Later this month the Montgomery County Planning Board will determine the location of the County’s first dedicated Cricket Field. Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is exploring park sites to create a new, dedicated cricket field in the northern area of the county.
The department will share more information about the need for such fields as well as other details at the July 30 Planning Board meeting. The public is invited to testify at the meeting.
Cricket is similar to baseball but is played on an oval-shaped field with a rectangular pitch in the center.
The Parks Department has been investigating the possibility of installing a dedicated cricket pitch for a few years. The population of Montgomery County has become more diverse over the past several years. People of different cultures and backgrounds are seeking new types of park amenities and programs, such as fields to play cricket, according to the Parks Department press release.
“We researched the sport of cricket to determine what types of fields and in what locations will best fit the needs of the cricket community,” said Brooke Farquhar, Montgomery Parks Planning Supervisor. “We are aiming to have two new dedicated fields in the I-270 Corridor by 2022.”
At a recent meeting of the Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board in Germantown, Project Coordinator Mark Wallis, of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission said the Parks Department is looking at three sites in the Upcounty area to replace a temporary field at South Germantown Recreational Park. Possible locations include A new location within South Germantown Recreational Park, a proposed addition to Ovid Hazen Wells Recreational Park; and the future Boyds Local Park.
The new location within South Germantown Park would be in a field on the east side of Schaeffer Road and south of Burdette Lane. It would be across from the soccer fields and behind the baseball diamonds in South Germantown Park. The field is currently undeveloped farmland. That location would be large enough to hold two cricket fields
The location in the Ovid Hazen Wells Recreational Park in Clarksburg would require the purchase of some pieces of real estate, which have been proposed to become part of the County recreational area.
The location of the future Boyds Local Park is at the far western end of Clopper Road in Boyds; it is currently farmland. “While most local parks are small, indeed too small for a cricket field, the Boyds Local Park is not an average local park. It is much bigger,” Wallis said at the UCAB meeting.
Wallis explained that there are three types of cricket players: youth, soft ball, and hard ball players. A cricket soft ball is yellow and is used in recreational level games. A cricket hard ball is red and similar to an American baseball. Hard ball players play a more competitive game and need the largest field. Hard ball players wear protective clothing and can hit the ball a greater distance.
The first attempt at providing cricket facilities was a field shared between two soccer fields at Damascus Recreational Park, according the Planning Board website. The second attempt was to put two fields at Calverton Galway Local Park sharing a baseball field and a softball field. Sharing the field with other sports has proved to be problematic due to the hard surface of the pitch in the outfield.
In spring 2012, the Parks Department opened a dedicated cricket field at South Germantown Recreational Park. The field was converted from a softball field but is small for the higher skilled players who hit balls into the parking lot. This field at South Germantown will soon need to be relocated. Phase III of the Soccerplex requires the use of that field for soccer beginning the summer of 2015.
The Planning Board is scheduled to review the site selection and concept plans, along with cost estimates, and the cricket field would be included in the FY2017-2022 Capital Improvement Budget.
Top: Cricket has been, and continues to be a sport played in the countries of the old British Empire. It is estimated that the World Cup of Cricket will be watched by over 1 billion people. Photo by Lemonlolly via Wikimedia Commons
Next: Potential new location for cricket field within South Germantown Recreational Park.
Next: Potential new location for cricket field within Ovid Hazen Wells Recreational Park in Clarksburg.
Next: Potential new location for cricket field at the future Boyds Local Park.
Maps and photos courtesey Montgomery Parks