIN TWP., Ohio — A new cricket field in Colerain Township is opening up opportunities for local athletes while providing a way for fans of the sport to share their culture with the community.
The field is the first of its kind in this corner of Ohio and will help promote both the sport and South Asian culture. Before the Colerain field, fans and players of the sport had to travel to Columbus, Ohio or into Kentucky.
"We've been going to different states and different cities to play leagues and tournaments," said Narad Gautam, team captain for Cincy Warriors Cricket Club.
The township provided a space for the brand-new cricket field, which hosted its first ever match on Saturday. During the first ever match played at Dravo Park, the Cincy Warriors Cricket Club stepped onto the field in the early afternoon.
Tara Dahal, with the Nepali Language and Arts Center, worked with the team and Colerain Township to make the new field possible. Colerain provided the space and the team provided volunteers to transform it into a true cricket field.
"Our boys used to play cricket back in Nepal and when they came to the U.S. they did not get the ground," said Dahal.
Dahal and members of the team also pointed to Jackie O'Connell, director of Parks and Services for Colerain Township, as integral to the project's success. Had the field not been possible, Gautam said he and his family were considering a change of address.
"We were trying to move back to Hourson," said Gautam. "So we were that much into cricket. In Colerain Township we got our ground. So we are super excited, very happy. Now Cincinnati really feels like it's our home."
The team hopes to add a concrete, turf-top pitch, rope boundaries and bleachers in the future. It also has plans to offer youth programs to introduce children to the sport and share its impact on their culture with a new generation.
"And then here we will be introducing and training people, training youth, training kids so they know what is cricket," said Gautam.