MILAN CRICKET CLUB
The start. It all began on a winters night early in 1972. A group of ex-pats. met together in the British American Club in Cso. Venezia, Milan to discuss the possibility of starting a cricket club in or near Milan. The idea was to provide the summer game for young men recently arrived in the city and also a means of making friendships, as many recent arrivals were very much on their own at weekends.
John di Vita was elected the club President, and local knowledge was provided behind the scenes by John Dexter, and David Sweetman became the first club secretary. There were, surprisingly, sufficient young players available, and so the first problems were to find a ground and, no less difficult in those days, opposition. We were only the second cricket club in Italy, the other one being in Rome.
A ground at last. The two Johnís found a suitable field to rent in Grandola near Mennaggio, close to the beautiful Mennaggio Golf Club, which had been founded by among others John Dexterís father early in the 1900s. Following many telephone calls David found that there were cricket teams in Geneva and Paris as well as previously mentioned in Rome. We could not commence playing on our home ground until the following year, and thus we began our by playing away in Geneva, Paris, and Rome.
The club really got going in 1973 when we were able to play at home as well as away. We played 12 games that year and were very happy to find that most of our visitors loved our ground in Grandola and preferred to play there rather than at their home grounds. This helped us greatly by reducing our travelling which was rather expensive and time consuming.
Turnover of players. One of the biggest problems which we faced during the early years was the constant turnover of players. Most people came to Milan on a business appointment of 3 or 4 years at most and then left either to return home or for another overseas destination. We have always found it very difficult to attract local Italians to join us, and this is probably our biggest failure over the years. However, cricket is not taught in schools here and the fact that our ground was very far from Milan was a major problem in this connection.
Over the years we have welcomed many visitors to Grandola as well as, more recently to Milan. Many teams have visited us from U.K., to name a few, Castle Rising, Lord Kings Eleven, For many years we played Geneva and Cern and Monte Carlo home and away, although recently what with the growth of local leagues in many countries as well as the changes in personel, some of these fixtures have ceased.
We played on a rented field in Grandola from 1973 until 2001 (?) . If only we could have purchased the field we could have made improvements and would still be playing there. However, we lost our rights to use the ground at the end of the 2001 season. (?)
Nations united for cricket. At first most of our players were English with the odd Irishman, South African, and Australian, but during the 1990s many very good players from Sri Lanka began arriving and helped the improve the standard of our cricket, especially as they all seemed to be excellent with the bat as well as when bowling. During the past 5 or 6 years Indians became more common on Italian cricket fields and they too have caused a big improvement in standards.
Travel. We have always been more than willing to travel in order to play a game of cricket. Among the locations visited are;
Switzerland Zuoz (annually), Geneva, Cern
France Paris, Monte Carlo
Germany Munich, Slovenia
Spain Barcelona, and Sporting Alfas, Alicante
Minorca Twice for their annual six a side tournament
U.K. Two trips, Hampshire and Suffolk.
Canada Twice to the six a side tournament in Vancover.
Malta Four times to play Marsa club in Valletta.